The Baker Line












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General Sir Martin Farndale KCB






Margaret Louisa Baker (Peggy) (1901 to 1996) (see more detail at BAK00002)


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Born on 24 February 1901 at Audlem, Cheshire.




See BAK00002.




Alfred Farndale, bachelor, farmer aged 29 son of Martin Farndale (deceased), married Margaret Louise Baker, spinster of Leeming Bar daughter of Arthur Baker JP (deceased) at Bedale Parish Church, on 16 Mar 1928.




See Alfred Farndale FAR00683 including their journey to and from Canada and thereafter.




Peggy Farndale died in Wensleydale in 1996






Arthur Baker (1860 to 29 April 1916)





Arthur was born at Audlem, Near Nantwich, Cheshire in the first quarter of 1860. He was baptised on 12 February 1860.




1861 census – 13 Midway Heath, Buerton, Audlem, Cheshire


William Baker, 43, head, landed proprietor

Henrietta Baker, his wife 36

John B Baker, 10

Arthur Baker, 1

Elizabeth Daniels, 18, unmarried, governess

Three servants


1871 census – High Fields, Buerton, Audlem, Cheshire


William Baker, 54, head, land owner

Henrietta Baker, his wife 46

Henrietta Baker, 22

John Bellyse Baker, 20

Richard D Baker, 14

Arthur Baker, 11

Charity Baker, 8

Charlotte L Baker, 4

Emily J Baker, 2

Two visitors, including John Percy, their agent

Three servants


1881 census – High Fields, Buerton, Audlem, Cheshire


John Bellyse Baker, 30, gentleman

Henrietta Baker, 32

Richard D Baker, 24, solicitor’s general clerk

Arthur Baker, 21

Charlotte L Baker, 14

Emily J Baker, 12

Two others


1901 census – Swanbach Villa, Audlem


Arthur Baker, 41, living on own means

Marianne Baker, 31, his wife

Hilda Marian Baker, 1

Margaret Louisa Baker, 1 month

Maude Whiston, their servant


1911 Census – Swanbach Villa, Audlem, Chshire


Arthur Baker, 51, private means

Marianne Baker, 38

Hilda Marian Baker, 11

Margaret Louisa Baker, 10

Geoffrey Richard Baker, 6

Mary Alice Baker, 38, housekeeper

Two servants




Arthur married Marianne Hall (1869 to 1908) at Nantwich in 1898.






Hilda Marianne Baker (2 July 1899 to *). Hilda Baker later lived in Sussex.


Margaret Louisa Baker (Peggy) (24 February 1901 to 1996)


Geoffrey Richard Baker (1904 to 1974). Geoffrey Baker married Joyce Wright and their children were Jennifer Baker who married William (Bill) Skelton and Jacqueline Baker who married HSN Sheardown?




Extracted from a booklet about Audlem


Audlem cricket had its hour of glory. At the end of the last century Market Drayton held an Annual Cricket Week, when a number of Lancaster County men stayed with their then captain, AN Hornby, and played for the town, matches being arranged with the local towns and villages, including Audlem


The captain of Audlem at this time was Arthur Baker of Hillside, youngest son of William Baker of Highfields. Some idea of the quality of the Audlem side may be gathered from the fact that the captain’s 13 years old nephew Bellyse, on holiday from school, was brought in to complete the team. Indeed, the main purpose of the game, a single innings match, was to allow the spectators to watch the great Lancashire stars in action. Audlem, however, possessed a fast bowler. He was one of the Shuker brothers, the local blacksmiths, whose cannon ball deliveries were only exceeded in speed by their usual inaccuracy.


Audlem went in first and were dismissed, with little difficulty, for 13 runs. The spectators settled down to watch the great men perform. Shuker opened the bowling, and with his lighting delivery removed the batsman’s middle stump. This success inspired him to hitherto unknown heights, and helped no doubt by the un-Old Trafford like ground, he dismissed Market Drayton for 11 runs.


The captain then came over to Arthur Baker and said, “Well, Arthur, it’s been great fun. I suppose we’d better make it a two innings match?”


“We’ll both go in again by all means,” was the reply, “but as far as the match is concerned, it’s all over and we’ve won.”


“If that’s Audlem’s idea of good sportsmanship”, said their captain, “Market Drayton will never play them again.” And for all I know to the contrary they never did until the middle of the 1960s, when the club revised after a lapse of twenty five years.





Audlem Garden Party in 1910 with the message on the back of the postcard. I am still to identify who Annie is. Miss Lynham must be the daughter of Skipper Lynham (Charles Cotterill Lynam), Founder headmaster of the Dragon School, at Oxford. See the Hall Line.


Buerton 12 July 1910. Very pleased to receive your PC. Did Sir Robert’s photo come out? We have had heaps of tennis, played on the Congleton tournament last week only reserved 1st day. Glad to hear you are coming in august. How may do you recognise in the photo!! Love from Annie.


This was kept in Marianne Baker’s photo album.




Hillside and Kynsal (from Marianne Baker’s phot album)



Properties not yet identified (from Marianne Baker’s photo album)



Miss Baker (I’ve not worked out who this is) and the Boatman (from Marianne Baker’s photo album)





Marianne Baker (nee Hall) died on 16 May 1908 at Swanbach Villa, Audlem



Arthur Baker died on 29 April 1916.




