John Baker, Esq.

BIOGRAPHY of JOHN BAKER (1749/50 – 1802) with Hatchment of St Leonard's Church, Deal.

John Baker was born in 1749 and Baptised at St.Leonard’s, Deal His parents were Thomas Baker (1713 – 1762) and Elizabeth Knowler (1719 – 1771). Thomas came from Deal whilst his Mother Elizabeth was a resident of the Parish of St.Alphege, Canterbury.

Canterbury Marriage Licence
Baker Thomas of Deal, ba., and Eliz. Knowler of S.Alphege Cant., spr at Deal, St.Martin or St.Alphege, Nov 14 1749

St.Martin, Canterbury
Thomas Baker m Elizabeth Knowler 15 Nov 1749
Their family were Baptised in Deal.

John Baker s of Thomas Baker and Elizabeth 12 Feb 1749/50
Mary d of Thomas and Elizabeth 5 Apr 1752

Sadly Mary Baker died the following year and was buried on the 13th March 1753. Thomas Baker Esq died in 1762, when John was only 12, and was buried at St.George’s on the 22nd November.

John was 17 when he married Elizabeth Bromsall (1748 – 1799) of Dover. She was the daughter of John Bromsall and Elizabeth Walker and is commemorated by another of the Hatchments hanging at St.Leonard’s.

Canterbury Marriage licence
John Baker of Deal Gent minor (Mother Eliz Baker widow) & Eliz Bromsall of St Mary Dover minor (Father John B Gent); at St Mary Dover. 09 Mar 1767.

St.Mary, Dover
John Baker m Elizabeth Bromsall 17 Mar 1767

They had a large family all Baptised at St.Leonard’s, Deal.

Elizabeth Honora d of John and Elizabeth 18 Mar 1768
John s of John and Elizabeth 10 Apr 1769
Mary d of John and Elizabeth 29 Apr 1770
Harriot d of John and Elizabeth 30 Jul 1771
Thomas s of John and Elizabeth 14 Apr 1773
William s of John and Elizabeth 24 Aug 1774
Charles s of John and Elizabeth 4 Dec 1775
Charlotte d of John and Elizabeth 30 Jun 1779
Louisa d of John and Elizabeth 19 Aug 1780
George s of John and Elizabeth 27 Nov 1781
Sophia d of John and Elizabeth 12 Mar 1787
Narborough Filmer s of John and Elizabeth 3 Feb 1790

Although there are no records of what he did it appears that John Baker was quite wealthy. In the Universal Directory of 1793 he is listed as a member of the Gentry for the town of Deal

He was certainly a landowner. In ‘The History and Topographical survey of Kent’ Volume 9 by Edward Hasted (published in 1800) there is a reference to an estate called Winkleton Oaks in Ripple that was owned by John Baker Esq. of Deal but had recently been sold to Stephen Carter of Walmer. This Estate comprised some 900 acres of land and included around 16 houses. There are other mentions of land and property in his Will of 1802.

Elizabeth Baker (nee Bronsall) died in 1799 and John himself passed away only a few years later. He was living in Chilham at this time and left it up to his family as to whether his remains should be taken back to Deal for burial. He was subsequently brought home and buried at St.George’s on the 22nd July 1802.

In the ‘The Gentleman’s magazine’ Volume 92 (published in 1802) in a section called ‘Obituary, with Anecdotes. of remarkable Persons’ there is a small reference to John Baker that reads as follows.

8th July ‘At Chilham, In Kent, aged 55, John Baker Esq. formally of Deal’

John Baker came from a long and illustrious line of mariners from Deal including several notable members of the Royal Navy (see other articles).

Researched by Sue Buckman

Canterbury Marriage Licences
Canterbury Cathedral Archives
The National Archives
The Universal Directory
The History and Topographical survey of Kent’ Volume 9 by Edward Hasted (published in 1800)
The Gentleman’s Magazine

WILL of JOHN BAKER Esq (1802)

John Baker’s Will is a very interesting document. His first priority was for the welfare of his children. He was acutely aware that several of them were likely to be under 21 at the time of his death and being a widower (Elizabeth Baker died in 1799) he was thankful to take up the kind offer made by his good friend William Hougham to look after their interests until they attained their age of majority1. He showed his gratitude by leaving him an Epergne. This was a large table centrepiece, usually made of silver plate, comprising a central bowl supported on feet, surrounded by other bowls that branched off on stalks. They were used either for holding food or in some cases flowers and candles as an ornate table decoration.

