Barton, Bernard


b Middlesex 1784, d Woodbridge, Suffolk 1849. (His birthplace has sometimes been given as Carlisle, but that seems to be a mistake.) In any event the family, members of the Society of Friends, moved to Suffolk while he was a boy, and he attended the Quaker school at Ipswich. He worked as an apprentice shop assistant at Halstead (Essex), a coal and corn merchant in Woodbridge, and a private tutor before embarking on a long banking career at Woodbridge in 1810. His 8 poetry collections appeared from 1812 onwards, until Household Verses in his last year; Lamb, Byron, Southey and Scott were among his friends, and Edward Fitzgerald (whose letters to BB were later published) became his son-inlaw. A man famed for his meticulous punctuality, kindly nature and lively conversation, he was awarded a state pension of £100 a year in 1841 on the recommendation of Sir Robert Peel. In 1850 his daughter edited his Memoirs, Letters and Poems. Unitarians have warmed to Barton’s hymns, and N American Quakers have traditionally sung more than their British counterparts, who only after his death began to publish and sing hymns and then usually outside their Sunday meetings. Evangelical editors have also valued his best work. Nos.550, 821.

Hymns and songs by Barton, Bernard

Number Hymn Name
550 Lamp of our feet, by which we trace
821 Walk in the light, and you shall know