Baker Arthur, of Hillside Audlem Cheshire gentleman died 29 Aril 1916 Probate Chester 25 May to Arthur John Hall esquire a lieutenant colonel in His Majesty’s Army. Effects £10587 15s 3d.













































































The Hall Line

William Baker The Younger (3 September 1816 to 19 May 1876)




William was born at Buerton, Cheshire on 3 September 1816 and baptised on 5 December 1816 at Audlem. His father was William Baker and his mother was Ann nee Hough.




Research by Nicholas Kingsley:


William's eldest son, another William Baker (1816-76), inherited Highfields from his father, and seems to have been a conventional country gentleman, interested in field sports and farming; indeed, he may have been primarily interested in field sports since he was Master of the Albrighton Foxhounds in 1856. By his second wife, Henrietta Louisa, the daughter of Dr. John Bellyse of Nantwich, surgeon, he produced nine children.


When he died he was succeeded by his eldest son, John Bellyse Baker (1850-1932). It was the time of the great agricultural depression, and there are signs that his father may have handed over the estate in fairly poor condition. At all events, after a few years John came to the conclusion that he could not continue to live and farm at Highfields, and the estate was sold in 1884 to a Liverpool ship-broker, Charles Walford Kellock (d. 1897), who 'restored' and modernised the house. John and his family then emigrated to New Zealand where he became a sheep farmer and grazier, but for reasons which are unclear this was not a success. By 1890 he was back in England and after a few years working as a farm bailiff in Lancashire, he had recovered sufficient capital to purchase a boarding house at St Anne's-on-Sea, on the Lancashire coast, which he and his wife ran for many years. Socially, it was aeons away from the life to which he had been brought up, but it does seem to have provided a reasonable living. His sons were able to go to Christ's Hospital School although they did not attend a University. His elder son, Bellyse Baker (1886-1947) joined the cotton manufacturing industry as a clerk before the First World War, and war service, worked his way up the business to be its sales director. The fruits of this career enabled him to repurchase Highfields when it came on the market at the end of the Second World War, but he died shortly afterwards, and it was left to his son, John Bellyse Baker (1915-2010) to restore and reoccupy the house. Although the family had sold a good deal of the contents of Highfields when they went abroad in 1884, they had retained many of the more personal family items, and it was possible to return these to the house when they reacquired it. John Bellyse Baker developed a deep personal interest in the house and his family, and when Highfields was opened to the public in the 1980s, he wrote a guidebook for visitors. The house is no longer open to the public, but remains the home of the present John Bellyse Baker (b. 1956) and his family.


In 1839, there is a record that William Baker built Kynsal Lodge, the architect being William’s younger brother, Thomas.


On 13 March 1849, when their first daughter Henrietta was born, they were living at Craven Street, Westminster.


1851 Census – Woodhouse Lane, Buerton, Nantwich, Cheshire


William Baker, 34, born 1817, fund holder

Henrietta Louisa Baker, 26, born 1825

Henrietta Baker, 2, born 1849

John Bellyse Baker, 0, born 1851

Margaret Green, 28, nurse

Ann Maria Austin, 19, nurse


In 1856, William was Master of Fox Hounds on the Albrighton Hunt.


In 1859, William was a JP for Cheshire.


1861 census – Kinsey Heath, Buerton, Audlem, Cheshire


William Baker, 43, head, landed proprietor

Henrietta Baker, his wife 36

John Bellyse Baker, 10

Arthur Baker, 1

Elizabeth Daniels, 18, unmarried, governess

Three servants


On 29 October 1863, the family were still living at Kynsal, Audlem.


1871 census – High Fields, Buerton, Audlem, Cheshire


William Baker, 54, head, land owner

Henrietta Baker, his wife 46

Henrietta Baker, 22

John Bellyse Baker, 20

Richard Dod Baker, 14

Arthur Baker, 11

Charity Baker, 8

Charlotte L Baker, 4

Emily J Baker, 2

Two visitors, including John Percy, their agent

Three servants


Married 1


William, a Batchelor married Prudence Cliff, a widow (1813 to 1840) at St Nicholas Church, Liverpool on 18 June 1838.




Married 2


William married Henrietta Louisa Bellyse on 8 February 1849 at St James’, Westminster. Henrietta’s father, John Bellyse, was a surgeon.


St James’s Piccadilly is also known as St James’s Church, Westminster and St James in the Fields and is in Piccadilly, designed and built by Sir Christopher Wren.


From a booklet on Audlem from the late twentieth century


There have been Bellyses of Audlem for nearly two hundred years. Dr Richard Bellyse’s grandfather, Dr John Bellyse, king of Cheshire’s cock fighting fraternity, was born in 1738 and lived to be ninety. His home was the 16th century house now known as the Lymes.




Henrietta Louisa Baker, 9 February 1849 to 1935

John Bellyse Baker (Jack), 1850 to 1932

Mary Louisa Baker 1852 to 1860

Jane Ellen Baker 1853 to 1865

Richard Dod Baker, 1856 to 1902

Arthur Baker, 1860 to 1916

Charity Baker, 1862 to 1881

Charlotte Louisa Baker (Tottie), 29 July 1866 to 1918

Emily Jane Baker, 7 October 1868 to 1941


Extract from a pamphlet about Audlem


William Baker’s second son, Richard Dod Baker, was rather unusual for his day and age, insomuch that not only did he take no interest in field sports, but took great delight in making fun of those who did.


