BARTON, Nathaniel (1764-1828), of Corsley House, nr. Warminster, Wilts
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Family and Education
b. 9 Nov. 1764, 1st s. of John Barton of Corsley and Ann, da. of Zachary Bayly of Jamaica. m. 11 Aug. 1804, his cos. Elizabeth, da. of Rev. Brouncker Thring, DD, rect. of Sutton Veny, Wilts., 1s. 2da. suc. fa. 1783. d. 2 Nov. 1828.
Cornet, Wilts. yeoman cav. 1794.
Barton was descended from the Westbury clothier William Barton (d. 1697), whose minor gentry family were the dominant inhabitants of Corsley from the early eighteenth century.1 In 1762 his father John married one of the daughters of the wealthy West India planter Zachary Bayly, who had relatives at Leigh, near Westbury. Her eldest brother Zachary Bayly, custos and chief magistrate of the precinct of St. Mary and St. George, Jamaica, died in December 1769, dividing, by his will of that year, his plantations between his brother Nathaniel Bayly, Member for Abingdon, 1770-4, and Westbury, 1774-9, and his nephew Bryan Edwards, Member for Southampton, 1796-1800.2 Barton’s father died in 1783, bequeathing to him in trust, by his will of 10 June 1775, the family estates and recently acquired property in Warminster.3 Barton, who was an attorney and agent for the Salamander Fire Office in the Market Place, Warminster, from at least the early 1790s, married his first cousin Elizabeth, the daughter of his mother’s sister Mary.4 He had Corsley House ostentatiously rebuilt in 1814.5
Barton is not known to have been active in local politics. At the general election of 1818 he plumped for William Long Wellesley* for Wiltshire against the sitting Member Paul Methuen and the agriculturist John Benett*, and at the following year’s by-election he voted for the Tory interloper John Dugdale Astley* against Benett.6 At the general election of 1820 he was returned unopposed for Westbury, as a stopgap for its currently incarcerated patron Sir Manasseh Masseh Lopes*, whose agent and relative he may have been.7 He was named as a defaulter, 22 June 1820, but the order for his attendance was discharged on the 26th, when he was granted two weeks’ sick leave. No evidence of parliamentary activity has been found. Like his colleague, he vacated his seat later that year, presumably at the request of Masseh Lopes, who, following his early release from prison, returned himself and a friend at the ensuing by-election.
Barton died in November 1828, when a local paper recorded that ‘as an upright and strictly honourable character, he was deservedly esteemed and respected; by his numerous friends his loss will be long, deeply and sincerely felt; to his afflicted family it is irreparable’.8 By his will, dated 18 Mar. 1826, with one codicil, he made provision for his wife (d. 1847) and daughters, and left the rest of his estate, which included personal wealth sworn under £25,000, to his only surviving son, Nathaniel (1813-78), who was succeeded by his childless only son, Nathaniel Fletcher (d. 1899).9 In Victorian times, the family ‘lived in a homely way, farming their own land and taking part in the incidents of rural life, whilst occasionally entertaining the neighbouring gentlemen at a large dinner or banquet, commencing at an early hour’.10