BAKER, Peter William (?1756-1815), of Ranston House, nr. Blandford, Dorset.
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Family and Education
b. ?1756, o.s. of William Baker, London builder, of Bromley, Salop and Wick House, Sion Hill, Mdx. by Martha, da. of Peter Storer of Highgate, Mdx. educ. Eton 1765; Trinity Coll. Camb. 16 June 1774, aged 18; L. Inn 1773. m. 27 Nov. 1781, Jane, da. of James Clitherow of Boston House, Mdx., s.p. suc. fa. 1774.
Sheriff, Dorset 1787-8.
With no parliamentary interest of his own, Baker was out of Parliament from 1784 until 1802. The large fortune he had inherited would probably have made the purchase of another seat no problem, if he had particularly wished to come in. In 1794 he was the unsuccessful candidate in a by-election at Wallingford. In 1802 his Dorset friend Nathaniel Bond*, a supporter of Addington’s ministry, encouraged him to offer at Maldon, a forlorn hope which only succeeded in prejudicing relations between John Strutt† and Addington.1 Baker, who had canvassed but missed the election, found an opening at Wootton Bassett later in the year, as a guest of the St. John family. ‘A staunch supporter’ of Addington ‘to the last’, he did not apparently speak in the House.2 He joined Addington in opposition to Pitt’s additional force bill in June 1804 and was listed ‘doubtful’ by the Pittites in September. His votes against Melville, 8 Apr. and 12 June 1805, led to his being listed ‘doubtful Opposition’ in July. He supported the Grenville ministry, to which his leader belonged, on their repeal of Pitt’s Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806.
In 1807 Baker succeeded to Nathaniel Bond’s seat on the Bond family interest for Corfe Castle. He gave a silent support to government, voting steadily with them on the Scheldt inquiry, January-March 1810, against radical agitation, 16 Apr., and against parliamentary reform, 21 May. Nathaniel Bond enlisted his support for the claims of John Palmer*.3 In deference to his colleague Bankes, he voted (with the majority) for the abolition of McMahon’s sinecure, 24 Feb. 1812. He was in the die-hard minority against Catholic relief, 22 June. No other votes of his are known in that Parliament. Listed a friend of government after the election of 1812, he voted against Catholic relief on 2 Mar. and 11 May, paired against it on 13 May and again voted against it on 24 May 1813.
He died 25 Aug. 1815, aged 59, leaving his estate to his first cousin Lt.-Col. Sir Edward Baker Littlehales, 1st Bt.4