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The Baker Family

In this appendix we have tried to shed a little light on the Bakers who occupied Bakersgate for several hundred years.  The information is patchy, and so we have had to make some assumptions in order to paint a coherent picture.

The early records do not give us a huge amount of information, but we can make 2 general observations:  (1) In marked contrast to the early Bakers, the later Bakers did not go in for large numbers of children, and (2) They had a predilection for calling their eldest sons John.

Early documents tell us that the Baker family farmed in both Pirbright and Worplesdon in the 1500’s.  The paper trail begins with a gentleman born in 1568 who we will call “John Baker 0, although he was probably several (perhaps 7 or 8?) generations down from the Bakers who founded Bakersgate originally.

John Baker 0 (1568-1626)


  • He was likely the son mentioned in the 1586 will of an earlier John Baker of Pirbright.  This earlier John Baker was mentioned in the Surrey Musters of 1572 and 1583 as a “Bill man of ye best sorte”.  If you want to know what this means, the Surrey Musters was a list of freemen who were required to join a local militia when the occasion demanded.  A bill man was a soldier who wielded a bill (see photo below) – a nasty-looking weapon about 5 feet long.

  • 1591:  John married Catherine Ockley in 1591 and had 12 children.  •    

  • 1617:  John was a churchwarden at St Michael’s.

  • 1626:  In his will, John’s eldest son, John Baker ,I was left Bakersgate.

  • 2 of the other children (Richard and Henry) were left farms in Worplesdon, which they continued to farm, as described in the Worplesdon Bakers section below.

  • Another son, Lawrence, was born in 1611 and emigrated to Jamestown, Virginia in 1635.  He would have been one of the earliest settlers in the American Colony (the Mayflower had only arrived there in 1620).  It is a mystery why the son of a wealthy landowner in England would take such a bold step as this.  When he was 21, in 1632, he was left £200 in his father’s will, so probably used this to fund the move.  Was it to escape the family environment?  Was it (like many others) to pursue more religious freedom in a foreign place?  Or was he escaping from something unsavoury?  Who knows?  Anyway, once in America, Lawrence settled in James City County (later renamed Surry (sic) County), Virginia, which is about 150 miles south of Washington DC.  Lawrence started his own edition of the Baker dynasty there, and it still thrives – one of its members (a Robert Baker) visited Pirbright in 2015 to investigate his roots further, having written a book the previous year incorporating his knowledge of the early Pirbright Bakers in it.  

In John Baker 0’s will of 1626, the Pirbright and Worplesdon parts of the estate were bequeathed to different branches of the family, and this is the way they stayed for the next 200 years.  Accordingly we have dealt with the Pirbright and Worplesdon parts of the family in different sections below.

1  The Pirbright Bakers

John Baker I (1597-?)


  • 1597:  John was born, the 4th child (and eldest son) of John Baker 0 above.  By way of context, the Spanish Armada had been defeated 9 years earlier, and England’s first Elizabethan era was drawing to a close.

  • 1630:  John’s wife (name unknown) gave birth to a son, John (John Baker II below).

  • 1661:  John, an apparently staunch royalist gave a ‘Free & Voluntary Present to his Majesty’ of fifty shillings (worth £360 today).  [In fact this “free and voluntary present” to King Charles II was a tax enacted by Parliament to support the new king.]

  • 1664:  Hearth Tax records show that John Baker senior was living in one of the largest houses in Pirbright (with 8 fireplaces).  This was probably Bakersgate. 

  • 1667:  King Charles II had run out of money again, and collections for “ye royall fund” were made.  In Pirbright, John Baker contributed £1.8.1d, the largest payment out of a total of £16.15.9d.  One wonders if he was hoping for some sort of reward for this generosity.

John Baker II (1630-1684)


  • 1661:  Married Dorothy Risbridger at Pirbright.  Dorothy was born in Shere in 1639, the daughter of William Risbridger.  The Risbridgers of Shere can be traced back to the 1400’s, so perhaps this marriage was arranged between two wealthy and well-established local families.  [At the time, Dorothy was a rare name for a child.  It originates for the Greek for “God’s gift”, which sounds as though there may have been a story lurking behind Dorothy’s birth.  However, Dorothy’s father William had an aunt named Dorothy, who died aged only 8, so that is a more likely, if mundane, origin of her name.]

  • c1662:  Son James born (died 1671).

  • 1664:  Hearth Tax records show that John Baker II was living in a large house (5 fireplaces) in Pirbright, but not the same house as his father.  We are not sure where this was.

  • 1666:  Son John (John Baker III) born.  

  • 1671:  James and Ann, children of John Baker II, died (we couldn’t find a record of Ann’s birth).

  • 1684:  John II died.  We couldn’t trace what happened to Dorothy.

John Baker III (1666-1705)


  • 1689:  Was a churchwarden at St Michael’s (he signed off on a collection for Irish Protestants).

  • 1694:  Married Mary Baker of Worplesdon at Merrow.  In case you are wondering whether Mary was a relative of John, the answer is “yes” – a third cousin (or thereabouts).  She was the daughter of Henry Baker, one of the Worplesdon Bakers.  Her lineage is described in the Worplesdon Bakers section below.

  • 1696:  Son John born (John Baker IV below).  A daughter, Mary, may have been born around this time, although we cannot find her baptism record.

