BARKER, William (d.1685), of New Prison Walk, Clerkenwell, Mdx. and Hurst, Berks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679

Family and Education

4th but 2nd surv. s. of Henry Barker (d.1651) of Hurst by Magdalen, da. of William Cade of Romford, Essex. m. by 1663, Frances, (d.1689), da. and coh. of William Hobart of Metton, Norf., wid. of James Davies (Davy) of Southampton, Hants, s.p. suc. bro. 1661.1

Offices Held

Clerk in Chancery c.1629, cursitor 1638-53, 1654-d.2

Commr. for assessment, Berks. 1663-80, Norf. 1663-9, 1677-80, Mdx. 1673-80; j.p. Mdx. 1667-70, 1674-6, Norf. 1676-82.


Barker came from a family established in East Berkshire in Tudor times. William Barker of Sonning, the head of the family, served on the county committee from 1647 to the Restoration, but Barker, like his father and elder brother, seems to have avoided commitment to either side in the Civil War. As a Chancery official, Barker lived principally in Clerkenwell, though he erected an almshouse at Hurst in 1664. His removal from the Middlesex commission of the peace in 1670 suggests that he disliked the Conventicles Act. He gained complete control of the Hurst estate on the death of his brother’s widow in 1677, and in the following year stood for the county at a by-election with the support of the 2nd Earl of Clarendon (Henry Hyde). He was involved in a double return with the court supporter, the Earl of Stirling, which cost him £1,800, and no decision was reached before the dissolution of the Cavalier Parliament.3

Although at first reluctant to stand, Barker was successful at the three Exclusion elections, and marked ‘honest’ on Shaftesbury’s list. It seems probable that he was less active than his much younger cousin, Scorey Barker, but he voted for exclusion. In the second Exclusion Parliament, he was appointed to the committee of elections and privileges and to the committee of inquiry into abhorring. In 1681, he and Richard Southby accepted an exclusionist address from the Berkshire electors, thanking them for attempting to redress just grievances, and urging them to promote the unity of all Protestant subjects. But he left no certain trace on the records of the Oxford Parliament. After the Rye House Plot he was reported as present at a Whig meeting at Reading, but no action was taken against him. He died on 25 Mar. 1685 and was buried at Hurst. He was succeeded by his sister’s son, Henry Fairfax.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar


  • 1. Reading Univ. mss, H. C. Cherry, ‘Bercherienses Prosapiae’, 1, p. 475; Ashmole, Berks. ii. 411-12; Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. lxxv), 84; PCC 92 Ent, 41 Cann.
  • 2. C220/15/8/60.
  • 3. Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 165; (lvii), 64; Ashmole, ii. 413, 414; PCC 305 May; VCH Berks. iii. 259; Mdx. RO, Hearth Tax Returns, Mich. 1672; HMC Ormonde n.s. iv. 448; HMC 7th Rep. 494; CJ, ix. 517.
  • 4. BL, M636/32, Sir Ralph to Edmund Verney, 30 Jan. 1679; State Tracts (1693) pt. 2, p. 140; CSP Dom. July-Sept. 1683, p. 389; Ashmole, ii. 423; PCC 41 Cann.