In the early 1870s the Cheshire Hounds met regularly in Audlem Square, under the mastership of HR Corbet, father of the late Reggie Corbet of Adderley, a meet which Richard’s father and eldest brother Jack always attended. Unknown to them there was an occasion when he ‘borrowed’ a top hat, pink coat and white breeches, also a penny farthing bicycle from Mt Moseley in the village. When the meet assembled below the church at eleven, he duly arrived in full hunting kit, riding the penny farthing and raising his hat to the mounted company. Finally, when performing a specially deep bow to the master, he fell off at the feet of that gentleman’s horse.


There is also a birthday book held by the Noble family which has signatures by Emily Baker, 7 October; Henrietta Baker, 9 February and Tottie Baker, 29 July. S I take from this that these are the dates of their birthdays.





William Baker died on 19 May 1876 at Highfields. He was buried on 24 May 1876 at St James the Great, Audlem, Cheshire. He was aged 59.


Probate: BAKER William Esq. Effects under £1500. 21 July. The Will of William Baker late of Highfields in the Parish of Audlem in the County of Chester Esquire who died 19 May 1876 at Highfields was proved at Chester by Herietta Louisa Baker Widow the Relict and John Bellyse Baker Gentleman the Son both of Highfields two of the executors. 






William Baker The Elder (1787 to 8 July 1863)


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William Baker of Highfields, from a photograph on glass taken about 1860




William was born in 1787 at Leominster, Herefordshire and baptised on 17 January 1789. His mother’s surname was Hassall.




He was educated at Shrewsbury School.




William Baker married Ann Hough (1793 to 1854) at St James the Great, Audlem, Cheshire on 9 August 1813.




Richard Dod Baker, 1815 to 1843.

William Baker 1816 to 1876

Sarah Baker 1817 to 1907

Ann Baker 1819 - ?

John Hough Baker 1821 to 1842

Mary (or May)  Baker 1823 to ?

Jane Baker 1825 to 1914. She married her first cousin Joseph Haywood Bellyse, the third son of Sir John Bellyse.

George Baker 1827 to 1877. He married Jane Allman of Audlem. Their children were Richard Dod, May (married Arthur Schutt) and Anne.

Thomas Dod Baker 1830 to 1880

Charlotte Baker 1832 to ?

Charity Baker 1834 to ?


Richard Dod Baker of Highfields (1784 to 1807)


Richard Dod Baker


William’s brother was Richard Dod Baker. Richard was the heir to Highfields and after he died in 1807, his brother William inherited it.


Richard entered Brasenose College, Oxford in October 1801. He was commissioned into the 17th Regiment in 1804. He sailed with his Regiment to India in July 1804 on board the Worcester. He died on his way home on 12 August 1806.




Research by Nicholas Kingsley:


William Baker (1787-1863), was a pupil at Shrewsbury School. He too seems to have used his mother's maiden name from time to time, and when he was married in 1813 he was called William Baker alias Hassall. He is not known to have followed his father and grandfather into architectural practice or surveying, but one of his five sons, Thomas Dod Baker (1830-80) took up the profession again and became Borough Architect of Kidderminster; several of the others became lawyers.


In 1815, when his first son Richard was born, he was a gentleman.


In 1839, he was a JP for Cheshire.


1851 Census – Highfields, Woodhouse Lane, Buerton, Nantwich, Cheshire


William Baker, 63, head, magistrate esquire

Ann Baker,57

Ann Baker, 30

Mary Baker, 27

Jane Baker, 25

George Baker, 23

Thomas Dod Baker, 21

Charlotte Baker, 19

Charity Baker, 17

4 servants



1861 Census – Kinsey Heath, Nantwich


William Baker, widower, 73, County Magistrate

An Baker, 38

Jane Baker, 30

George Baker, 28, solicitor

Charlotte Baker, 25

Henrietta Baker, 11

Jane E Baker, 6

Richard D Baker, 4

Land Agent, Groom and three servants




William the Elder died at Highfields on 8 July 1863. He was buried on 13 July 1863 at St James the Great, Audlem, Cheshire.






































Richard Baker Bellyse 1809 to 1877


There is an inscription in the square at Audlem which reads “In memory of Richard Baker Bellyse, who practised as a surgeon in this town for 40 years. Born 17th May 1809. Died 11th January 1877. In appreciation of a life spent in relieving the sufferings of his fellow creatures. A man he was to all the country dear. By medicine life may be prolonged, yet death will seize the doctor too.”


Richard Dod (“Dick”) Baker (alias Hassall) (1743 to 7 May 1823) The Surveyor


Richard Baker (1743–1803), continued William Baker’s practice after his father's death in 1771. Richard seems to have practised mainly as a building surveyor, and there are few buildings that he designed.




Richard was born in 1743 in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, later of Stratford upon Avon, Leominster and ‘Highfields’, Audlem. He was christened on 20 July 1743 at St Mary’s Bridgnorth.





