BARKER, Edward (d.1602), of London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

educ. Winchester, scholar 1562; New Coll. Oxf. 1564, BCL 1576. m. Susan, da. of Richard Tracy of Stanway, Glos.1

Offices Held

Registrar to the ct. of delegates by 1588; alnager for Cornw., Devon, Som., Wilts. 1601.2


Barker was, by 1585, a lawyer in the service of Archbishop Whitgift. He had some connexion, probably in his legal capacity, with Sir Christopher Blount which brought him under suspicion at the time of the Essex rebellion, until Whitgift’s friend and colleague Richard Bancroft wrote to Sir Robert Cecil on his behalf in February 1601, describing him as

a man of many good parts and much honesty, and one utterly disliked by the late arch-traitor ever since the marriage of his mother [Lettice Knollys] with the other now hurt traitor Blount. [Barker] in respect of some injuries received, could never be induced from that time hitherto ever to speak unto [Essex and had] conceived very hardly for a half year last past of the said traitor Blount.

At the time of the marriage, Barker had been a party to a settlement of Gloucestershire lands, formerly belonging to the Earl of Leicester, on both Blount and his wife, and it may have been in the course of this or a similar transaction that he considered himself wronged. Possibly he was also involved in some financial transactions with them, for in 1597 Thomas Shirley I claimed that he had borrowed £1,000 from Barker on behalf of Lord De la Warr, and in 1601 Barker himself wrote to ‘his very good friend’ Henry Jackman requesting immediate repayment of a loan to satisfy one of his own creditors.3

Barker possibly owed his nomination to Parliament for a Cornish borough in 1584 and 1586, either directly or indirectly, to Francis Walsingham, whom he had come to know through his ecclesiastical work. His standing as an ecclesiastical lawyer was presumably also responsible for his return at Taunton and Downton, while his patron at Andover may well have been Thomas West II, with whom he had been financially involved. Barker was named to a Lords committee to discuss the bill against fraudulent conveyances (15 Feb. 1585), to the committee on the recusants bill (28 Feb. 1593), and to take a message about the subsidy bill from the Commons to the Lords (3 Mar. 1593). In addition there are 11 known references to ‘Mr. Barker’ in the proceedings of the House, mostly to serving on legal committees such as on the bill concerning appeals from ecclesiastical courts, 18 Dec. 1584. The fact that there was at least one other Barker in each of the Parliaments in which Edward Barker sat precludes certainty, but it is likely that most or all of these references are to Edward Barker. Probably it was he who ‘pulled out’ Lionel Duckett to vote against his wishes for the church attendance bill, 12 Dec. 1601. Additionally, as a burgess for a Somerset borough in 1597, Barker could have joined the committee considering Langport Eastover (10 Nov.).4

In his will, made 23 May and proved 22 June 1602, Barker confirmed his earlier settlements on his wife, and refrained from appointing her executrix, so that she should not be troubled by any lawsuits. He also laid down what was to happen to £315 he had subscribed to the East India Company, by far the largest share, £200 and profits, being left to Penelope Perrott, a granddaughter of Lettice Knollys. His French, Italian and Spanish books were left to his wife’s relatives Edward Lucy and Richard Verney, his Ortelius tables to ‘Dr. Wilkinson’, and his book of maps to ‘Dr. Browne’. He left rings to Whitgift, Bancroft and George Paule, the comptroller of Whitgift’s household, and provided for legacies to be paid to Whitgift’s hospital at Croydon and to Trinity College, Cambridge, where Whitgift had once been master. His other legacies included £50 for his brother Thomas, and a small bequest to his cousin Henry Barker.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Patricia Hyde


  • 1. Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 165.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 504; Strype, Grindal, 311; PRO Index 6800, f. 608v; Add. 33378, f: 81.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1581-90, pp. 264, 360, 563; 1595-7, p. 386; APC, xv. 122; xvi. 235; HMC Hatfield, xi. 35; xvi. 465; Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. xvii. 146; Rudder, Glos. 846; Lansd. 88, f. 46.
  • 4. D’Ewes, 340, 341, 349, 364, 393-4, 477, 481, 486, 516, 554, 584, 684; Townshend, Hist. Colls. 103; HMC Hatfield, xi. 485.
  • 5. PCC 49 Montague.