BAKER, Edward (1774-1862), of St. Ann Street, Salisbury, Wilts. and Regent Street, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. 9 Aug. 1774,1 o.s. of Edward Baker, attorney, of Salisbury and Jane, da. of Thomas Phipps of Westbury Leigh, Wilts.2 educ. Winchester 1787; St. John’s, Camb. 1792; I. Temple 1793. unm. 1da. illegit. suc. fa. 1796. d. 24 Feb. 1862.
Capt. Wilts. yeoman cav. 1804, maj. 1817, lt.-col. 1825, res. 1840.
a.d.c. to William IV 1831-7, to Victoria 1837-57.
Mayor, Wilton 1826-7.
Baker seems to have belonged to a Salisbury family of some standing. His grandfather John, an alderman of the corporation, died in 1768, having, by his will of 15 Mar. 1766, divided his property in Wiltshire between his two sons, the Rev. John and Edward.3 The latter, an attorney of Winchester Street, Salisbury and Donhead St. Mary, was elected to the corporation of Wilton in 1772 and served as mayor, 1786-7.4 In 1769 he married the daughter of Thomas Phipps, the receiver-general of Wiltshire, and his second wife Jane, the daughter of Henry Hele, a Salisbury physician.5 (Five years later her sister Martha married Bryan Edwards†.) Edward Baker died, 1 Nov. 1796, at his house at Hythe, near Southampton, of whose corporation he was also a member.6 By his will, dated 4 Feb. 1795, with a codicil of 12 Sept. 1796, he gave substantial legacies to the Salisbury infirmary and other charities and left the bulk of his estate, which included personal wealth sworn at the ‘upper value’, to his only son Edward.7
This Edward, who was admitted to St. John’s, Cambridge as a duchess of Somerset’s scholar in 1792, did not graduate, nor was he called to the bar.8 In 1804 he began a long career in the militia, and in 1813 he became a local magistrate.9 He settled in Salisbury, where he was renowned for the care and expense he lavished on his small but ‘charming and picturesque’ garden.10 At the general election of 1818 he split for Paul Methuen† and John Benett* for Wiltshire, and at the following year’s by-election he voted for the successful candidate Benett, against the Tory interloper John Dugdale Astley*.11 In late 1819 he signed the requisition against the calling of a county meeting on Peterloo.12 Following the example of several of his relations, he was elected to the corporation of Wilton, 13 Oct. 1819, and was sworn, 10 Mar. 1820, later serving his turn as mayor.13 In November 1820 he led the force of militia which suppressed the intended Salisbury illuminations in celebration of Queen Caroline’s acquittal.14 Following the death of one of the Wilton Members in November 1822, Baker was known to be the favourite to succeed, ‘having been for many years the intimate friend of Lord Pembroke’, the Tory patron.15 He was duly returned unopposed at a by-election early the following year.
In the House he was a silent supporter of the Liverpool ministry. He voted against inquiry into the right of voting in parliamentary elections, 20 Feb., repealing the tax on houses worth less than £5, 10 Mar., and limiting the sinking fund, 13 Mar. 1823. He divided against repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr., and inquiry into the legal proceedings against the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr. He voted against reform of the Scottish representative system, 2 June 1823, and the representation of Edinburgh, 26 Feb. 1824, 13 Apr. 1826. He divided for the Irish unlawful societies bill, 25 Feb. 1825, and against Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May, and the Irish franchise bill, 26 Apr. He voted for the duke of Cumberland’s grant, 30 May, 10 June 1825. He was again returned unopposed for Wilton at the general election of 1826. He voted against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May 1828. He presented at least one petition against repeal of the Test Acts, 25 Feb., and voted against this next day. He divided with the Wellington ministry against reducing the salary of the lieutenant-general of the ordnance, 4 July 1828. In February 1829 he was listed by Planta, the patronage secretary, among those ‘opposed to the principle of the bill’ to emancipate the Catholics, and, having signed the Wiltshire anti-Catholic address, he voted accordingly, 6, 18, 27, 30 Mar. 1829.16 He interested himself in the Salisbury poor bill and, as requested, presented the local petition against it, in the absence of Benett, 16 Feb. 1830.17 He voted against transferring East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb., and the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb. His only other known vote in this period was against abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 7 June 1830.
At the general election later that year, the 12th earl of Pembroke, who had succeeded his father in 1827, had Baker replaced at Wilton. Already considered as an ‘effective and valuable officer’, as well as a ‘judge of wine of the first water’, Baker took an active part against the ‘Swing’ rioters in Wiltshire in late 1830.18 It was apparently because of his zeal in this cause that he was appointed aide-de-camp to the king the following year.19 He refused to sign the requisition for a county meeting on parliamentary reform got up by Lord Radnor in early 1831.20 After the resignation of his former colleague Penruddocke in 1837, he sat for Wilton as a Conservative until the general election of 1841, when he congratulated the Tory leader Sir Robert Peel* on his success.21 He died in February 1862, ‘a gentleman well known throughout this part of the country’, as the local paper recorded in its obituary notice. He was buried in Salisbury cemetery.22 Among those remembered in his will, which was dated 24 Dec. 1859 and proved in London on 15 Apr. 1862, were ‘my dear friend Susannah Hubbard, formerly of the parish of Streatham in the county of Surrey, and now commonly called and known by the name of Susannah Baker’, and Emily Baker (b. 1843), ‘my reputed daughter by Mary Ann Holmes otherwise Lindsay Baker deceased’.
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Stephen Farrell
- 1. Salisbury Jnl. 1 Mar. 1862.
- 2. Wilts. N and Q, vi. 573.
- 3. Gent. Mag. (1768), 198; PROB 11/939/226.
- 4. Wilts. RO, Wilton borough recs. G25/1/22, ff. 168, 206.
- 5. H.R. Phipps, Phipps Notes (BL typescript), v. ped. 8.
- 6. Gent. Mag. (1796), ii. 969.
- 7. PROB 11/1281/541; IR26/4/10.
- 8. Admissions to Coll. of St. John, Camb. iv. 111.
- 9. Salisbury Jnl. 1 Mar. 1862.
- 10. Ibid.; Devizes Gazette, 4 Dec. 1823.
- 11. Wilts. Pollbook (1819), 8.
- 12. Devizes Gazette, 4 Nov. 1819.
- 13. Wilton borough recs. G25/1/22, ff. 296, 298.
- 14. Devizes Gazette, 23 Nov. 1820.
- 15. Ibid. 26 Dec. 1822.
- 16. Glos. RO, Sotheron Estcourt mss D1571 X114, Long to Bucknall Estcourt [?11 Feb. 1829].
- 17. Wilts. RO, Peniston mss 451/59, Peniston to Baker [?9 Feb.], 2 Apr., to Benett [?9, 17 Feb.] 1830.
- 18. Peniston Letters ed. M. Cowan (Wilts. Recs. Soc. l), 189, 507, 1639-41, 1652, 1674, 1682; Devizes Gazette, 2 Dec. 1830.
- 19. Salisbury Jnl. 1 Mar. 1862.
- 20. Wilts. RO, Radnor mss 490/1376, Radnor’s diary of events, 1830-1.
- 21. Add. 40485, f. 171.
- 22. Salisbury Jnl. 1 Mar. 1862.