Research by Nicholas Kingsley:


When William Baker, his father died, Richard Dod Baker continued in practice until his death, when his elder son, Richard Baker (1743-1803) was assisting him. Richard is, by contrast with his father, a shadowy figure. He was educated at Repton School but did not attend a University and became assistant to his father in his architectural and surveying practice. After he succeeded to the business in 1771, its architectural output more or less ceased: he probably did not inherit his father's creative gifts and he certainly did not share his practical experience of building. He seems to have spent some of his early years in Leominster, and it may be that his wife came from that town, as he is said to have used her maiden surname (Hassall) while living there.


After his mother died in 1783 he moved to Highfields, and he was probably responsible for the modernisation of the house which took place around that time. When he died at the relatively young of sixty in 1803 [this seems to be wrong as he died in 1823 – see below?], he described himself in his will as 'architect' rather than 'gentleman'. He had left marriage and children rather late in life and his heir was a teenage son, William Baker (1787-1863), who was a pupil at Shrewsbury School. He too seems to have used his mother's maiden name from time to time, and when he was married in 1813 he was called William Baker alias Hassall. He is not known to have followed his father and grandfather into architectural practice or surveying, but one of his five sons, Thomas Dod Baker (1830-80) took up the profession again and became Borough Architect of Kidderminster; several of the others became lawyers.


He was educated at Repton, Derbyshire.


On 29 October 1771 he inherited Highfields from his father.


In 1801 the Oxford University Alumni showed he was a gentleman living at Leominster, Herefordshire.


He was also an architect and surveyor and practised as an architect at Stratford upon Avon.





He married Hannah Hassall (1760 to 1826)




Richard Dod Baker 1784 to 1807 (unmarried)

Hannah Mary Baker 1785 to 23 August 1851

William Baker 1787 to 1863

Jane Baker 1790 to 1849

Mary Baker 1791 to ?

James Baker 1792 to 1818




He died on 7 May 1823 at Stratford upon Avon. He is buried at St George’s at Stratford upon Avon.







William Baker (1705 to 1771) The Architect


Baker, William 1705-71 Nick K


William Baker of Audlem (1705–1771) was an architect, surveyor and building contractor, working in Shropshire and the adjacent counties in the middle years of the 18th century.


He was the son of Richard Baker, who had moved from London to Ludlow. In 1737 he married Jane Dod of Audlem and for a time lived at Bridgnorth. In the 1740s his wife inherited Highfields House and they moved to Audlem.


Baker was employed by the noted architect Francis Smith of Warwick in the 1730s. His account book for the years 1748–1759 survives, which provides information about his architectural and surveying practice. The house in which he lived at Highfields was the subject of an article in Country Life, where a portrait of the architect survives.


Baker was well grounded in the fashionable architecture of the early 18th century, having first worked for Francis Smith of Warwick. He is mentioned as working as a carpenter for Smith at Ditchley in Oxfordshire in 1727. He set up his own practice around 1740 and also acted as a building contractor and surveyor. Initially he developed the practice in eastern Shropshire and Staffordshire and continued to work for many of clients of Francis Smith after Smith's death in 1738. Houses by Smith which Baker continued to work on included Mawley Hall in Shropshire, Swynerton Hall in Derbyshire and Wingerworth Hall in Derbyshire. He always had a close relationship with the innovative Shrewsbury architect Thomas Farnolls Pritchard. In 1743 at Ludlow, both Prichard and Baker put forward plans for the Buttercross, but it was Baker who was selected to do the work. In 1746 Baker was paid for the plans and work at the Royal Shrewsbury Infirmary, but the plans are signed by Thomas Farnolls Pritchard. It is likely that Pritchard was working under Baker on this project. Again for the building of St John's Church, Wolverhampton it is likely that Pritchard was the supervising architect working under Baker. In 1775–1775, after Baker's death, Pritchard continued Baker's survey work at Powis Castle.


Most notably Baker gained the patronage of Henry Arthur Herbert (1703–72), who became Earl of Powis in 1748.


Baker would have known Henry Herbert from his Ludlow connections. Herbert was the Whig Member of Parliament and a member of Ludlow Town Council when Baker was awarded the contract to build the Ludlow Buttercross. Also in 1743 Henry Herbert relinquished his position as Member of Parliament when he inherited Powis Castle and became Lord Herbert of Chirbury. In 1735 he had been appointed Custos Rotulorum of Montgomeryshire and Lord-Lieutenant of Shropshire. and this now provided him with a power base to dispense patronage in both Montgomeryshire and Shropshire. Baker's design of the Buttercross (which housed the Ludlow Council Chamber) is based on James Gibbs "A Book of Architecture" (1728). Clearly the Buttercross impressed him.


Between 1748 and 1758 he got Baker to alter his house at Oakly Park at Bromfield, just outside Ludlow. Then, between 1748 and 1754 Baker undertook repairs at Powis Castle, possibly in preparation for Herbert to move into the castle. Also in 1748, Herbert got William Baker to design and build Montgomery Town Hall. The new Town Hall was intended to accommodate the Court of Great Sessions when it met at Montgomery and over which Herbert presided as Custos Rotulorum. At Bishops Castle Baker submitted designs for a new Town Hall to Herbert in 1745, but it was slightly later that the Town Hall was built and to modified designs.




William Baker was born in 1705 at St Brides, London, later of Bridgnorth, Shropshire and then of ‘Highfields’, Audlem, Cheshire. He was christened on 14 October 1705 at St Bride, Fleet Street, London.




After 1714, he had a kiln at Highfields, and solid bricks.


