Portraits: British 16th and 17th C 7 Could this be John Barker of Hurst (c.1540–1620)?

Henry Barker (b.c.1536)
Topic: Subject or sitter

I have been doing research for a friend in America who is descended from Chaloner Chute and Henry Barker of Chiswick. This cannot be Henry Barker of Chiswick (Chaloner Chute’s son-in-law), because Henry was not born until c.1623 and died in 1695. The portrait was painted in 1615 and the sitter was 79 years old.

Henry Barker of Chiswick's grandfather was William Barker of Sonning who died in 1573 (well documented). We think that the gentleman in the portrait is far more likely to be John Barker of Hurst, brother of William Barker of Sonning and therefore great uncle of Henry Barker of Chiswick. John Barker of Hurst was born c.1540 and died in 1620. I look forward to your comments.

Sources include http://www.british-history.ac.uk (Grove House section) and https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ for the will of John Barker of Hurst, proved in 1620.

The painting is inscribed ‘Anno 1615/ Ætatis 79.’ It was bequeathed with The Vyne estate and contents by Sir Charles Chute, Bt.

The National Trust record states: ‘Ann, daughter of Chaloner Chute and Ann Skory, married into the Barker family of Chiswick. The present portrait may represent an ancestor.’

Nicky Lewis, Entry reviewed by Art UK


Osmund Bullock,

The arms identifying the sitter top right do not appear to be those of Barker of Hurst (or any other Barker); nor are they those of Chute or Skory.

The arms seem to be 'argent, a lion rampant guardant sable' (and perhaps 'langued gules'), but it's hard to be sure at low resolution. I cannot make the crest out at all. There are too many possible families without seeing more detail, and even then it may not be possible to be sure - especially as the tail of the lion (which might be double/forked) is cut off in both the Art UK & NT versions of the image - significant parts of the crest may have been lost too.

Nevertheless could we see the highest-resolution version available of the coat of arms area, please?

Kieran Owens,

Page 69 of the 1888 edition of 'A History of The Vyne in Hampshire; being a short account of the building & antiquities of that house, situate in the parish of Sherborne, St. John co., Hants, & of persons who have at some time lived there', by Challoner William Chute (1838 - 1890), states that Ann Chute, daughter of Challoner Chute and Ann Skory (sic) (who were married in 1627), "married into the family of Henry Barker, of Chiswick, of whom there is a striking portrait (dated 1615, aetatis 79) at the Vyne." It is notable that this extract states that it was "into the family of" the man in the portrait - and not "to" this Henry Barker - that Ann Chute was married.

The National Trust's own 1981 guide to The Vyne states that of its portraits, one was of Henry Barker and that it was a grandson of his who married Anne Chute.

Page 510 of the 1880 edition of Notes & Queries mentioned that "Grove House, figured in Faulkner, is still in existence, and is inhabited and kept up, but the upper story has been removed. The tympanum exhibits the lion rampant borne on the coat of the Scorey Barkers (once an important Chiswick family), by one of whom the house must have been built."

On page 69 and 70 of Lloyd Sanders' 'Old Kew, Chiswick and Kensington' (1910), he writes: "In the midst of all this raw incompleteness stands Grove House, with its spacious portico, bearing on the tympanum the arms of the Barker family in relief, its venerable cedars and fine row of poplars."

A good photograph of the house (which was demolished in 1928) can be seen here (click on image to enlarge):


The Brentford & Chicwich Local History website records the following: "Grove House Estate - This estate comprised copyhold lands in the manor of Sutton Court and a house is first mentioned there in 1412. For a long period in the 17th century it was the property of the Barker family; in the 1650s Henry Barker was the largest ratepayer in the parish."

On the History of Parliament Online website, Scorey (sic) Barker (1652 - 1713) is described thus:

"B. c.1652, 1st s. of Henry Barker of Grove House, Chiswick, by Anne, da. of Chaloner Chute of Sutton Court, Chiswick".

Further details can be seen here - https://bit.ly/2pNFbLD

Thus it would seem that a Henry Barker had a son who was the father of Henry Barker, of Grove House, Chiswick, who married Anne Chute, and which first Henry through them was the great-grandfather of Scorey Barker. The "lion rampant" described as belonging to this Barker family would appear to match the image on the shield of this painting. It is, therefore, possible that this portrait is of Henry Barker who was aged 79 in 1615, possibly the year of the portrait being painted or of the sitter's death. Finding him on the Barker family tree is the next challenge.

Kieran Owens,

Interesting details of the Barker family of Wokingham and Sonning, can be seen here:


A reference to the arms of William Barker of Sonning, who died in 1575, describes them: as follows:

"The arms by the effigy at at Sonning of William Barker (d 1575) and his wife Anne Stoughton may be described thus:
1. Party per chevron engrailed or and sable, a lion rampant counterchanged (Barker) quartering, argent, a chief sable, three tilting spears palewise, heads in chief, counterchanged a crescent for difference (Burleigh)
2. The same, impaling, on a cross engrailed, argent, five ermine spots sable (Stoughton)."

The above William's ancestor, William Barker of Wokingham (d. 1549), had property in Chiswick. (Berks. Arch. Soc. Journ. iii, 103; cf. Visit. of Berks. ii, 64).

Kieran Owens,

Barker arms, one with a crest of griffin's head and a shield with a rampant lion, as per this portrait, can be seen here as entry number 19:


How the crest of the griffin's head relates to the Chiswick family is to be investigated further.

Marcie Doran,

It is only a guess but the will of Frances Barker, Widow of Hurst, Kent, PROB 11/396/118, July 16, 1689, mentions pictures (including possibly this one?) but I haven't been able to sort out her relatives.

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