BAKER, James (d.1689), of Shaftesbury, Dorset.
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Family and Education
m. by 1636, 3s.1
Constable and churchwarden, Shaftesbury St. Peter 1642; solicitor and sequestrator, Dorset 1646-9; mayor, Shaftesbury 1647-8, 1656-7; commr. for assessment, Dorset 1649, 1652, Jan. 1660, administering the engagement 1650, capt. of militia horse 1650, lt. 1659, commr. for security 1655.2
Baker, an attorney, had taken up residence in Shaftesbury by 1636, and in the following year succeeded Richard King as steward of the manorial court of Abbotsbury. He became prominent as a sequestrator of Royalists’ estates during the Civil War, and was approved by the Quakers in 1656 as ‘moderate, and against persecution’. But by 1659 he was active on behalf of John Fitzjames in the county election, and he was probably returned himself for Shaftesbury with the approval of Fitzjames’s own patron Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper. Re-elected in 1660 he signed the loyal address from Dorset on the Restoration, but he was probably inactive in the Convention, his only certain committee being on the bill to settle ecclesiastical livings on 30 July. He presumably voted with the Opposition, but on 15 Aug. ‘Mr Baker’ was given leave to go into the country, and there is no evidence that he returned after the recess. He witnessed the election indenture for Shaftesbury in 1661, and was still occupying a fair-sized house there in 1664. His later years were passed in total obscurity, and it was as ‘James Backer’ without any honorific that he was buried at St. Peter’s on 21 Oct. 1689. Nothing is known of his descendants.3
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: M. W. Helms / John. P. Ferris
- 1. Dorset RO, Shaftesbury St. Peter’s par. reg.
- 2. Protestation Returns (Dorset Recs. xii), 142; C. H. Mayo, Dorset Standing Committee, 26, 506; Hutchins, Dorset, iii. 16; Christie, Shaftesbury, i. p. liv; CJ, vii. 756; Thurloe, iv. 305.
- 3. St. Peter’s par. reg.; Dorset RO, D124 (manorial); SP18/130/46; Northumberland (Alnwick) mss 552, p. 50; Address of Nobility and Gentry of Dorset (1660); Dorset Hearth-Tax ed. Meekings, 22.