In 1727, he was a joiner, working on the instruction of Ditchley Park in Oxfordshire under the direction of Francis Smith of Warwick, the most successful architect, mason and contractor in the Midlands.





Highfields in about 1900



Highfields is a small country house in the civil parish of Buerton, Cheshire, England. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building.


The house is dated 1615. It was built for the Dod family and additions were made in 1750 by William Baker, and again in 1897. It is timber-framed on an ashlar plinth with rendered infill and a plain tiled roof. The house consists of two storeys with an attic. The front elevation has five bays which are symmetrically disposed with projecting gabled wings on both sides. Both floors have close-studded walling with a middle rail. The first floor is jettied, as are the gables of the two lateral wings.


Research by Nicholas Kingsley:


A fine and symmetrical but much altered timber-framed house, built for William Dod, with cross-wings either side of a central hall block. The date of the house is unclear. In 1553 William Dod I acquired a pasture known as 'Highefelds', on which no house yet stood. His son, William Dod II, is recorded as 'of Highfields' in 1568, and so presumably a house had been built by then. But was it this house? A chimneypiece in the Best Parlour in the south wing is dated 1615 and has the initials of William Dod III (1577-1647), and the whole fabric of the house could be of this date (a bedroom on the first floor has another original overmantel with the initials of his wife). Indeed, I would argue strongly for the later date if it was certain that the symmetry of the front was original, but the central porch and the gable above it seem to be 19th century, and the present arrangement by which the single-storey hall is entered in the centre seems to be 18th century, with some internal evidence that there was at one time a conventional hall and screens passage arrangement. In the absence of any dendro-chronological evidence, however, the date of the original building must remain a matter for speculation.


In the late 17th century, staircases with twisted balusters were inserted into both the cross-wings; that in the south range has balusters consisting of two detached strands twisted together, while that in the north range has clusters of balusters forming newels. There may have been other changes at the same time, including perhaps the addition of the drawing room between the wings on the garden front. Traditionally, this addition is said to have been made by the architect, William Baker, after he married Jane Dod and gained possession of the house, but it seems unlikely he would have built in timber when he was operating a brickworks on the estate, and it is more likely to be a 17th century addition. Baker, or his son and successor at Highfields, Richard Dod Baker (1743-1803) was, however, probably responsible for making a central doorway on the entrance front, and for the dado-height panelling in the hall. Richard was presumably responsible for inserting the sash windows with thin glazing bars and two tripartite windows recorded the earliest photograph of the house c.1860. The same view also shows that the house was then stuccoed and this too is likely to have been Richard's work.


After John Bellyse Baker sold the house in 1884 to Charles Walford Kellock, it was given a rather heavy-handed restoration. He stripped off the stucco to reveal the timber-frame beneath, replaced the Georgian sashes with leaded casements, added a new front porch, a timber-framed service wing on the north side, and tall chimneys of bright red Ruabon brick, which gave the house a more picturesque and irregular silhouette. In the north range an inglenook fireplace was created, with a late 19th century Gothic chimneypiece, and several other timber overmantels were brought in from elsewhere or fabricated from old carved work that may originally have adorned an overmantel or a bed or a cupboard. One such piece, labelled 'John Gwyn 1674', was installed in the drawing room, and there is another in the hall. Also apparently of the 1880s is the large half-timbered single-storey lodge on Woodhouse Lane. In the 1940s, the Bellyse Baker family bought the house back and were happily able to return many of the family pictures and other contents which had been removed from it in 1884.




Married 1


On 5 July 1729 William married Elizabeth Eykyn (1708 to 1736) at St Mary, Blymill, Staffordshire.




Mary Baker, 1730 to 1730

William Baker, 1731 to 1736


Married 2


On 17 January 1736 or 1737 he married Jane Dod at St Mary’s, Bridgnorth, Shropshire




Judith Baker 1738 to 1738

Charity Baker 1739 to 1817

Mary Baker 1741 to 1809

Richard Dod Baker 1743 to 1823

William Baker 1744 to 25 November 1784. William Baker of Fenton, Culvert, Staffordshire. He was Lord of the Manor, a partner with Baker & Bagnall of Fenton, potters from 1769.In 1767, he married Sarah, daughter of Thomas Bagnall of Fenton, Lord of the Manor of Skelton, Staffordshire. Their children were William (Lord of the Manor) 1771 to 1833 who married Mary Bourne in 1794 and Richard, Jeremiah, Charity, Mary and Jane.




Research by Nicholas Kingsley:


After his baptism, he first appears in the historical record as a joiner working on the construction of Ditchley Park in Oxfordshire in 1727 under the direction of Francis Smith of Warwick, the most successful architect, mason and contractor in the Midlands. Although Smith put together teams of workmen for each new project he worked on rather than employing the same men continuously, he used consistently used a small pool of trusted specialist craftsmen - masons, bricklayers, joiners, carpenters, plasterers, painters, plumbers, ironworkers and so on. In the late 1720s and 1730s William Baker was one of this team, and is recorded working on half a dozen of Smith's commissions, including some of his most prestigious jobs, such as Ditchley Hall, Mawley Hall and Wingerworth Hall. By the later 1730s he was not only a craftsmen but also working as a site foreman, co-ordinating the work of the different building trades. His circumstances altered greatly with his second marriage, early in 1737, to Jane Dod, the heiress of a cadet branch of the Cheshire gentry family of that name. They made their home in the prosperous little town of Bridgnorth (Shropshire), where their four children (although as not below, William may not have been their biological father) were all born, and it was probably soon afterwards that William began to work on his own account, and to design buildings as well as constructing them. The death of Francis Smith in 1738 may also have been a factor in his change of role, although Smith's firm continued under his son. A full list of his known works in architecture can be found in Sir Howard Colvin's Biographical Dictionary.


