The entry in the baptism register for Eliza's christening in 1815 notes that her father was "Surgeon and Apothecary", and
living in the High Street. It was his eldest son, Richard Hemstead Barker, who was eventually to study medicine and join him in partnership in Hungerford. The Post Office Directory of 1847 has an
entry "Richard Barker and Son, - Surgeon, High Street". The Commoners List of the same year shows he was living at 104 High Street, although we know that he lived in College House, 130 High
Street during the later years.
He died in c.1855 at the age of ?70 years, and his grave is in St. Lawrence's church.
RICHARD HEMSTEAD BARKER: (1809-c.1875) Richard Hemstead Barker was born on 11th December 1809. He qualified both with the M.R.C.S. and with L.S.A., and soon joined his father in practice. The 1841 census return shows that the 31 year old Richard Hemstead was a surgeon, and was living at College House, 130 High Street. There are, of course, no common rights attached to this properly.
In the mid 1830's he married Elizabeth Ann, and they had eight children: Anne Frances (1838); Susannah Elizabeth (1839); William
Lavington (1842); Elizabeth Alice (1844); Edith Augusta (1845); Richard Henry (1847); Edward (1849, died soon after birth); and Charles Hemstead (1857 - when his mother was aged 45 years!).
Richard Hemstead Barker and his family lived at Kennet House, 19 High Street. This property has Common Rights, and he was soon elected
to the office of Constable of Hungerford, which he held for the two years 1851-52. Kennet House was going to be a doctor's house for the next 70 years or so. He owned other property in the town,
including 26 High Street.
In 1864, the Billings Directory mentions that he was surgeon to the Union Workhouse, although it is not yet clear just when he took on
He was also Surgeon to the Hungerford Troop of First Berkshire Regiment of Yeomanry (later to be called "Royal Berkshire Yeomanry
Cavalry"). (See Berkshire Yeomanry)
He died in his mid 60's, sometime between 1871 (when his name appears in the census), and 1881 (when his widow only appears),
leaving his widow Elizabeth (who was two years younger than him) and their son, the third Richard, who succeeded him in the practice.
RICHARD HENRY BARKER: (1847-c.1923) Richard Henry Barker
was the third in the family line of Barkers who were doctors in Hungerford. He was born in 1847, and was brought up in Kennet House.
He qualified in medicine at St. Andrews University where he achieved the MD, and MRCS Eng.
Richard Henry Barker never married, and was looked after by a housekeeper with the delightful name of Miss Locket. (Incidentally, Miss
Locket moved to Kennet View after Dr. Barker's death, with Miss Edith Wells. The bungalow that used to stand adjacent to the Police Station in Park Street was built in the garden of Kennet View for
Miss Wells after Miss Locket's death).
His garden, extending west alongside the railway was superb. There was a high brick wall running along Church Street, but there was an
excellent view of it to be obtained from the railway, and it was said that many local people chose to sit on the south side of the carriage when travelling west from Hungerford so that they could
view Dr. Barker's garden!
In the garden was a large stable in which was kept his "dog- cart". His driver Mr. New lived in a cottage over the stable. He
had a particular interest in obstetrics, and often was called upon to visit for midwifery a long way from the town. Mention has been made that he sometimes used to stay as far away as Fosbury until
the babe was safely delivered.
The magnificent property of Kennet House not only entitled him to Common Rights of the Town & Manor, but it also attracted Common
Rights in Sanden Fee in respect of a tenement in Church Street which had previously been removed. His sister owned 'The Orchard", on the marsh.
Clearly he was a keen fisherman - in E.L. Davis book 'The story of a Fishery" there are several mentions of Dr. Barker's
name in connection with various disputes.
This then is the situation at the end of the 19th century, with Dr Harry Pike Major and his family in 107 High Street, and Dr. Henry
Barker running his practice from Kennet House, a little further down the High Street, on the opposite side.
Medicine in Hungerford:
- The Early Days
- The Start of Organised Medicine
>The 19th Century and Medical Nepotism
- The Early 1900s
- District Nursing
- The First World War
- Between the Wars
- The Second World War
- The Coming of the N.H.S.
- The 1950s
- The Healthcare Team
- For more on the Major family (and many connections with other Hungerford families, see www.historyandnews.co.uk
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