He intended to sell all his property in order to provide for his family with the proviso that some paintings and a few trinkets might be held back and bequeathed to others in accordance with his wishes. Sir Narborough D’Arth of Knowlton had offered to look after his pictures and valuables until their sale could be arranged.

He acknowledged that he had yet to finalise the disposal of an earlier Will of a relative despite several requests. He and a Mr Cannon had encountered difficulties and great expense in realising rents from several sources that were owed. One Tenant had even disavowed all knowledge of the whereabouts of several parcels of land in Ripple, in his use, upon which Rent for many years was due. Other problems of a similar nature also persisted. There was, in addition, a dispute over shares that were intended by the Will of Mr Walker (his late wife’s Grandfather) to be given to those children who were of age upon his own wife’s death but had somehow found their way into the possession of Mr.Monk, the Attorney.

Hercules Baker is mentioned several times in this document. A valuable ring that belonged to him was left to his son John (in his Grandmother’s Will). However, he had an initially difficulty in finding this item2 following her death. Hercules was also responsible for the erection of a vault built in memory of his Grandfather Thomas Baker and for a Faculty for the use by the Baker family of a Pew in St.Leonard’s Church. John Baker wished that his daughters Charlotte and Sophia might continue to make use of this privilege following his death. This offer was also extended to Mr Hougham and his wife should he ever purchase property in Upper Deal. Further provision was made for his daughters to have enough plate and furniture to keep them comfortable. He hoped that Sophia would continue her education until the following Christmas and that his son Narborough Filmer Baker who was also at school might spend his holidays with them. His Executors were charged with ensuring that his board would be paid for from his Estate.

In a Codicil he left it up to his Family to decide if he should be brought back to Deal if he should die at his home in Chilham. If this were the case, it was his wish that some of the Tradesmen who were employed at his wife’s funeral might also attend his own but he specifically asked that Mr Morris and 10 Tradesmen from Chilham might also be employed. He hoped that members of his family would form his funeral procession and directed that two pounds and two shillings be paid to his servant Henry Trice in recognition of his service to him during his final days.

1 Mr Hougham may have been John baker’s cousin. He lived at Barton Court, Canterbury. This property now houses the Grammer School that bears the same name.

2 In 1716 George I gave a ring to Vice Admiral John Baker, one of John Baker’s notable ancestors, in recognition of service to his Country. I am wondering if this was the same ring?

The National Archives


The Baker Family in Deal can be traced back to a James Baker, said to be a mariner, who appears in Deal when he married Elizabeth Crampton at St.Leonard’s on the 28th April 1649. Although the records are sketchy they seem to have the following children Baptised at St.Leonard’s

James s of James and Elizabeth 17 Oct 1652
Mary d of Jas 27 Jun 1657
John s of James and Elizabeth 26 Mar 1661

The following Canterbury Marriage Licence suggests that James Baker Snr. died before 1666 as his Widow Elizabeth re-marries.

Brett, John of Deal, Carpenter, Widow, and Elizabeth Baker, of the same Parish, Widow of James Baker of the same Parish. At Deal or Woodnesborough. Richard Kitham of Canterbury, grocer and Thomas Whitfild, of the same Parish, Innholder, bonds. March 28 1666

John Brett m Elizabeth Baker 1 Apr 1666

A daughter called Susan is Baptised at St.Leonard’s on the 20 January 1666/7.

John Baker (1661 – 1716) – John Baker’s 2 x Great Uncle.
We do not know when John Baker entered the Royal Navy but he was appointed as a Lieutenant in 1688. An illustrious career followed during which he was involved in many Naval campaigns serving under Admiral Sir George Rooke and Sir George Byng. He was also responsible for bringing the fleet home safely after many ships and men were lost off the Isles of Scilly whilst under the command of Sir Cloudesley Shovell in October 1707. He was awarded the rank of Rear Admiral in 1708 and of Vice Admiral of the White during 1716. He also served as the Member of Parliament for Weymouth. Admiral John Baker died on the 10th November 1716 in Port Mahon in Minorca where he had been appointed as the Island’s Governor. His remains were repatriated to Britain and he was buried in the North Aisle of the Nave of Westminster Abbey on the 22nd February 1717. The inscription on his monument reads.
"To the memory of John Baker Esqr., Vice Admiral of ye White Squadron of the British Fleet: who, when he commanded in the Mediterranean dyed at Port Mahon the 10th of November 1716, Aet.(aged) 56. He was a brave, judicious, and experienced officer, a sincere friend, and a true lover of his country. Manet post funera virtus (virtue remains after the funeral)."