In 1744, Jane Baker inherited her family seat of Highfields at Audlem (Cheshire), and by 1748 she and William had relocated there. William continued to work as an architect, surveyor and occasional contractor, but he combined this with the role of a gentleman farmer, as his surviving payments book for 1746-59 makes clear. He also operated a small brickworks on the Highfields estate. In 1767 he bought the manor of Fenton Culvert in Stoke-on-Trent for his younger son, and established a pottery there which was run in partnership between the two men until William's death. We know less about his architectural output after 1759.



On 20 August 1741, he was an architect.


Between 1743 and 1744, he built the Market Cross at Buttermarket at Ludlow, Shropshire.






In about 1744, he settled at Highfields, Audlem.

In 1745, he designed and had built the two coaching inns (the Crown and the Phoenix) in the Square at Audlem.

In 1748 he worked at Morville Hall, near Bridgnorth

In 1749 he was High Constable

In 1767 he purchased the estate and manor of Fenton Culvert in Staffordshire. He also purchased pottery works for his younger son, William.


List of architectural works


Public building and monuments


·         Royal Shropshire Infirmary. 1747

·         Bishops Castle, Shropshire. Town Hall 1745–1750

·         Ludlow, Shropshire, The Butter Cross 1743–1744. The design is derived from James Gibb's 'Book of Architecture', 1728. Faced with Grinshill stone with a low pedimented portico and a semi-circular or lunette window above. The parapet has heavy balustrading, capped with ball pinnacles.

·         Shrewsbury. Royal Shropshire Infirmary 1747. The plans are signed by Thomas Farnolls Pritchard, but Baker was commissioned and paid for the work.

·         Montgomery, The Town Hall 1748–1751,

·         Hereford, College of the Vicars Choral.1750. Repairs and alterations




·         The Church of St. John in the Square, Wolverhampton. Baker was the main contractor1756-9.

·         St Peter's Church, Congleton, Cheshire. A church here since the 15th century (The Higher Chapel). The present church was built by William Baker in 1740–1742 for £2,000.

·         Stone, Staffordshire, Gothic revival 1754–1758 designed by William Robinson, Clerk to the Board of Works, who produced the first designs for Strawberry Hill for Horace Walpole

·         St John's Church, Wolverhampton, 1756–1759. A very grand ashlar faced church which is based on James Gibbs' St Martin-in-the-Fields, London. Built as a chapel of St Peter's Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton by a private Act of Parliament in 1755. There is some uncertainty as to whom the architect was, but there is no doubt that the main contractor was William Baker, who was helped by the local builder and architect, Roger Eykyn. Traditionally the design of the church has been credited to the Shrewsbury architect Thomas Farnolls Pritchard, but it could be that he supervised the construction for Baker.

·         Seighford, Staffordshire. Tower and Nave rebuilt. Metal framed gothic windows. Brick pilasters with ?mock artillery slits, which also appear on the crenellations of the tower; which is surmounted by four corner pinnacles. Looks like a very early attempt to re-create German Brick Gothic

·         Acton church (west view), Cheshire. Rebuilt by Baker 1758

·         Ellenhall, Staffordshire 1757. £1023 estimated for the repair of the Church.

·         St Mary's Church, Acton, near Nantwich, Cheshire. Upper part of the tower was blown into Nave, March 1757. Sandstone. The church must have been extensively re-built and the Medieval entrance has been altered and embellished. Remarkable ornamented west gable to Chancel. Ornamentation to tower below parapet, which has ‘gun slits’ in the crenulations (cf Seigford). Four crocketed corner pinnacles with lower mid-ball pinnacles on tower. Sundial surmounted with Baker's typical ball pinnacle.

·         St Chad's Church, Wybunbury, Cheshire. Tower leaning as the result of subsidence. Baker appears to have solved the problem, but the Nave and Chancel had to be demolished in 1970.

·         Plans for a Kirk in Gothic style at Kenmore Perthshire 1760.

·         Upper Penn church, nr Wolverhampton.1765. Baker cased the tower in brickwork. Crenulations to the parapet of tower with four crocketed corner pinnacles. Ornamented gothic tower window.





Most of these are recorded architectural drawings and surveys, and it is not clear to what extent Baker's work was carried out.


·         Ludlow 52 Broad Street

·         Wolverhampton Penn Hall

·         North Claines, Worcestershire. Bevere House 1748–1749

·         Morville Hall, Shropshire. Addition of two wings.

·         Liverpool. Houses in Hanover Street.1748. Demolished.

·         Mawley Hall, Shropshire. Possible work to stables 1748.

·         Ranton Abbey Staffordshire. Surveyed 1748–1742. Gutted c1940.

·         Powis Castle Montgomeryshire Unspecified work 1748–1754

·         Oakly Park, Bromfield. Alterations 1748–1758

·         Wingerworth Hall. Work undertaken by Baker in 1753–1754.

