Sir Robert Barker, 1st Baronet

Brigadier-General Sir Robert Barker, 1st Baronet, FRS (1732 – 14 September 1789) was a British Army officer who served in the Seven Years' War and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1774 to 1780. He served as Commander-in-Chief, India between 1770 and 1773.

Sir Robert Barker, Bt
Died14 September 1789
Allegiance Kingdom of Great Britain
Service/branchBritish Army
Commands heldBritish Indian Army
Battles/warsSeven Years' War

Military career

Barker was the eldest son of Robert Barker M.D., of Hammersmith, and his wife Hannah Whitehead.[1] He went to India in 1749 and in 1757, during the Seven Years' War, commanded the artillery at the Capture of Chandannagar and at the Battle of Plassey.[2] In 1762 he went on an expedition to Manila in the Philippines.[2] He was knighted on 16 January 1764.[2][3]

Two years later he returned to India to protect the Nawab wazir of Oudh Shuja-ud-Daula.[2] In 1769 he became Commander-in-Chief, India[4] he became likewise provincial commander-in-chief in Bengal to the great disgust of Sir Richard Fletcher.[5]

However he exceeded his authority by committing the East India Company to guaranteeing a treaty and by confronting a possible Maratha Empire invasion.[2] He resigned in 1773: Colonel Champion, who succeeded him, had to conduct the first Rohilla war.[5]

Barker returned to England becoming Member of Parliament for Wallingford in 1774.[2] He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1775.[6] In 1781 he was created a baronet, of Bushbridge in the County of Surrey.[7] Barker's ability as an officer won him the friendship and esteem of Clive.[5]


In 1780 he married Anne Hallows: they had no children. They lived at Bushbridge near Godalming in Surrey.[2]


Besides the Thermometrical Observations published by the Royal Society, Barker also contributed Observations on a Voyage from Madras to England, 1774, and The Process of Making Ice in the East Indies to volume lxv., and an Account of an Observatory of the Brahmins at Benares to volume lxvii. of the Philosophical Transactions. [5]



  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Stephens, Henry Morse (1885). "Barker, Robert (1729?-1789)". In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 3. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 208–209. ; Endnotes:
    • There is a very short, incomplete notice of Sir Robert Barker in Major Stubbs's History of the Royal Bengal Artillery, 2 volulemes, 1877
    • consult also Malcolm's Life of Clive, Gleig's Life of Warren Hastings, and Mill's History of India
    • for his services at Manilla see Draper's despatch in the Gentlemen's Magazine for 1763, and for Kettle's paintings at his seat the Gentlemen's Magazine for 1786.
Military offices
Preceded by
Richard Smith
Commander-in-Chief, India
Succeeded by
Charles Chapman
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Sir John Aubrey, Bt
John Cator
Member of Parliament for Wallingford
With: John Cator
Succeeded by
Sir John Aubrey, Bt
Chaloner Arcedeckne
Baronetage of Great Britain
New creation Baronet
(of Bushbridge)
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