John Baker never married and in his Will gave his lands to his nephew Hercules Baker. Other entries refer to his brother James Baker and sisters Mary Mumbray and Susannah Friend.


The addition of the Naval Crown and the Trident that may be seen on the Baker Hatchment was awarded to the family by Queen Anne in recognition of his service to the country and in June 1716 he was also given a ring by George I.

James Baker (b.1652) a mariner married Amy Mullet in 1678. Their family include Thomas Baker (b.1684, John’s Grandfather) and Hercules Baker (b.1683).

Hercules Baker (1683 – 1744) – John Baker’s Great Uncle
Hercules Baker was the son of James Baker, a Mariner and Amy Mullet. Little is known about his Naval career other than that he served in the Mediterranean under his uncle Admiral John Baker and was appointed as a Captain in 1715. He also served as a Member of Parliament for Hythe before retiring to Greenwich in 1736 where he remained as the Treasurer of Greenwich Hospital until his death in 1744. In 1713 he married Jane Fox at St.Leonard;’s in Deal and in 1714 they had a daughter called Sarah. She went on to marry Thomas Barret Esq and was buried in Ickham in 1734. There are subsequent records of a Jane Baker buried at St.John, Ickham on the 24th September 1744 and a Hercules Baker buried at the same Church on the 5th November 1744.

Edward Baker (1687 – 1752) – Another Great Uncle and Hercules Baker’s brother who also joined the Royal Navy and rose to the rank of Rear Admiral. He married Sarah Bentley (daughter of William Bentley) at St.Leonard’s in 1717 and was buried at St.Andrew’s, Buckland, Dover in 1752.

Thomas Baker (b.1684) a seaman, married Mary Mumbray in 1707. Their family includes Thomas Baker (b.1713, John’s Father)

Two of John Baker’s children entered the Navy.

Admiral Sir Thomas Baker (1773 – 1845) - Son of John and Elizabeth Baker.
Thomas joined the Navy as a Midshipman on the 23 Aug 1781 aboard a store ship called the Dromedary. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1792 and eventually given the command of first the Lion, a cutter and then the Valiant, a lugger. By 1795 he had been promoted to the Rank of Commander. In Jan 1800 whilst in command of the Nemesis he captured a French privateer ship called Le Renard complete with its compliment of 65 men and 14 guns. In July of that same year he captured, following a short skirmish, a Danish convoy. Many Naval successes followed and he rose through the ranks to be given the position of Rear Admiral in 1821 and Vice Admiral in 1837. He was knighted in 1831. Thomas married Augusta the daughter of His Excellency Count Routh of Sweden.

Captain John Baker (1769 – 1845) – Son of John and Elizabeth Baker.
John also joined the Navy as a volunteer in 1782 aboard The Roebuck. Between 1787 and 1793 he was a Midshipman on The Orion and Carnatio. He was awarded the position of Lieutenant in 1794, finally attaining the rank of Captain in 1810.

Rev. Charles Baker (1775 – 1842) – Son of John and Elizabeth Baker
Charles entered Jesus College, Cambridge in 1796 having attended school in Enfield, Middlesex. He obtaining a BA followed by an MA at Clare College in 1803. He served in several Kent Parishes including Charlton, Knowlton, Ash and Tilmanstone where he died in 1842.

Narborough Filmer Baker (1790 - 1852) – Son of John and Elizabeth Baker
This son joined the Army and rose to the position of Lieutenant Colonel of the 80th Regiment of Foot. He was buried at St.Georges, Deal in 1852.

Sophia Baker (1787 - 1828) – Daughter of John and Elizabeth Baker
Sophia married Samuel Tyssen in 1807. She died in 1828 at Narborough Hall, Norfolk aged only 41 and is buried at All Saints, Narborough where both she and her husband are commemorated by Hatchments which according to the book ‘Church Heraldry of Norfolk (pub 1887) hang in the Vestry there.

Further Naval connections came from the marriage of two of his daughters.

Elizabeth Honora Baker (1768 - ) – Married Admiral Richard Lee in 1795

Harriot Baker (1771 - ) – Married Admiral John Bazely in 1800.

Researched by Sue Buckman

History of Parliament online
Admirals of the world: a biographical dictionary, 1500 to the present By William Stewart
Canterbury Marriage Licences
Gentleman Magazine
Cambridge University Alumni
A Naval Biographical Dictionary
Church Heraldry of Norfolk by the Rev Edmund Farrer. F.S.A