·         Enville Staffordshire,"Lady Dorothy's Cottage" For the Earl of Stamford 1748-50

·         Morville, Aldenham House, Shropshire. Stable Block 1750–1751

·         Tixall Hall Staffordshire. 1750–1751. Demolished c. 1925.

·         Darlaston Hall, Staffordshire. Plans for a house. Demolished 1953.

·         Acton Burnell Hall, Shropshire 1753–1758

·         Wood Eaton, Staffordshire The Hall Farmhouse. 1753–1756.

·         Wingerworth Hall, Derbyshire. Work undertaken 1753–1754. Demolished c.1930.

·         Stoke on Tern, Shropshire, Woodhouse Farm, 1754–1758. An example of Baker's smaller brick houses, with central chimney stack. Each face of the house has a forward central bay, with doorway with a castellated or crenelated, pediment or parapet.<ref`>Mercer E "English Architecture to 1900: The Shropshire Experience" Logaston Press, 2003.201</ref>

·         Swynnerton Hall, Staffordshire. Outbuildings. 1754.

·         Patshull House, Staffordshire. 1754–1758. Baker completed the work of James Gibbs, who died in 1754. This included the flanking pavilions, and forecourt, with gateway and stables.

·         Hankelow Hall, Cheshire Alterations. 1755–1757.

·         Egginton Hall, Derbyshire. Alterations. 1755–1757.

·         Terrick Hall, Whitchurch. Plan 1756.

·         Whitmore Hall, Staffordshire. Survey 1765.

·         Astbury Rectory, Astbury, Cheshire Possibly refronted by Baker 1757-9.

·         Brand Hall, Norton in Hales, Shropshire 1756. Minor Alterations.

·         Hanmer Hall, Wrexham. Additional building. 1756.

·         Astbury Rectory, Cheshire. Alterations 1757–1759. Typical ball pinnacles on parapet.

·         Keele Hall, Staffordshire. Alterations 1757–1759.

·         Dorfold Hall, Cheshire. Alterations 1757–1759.

·         Woodhouse or Wodehouse nr Wombourne, Staffordshire. Stable block. 1758–1759.

·         Sidway Hall near Maer, Staffordshire. Altered or rebuilt 1758–1759.

·         Teddesley Hall, Penkridge, Staffordshire. Possible wings, c1759, demolished 1954.


Houses attributed on stylistic grounds.


·         Burnhill Green Farm Patshull

·         Woore The Swan Hotel

·         Sibdon Carwood, Shropshire. Sibdon Castle


From an old booklet on Audlem:


There is a unique link between the Phoenix and the Crown at Audlem, for they were the architecture of William Baker in 1745 and were identically alike in exterior and interior design. William Baker, who did a great deal of important architectural work in Shropshire, Staffordshire and adjacent counties in the mid 18th century, was the son of Richard Baker of London and Leominster. He was born in 1705 and died in 1771.


For more than half his life William Baker lived at Highfields, a small estate near Audlem, inherited by his wife, Jane Dod whom he married in 1736. She was the only surviving daughter and heiress of George Dod of Highfields, a Jacobean manor house built in 1615 on the site of an earlier structure of the same name. It still contains much original panelling, a staircase with ‘double twist’ banisters and several carved oak fireplaces. One of the latter, in the ‘best parlour’, is said by some to be the finest of its period in the country.


A Highfields William Baker combined the profession and surveyor with that of farer and small landowner. He also had a small kiln on the estate in which he made bricks used during the course of his professional work. He was often in the saddle, riding from one job to another, for his practice took him all over the North West Midlands and occasionally into Wales.


Perhaps Baker’s most important work was the Town Hall in Montgomery, the contract for which was doubtless gained through his friendship and business contacts with the Earl of Powis. Audlem is fortunate to have two of is buildings in the Square.


The Crown was known as the Bakers Tenement from 1745 to 1808.



There is a record of an exchange between John Capper and Joby Buckley at the Crown:


A shoot was held at Highfields, and Mr Baker asked Joby if he would take a brace of hares to Mr Cartlich at Woore. On arrival he knocked on the door which was opened by Mr Cartlich.


“Mr Baker’s sent thee these ‘ere ‘ares” Joby said.


“That’s not the way you bring a present from ne gentleman to another”, was the reply, “you setp aside and I’ll show you how it should be dne.”


Mr Cartlich kocked and Joby thereupon opeed the door.


“With Mr Baker’s compliments and will Mr Cartlich kindly accept these hares.”


Joby, quick thinking and not to be outdone, “Oh yes, come inside and sit yersel down, ‘ave something to eat and drink, and ‘eres two ‘alf crowns for thee”.








William died at Highfields on 29 October 1771. He was buried on 1 November 1771 at St James the Great, Audlem.















































Richard Baker (24 May 1676 to 24 May 1749) The Surgeon


Baker, Richard 1676-1749 Nick K





Richard Baker was born on 24 May 1676 at Stepney, later of St Brides, London and then Leominster, Herefordshire. He was christened on 28 May 1676 at St Dunstan, Stepney.




On 9 October 1698 he married Mary Smith (? To 1719) at St Bride, Fleet Street, London.




Mary Baker, 1699 to 1790

Elizabeth Baker 1701 to ?

