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Sonning Church
Monumental Brass to Sir Anthony Barker

Chancel Floor: Heraldic Brass

This large brass plaque was erected in 1649 by William Barker to the memory his immediate family who had died in the previous twenty years. His father, Sir Anthony, was the second son of Wiliam Barker of Sonning who died in 1575 and is commemorated nearby. He married Jane, daughter of Edward Eldrington of Beech Hall in Essex, and they had a number of children, as recorded here. William, who instigated the memento mori, was his eldest son. He became J.P. and Sheriff of Berkshire and married Mary, daughter and coheir of William Bridon of Ipswich as his first wife. They had a large family, many of whom died young, before William married, secondly, Frances, by whom he had a son and heir, also William. William Senior died in 1675 and William Junior, or small-pox, nineteen years later. They are commemorated on a marble mural monument now hidden by the organ. William's heirs were his half-sisters: Anne, who married Sir Pope Danvers, Bt. of Culworth in Northamptonshire, and Frances, who married Richard House of Whitley in Berkshire.

The brass consists of a quadrangular inscriptive plate, 36 inches by 23 inches, with an achievement at the top on a plate, 13 inches by 11 inches, and another at the bottom, 9 inches by 8 inches, both with the arms of Barker, the top one with mantling and a crest. The inscription is of particular interest to the genealogist as it records both the names and ages of dead, and those who survived them. It reads:

"MS To this Vault are committed the Bodies of Sir Anthony Barker, knight, who deceased February 16th 1630 Anno Aetatis 72 and had issue here deposited:
Theophilus deceased May 2nd 1618 Anno Aetatis 18
Henry deceased October 4th 1633 Anno Aetatis 37
Anne deceased August 22nd 1634 Anno Aetatis 25
In Rest Elsewhere:
Lawrence, Dorothy, Frances, Jane
Now living:
William, Nathanael, Anthony, Lettice
All by Lady Jane, his first wife, who departed February 16th 1609, his second wife, Anne, surviving.
William Barker Esquire had issue by Mary, his wife, daughter and co-heir of Mr. William Bridon of Ipswich, here entrusted:
William departed April 24th 1634 Anno Aetatis 3
Henry departed March 28th 1635 Anno Aetatis 2
William departed March 21st 1645 Anno Aetatis 5
Anthony departed September 16th 1647 Anno Aetatis 12
Mary departed June 17th 1649 Anno Aetatis 12
Yet survive:
John, Robert, Frances, Anne, Elizabeth
July 22nd 1649"

The arms 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)
Crest: A demi-moor proper, in dexter hand an arrow or, feathered and headed argent, on sinister arm a shield or.
 
2
. 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). In pretence, argent, three hawks' heads razed sable, a bordure engrailed azure bezanty (Bridon).
 

    Nash Ford Publishing 2001. All Rights Reserved.