Richard Baker, 1702 to 1750

William Baker, 1705 to 1771

James Baker 1708 to 1744

Anne Baker 1710 to ?

Susanna Baker 1714 to ?

Henry Baker




Research by Nicholas Kingsley:


Richard Baker (1676-1749), was a surgeon who moved from London to Leominster in Herefordshire. Burke's Landed Gentry says that his father was John Baker, the younger son of Sampson Baker of Norwich and London, merchant, who was 'believed to be a younger son of Sir Richard Baker MP of Middle Aston, Oxon and St Bride's, London, the historian... who died in Fleet debtors' prison 18 February 1644/5'. As far as the connection with Sir Richard Baker (and thus with the Bakers of Sissinghurst) is concerned, this seems to be a specious fantasy (Sir Richard did not marry until c.1621, and his children are all accounted for), and it is far from clear how much reliance should be put on the rest.


[Note – this seems right that Sir Richard Baker MP was not in this direct family line – see below.]


Richard Baker was baptised at Stepney (Middx) in 1676, his parents were John and Margaret, as Burke's suggests. But no marriage of a John Baker and Margaret Leighton is to be found, and nor is a baptism for a John, son of Sampson Baker. It may, however, be relevant to note that Burke's gives John a brother, Sampson Baker, gent., of Market Bosworth (Leics) and Rugby (Warks), born about 1643, and it is possible to find baptisms for both 'Samson', son of William & Susanna Baker in 1637 and his brother John in 1642 in the parish registers of Market Bosworth. William Baker of Market Bosworth was born in 1608 and was in turn the son of Sampson Baker of Market Bosworth and his wife Millicent Gooddale, who were married in 1605. It seems very possible that they are the true antecedents of this family.


Very little is known about Richard Baker (1675-1749) of Leominster, surgeon. He married at St Bride, Fleet St., London, in 1698, and his older children were born there. He appears to have moved to Leominster between 1705 and 1708 and he was still described as 'of Leominster' when his will was proved in 1750. His eldest surviving son and executor was William Baker (1705-71), about whom much more is known.




On 6 August 1699, he was a gilder and lived at King’s Road Court, London.


On 20 March 1700 or 1701 he was a gilder and lived at Maiden Road, King’s Road Court House, London.


On 20 February 1702 or 1703 he was a button maker in Dorset.


On 14 September 1705 he was a surgeon at Wheatsheaf, ?


On 26 December 1705 he lived at Leominster, Herefordshire.


On 21 September 1736, he was a churchwarden at St James the Great, Audlem, Cheshire.





Richard Baker died on 24 May 1749


Probate, 7 August 1750.







John Baker (1643 to 1685)




John Baker was born after 1643.




He married Margaret Claiton in 1670.




Richard Baker 1676 to 1749




On 28 May 1676, he was a wine cooper at Ratcliff, London.


He was the youngest son, and a merchant in London.




He died in 1685 and was buried on or about 26 October 1685 at St Bride’s, London.





Sampson Baker (1614 to 1668)




Sampson Baker was born at Market Bosworth, Leicestershire. He was baptised on 16 October 1614 there.


Married 1


He married unknown before 1643.




John Baker 1643 to 1685

Sampson Baker 1643 to ?


Married 2


He married Abigail (? To 1668)




Sampson Baker 1653 to 1659

Elizabeth Baker 1655 to 1656

William Baker 1661 to 1665

William Baker 1666 to ?




He was a merchant of Norwich and London.


On 16 October 1659, he was a surgeon living at Ratcliff, London.


On 20 April 1666 he was a surgeon, living at White Horse Street, London.




He died after 1668 at Stepney, London.






Sampson Baker (1581 to 1647)




Sampson was born in Coventry in 1581, later of Market Bosworth, Leicestershire. He was christened at Holy Trinity, Coventry on 29 November 1581.


Married 1


He married Millicent Gooddale (? to 1634) in 1604 or 1605 in Leicestershire.





George Baker 1606 to 1606

William Baker 1608 to 1671

Dorothy Baker 1610 to ?

Thomas Baker 1611 to ?

Sampson Baker 1614 to 1668

Elizabeth Baker 1617 to 1638

George Baker 1619 to 1619

Walter Baker 1620 to 1645

John Baker 1622 to ?

Nicholas Baker 1624 to 1645

Millicent Baker 1628 to 1645




In 1638, he was a Woolman of Baxterley, Warwickshire.


Married 2


On 9 October 1641 he married Esther Martin at St Michael, Lichfield, Staffordshire.




Sampson died before October 1647, of Baxterley, Warwickshire.


Probate 14 October 1647, London. Proved by his sons William and Thomas Baker.





William Baker (? to 1615) of Coventry




William was born on an unknown date in Coventry.


Married 1


On an unknown date he married Margery ? (? to 1588)




Child Baker 1577 to 1577

Ane Baker 1579 to ?

Sampson Baker 1581 to 1647

Susanna Baker 1583 to ?


Married 2


On 29 September 1588 he married Isabel Bond (? to 1613) at All Saints, Allesley, Warwickshire.




Joan Baker 1592 to ?

William Baker 1594 to ?




Before 1615 he was a mercer.




William died at Coventry in 1615 and was buried on 11 November 1615 at Holy Trinity, Coventry.