  • 1696-1701:  Was a Pirbright Juryman

  • 1705:  John Baker III died.  In his will he left his estate to his brother-in-law (John Baker) and his father-in-law (Henry Baker) of Worplesdon.  It seems strange that he does not mention his wife Mary or his son John.  However, he would have known that the will of his father-in-law (Henry Baker), made in 1702, left £200 to Mary & £100 to grandson John at 21.  In essence therefore he was using his father-in-law as a trustee for his wife and son.

  • 1722:  17 years after John’s death, Mary remarried, to George Martin.  They married in Bisley, but were both “of Pirbright”.  It would have been unusual at that time that neither of the couple was resident in the parish where the marriage took place.  We do not know the reason for this.  George (a churchwarden in the 1760’s) and Mary proceeded to live at Bakersgate.  George “at Beakers Geate” died in 1768.  We can’t trace what happened to Mary.  

John Baker IV (1696-1771)


  • 1713:  Married “Jana” (Ann) Smith.  Jana was born in Pirbright in 1691, the daughter of George Smith.

  • 1721-33:  Children born:  Mary (1721), Ann (1723), John (1724, who became John V below), Henry (1726, died pre-1771), Sarah (1729), James (1730) and Richard (1733, died 1739).

  • 1750’s:  John was recorded as Way Warden &/or Overseer of the poor in the Vestry Minutes.

  • 1755:  He was described as a cousin of John Faggetter, wheelwright of Pirbright who had died in 1755.  His wife Ann was described as a kinswoman of John Faggetter.  We haven’t been able to trace the Faggetter connection yet, although in the 1712 will of John Russell, a tailor of Pirbright, Ann Faggetter of Baker’s Gate, is mentioned.  Ann was John Russell’s daughter.

  • 1771:  John Baker “ye Elder of Bakers Geet” died.  

  • 1776:  Anne (John’s wife) died, probably in her 80’s.  The Parish burial register describes her as “Ann Beaker of Beakers Geate”.


John Baker IV was married at the tender age of 17, but he and Anne waited 8 years before producing children.  However, once the first arrived, 6 more children quickly followed at regular intervals.  Of these 7 children, 3 pre-deceased John IV and so only 4 are mentioned in John’s will:  Ann, Sarah (married John Lee of East Clandon in 1753), Mary (who is so interesting that we have devoted a paragraph to her below) and James.

Ann, who had been born Ann Baker, remained single and took the name Ann Martin when her mother Mary remarried George Martin in 1722.

Mary is of particular interest:  In 1739 she married Richard Honer, who was the elder brother of James Honer (born 1721), whose son James started the Honer dynasty which ran Heath Mill from 1802-1869.  Having an aunt who lived at Bakersgate could explain why James Honer bought Heath Mill in the first place.  

Richard Honer died in 1745 (having fathered 4 children with Mary by then).  Mary then remarried a man called Henry Ledger in 1747, but John Baker IV disapproved of him so strongly that his will demanded that bequests for Mary were to be kept “separate and apart from her said husband who I shall not have any thing to do with”.   We have shown a picture of this section of the will below (for amusement value).

John IV’s will contained several helpful provisions (helpful in the sense that they enabled us to trace the family with greater accuracy, but also, of course, helpful to the beneficiaries).  We have set out some of these provisions below.


  • John Baker IV was obviously a wealthy man.  His will contains several bequests of money and property.

  • To his son James he left Russells Place in Worplesdon (occupied by John Passenger).  This had been settled on John Baker IV by his mother, Mary Martin (who acquired it from the death of John Baker IV’s cousin, Henry Baker of Littlefield).  In case you were wondering why John’s mother had the surname Martin and nor Baker, we mentioned earlier that John Baker IV’s mother remarried in 1722 after her husband’s death and therefore changed her name from Mary Baker to Mary Martin. 

  • £10pa to be paid to his wife Ann.

  • He left to his son-in-law John Lee all property in Worplesdon occupied by James Atfield.  The property should be sold and £150 paid to John Baker IV’s daughters Sarah Lee and Ann Martin (he notes that he has already provided for his 3rd daughter Mary, wife of Henry Ledger).  The residue to be shared between Ann Martin, Sarah Lee and Mary Ledger (see 2 paragraphs above) and her children.

  • He left rents from his lands in Pirbright to his son James and to John Lee until his grandson (John Baker VI) reached 21.

  • An annuity of £14pa to his late son John V’s widow, Sarah (reduced to £4 if she remarries).

  • Allowances made for educating grandson John Baker (John VI) and granddaughter Sarah Baker (both children of John V).

  • All real estate to pass to grandson John V when he reached 21 (in 1777).

  • £150 to Sarah when she reached 21. 

  • Various bequests to son James and daughters Ann Martin, Sarah Lee and Mary Ledger and their children.


This information seems remarkably fresh, considering it is over 250 years old.  In 1771 the first cotton mills of the Industrial Revolution were starting to be built, and the French Revolution was still 18 years away.

John Baker V (1724-1767)


  • 1749:  Married Sarah Martin of Woking, aged 30, daughter of George Martin, a higgler (ie travelling salesman).  They married in Richmond.  

  • 1751:  Henry born (died 1751), a daughter (illegible) was born in 1754.

  • 1755:  John Baker jun died – presumably a young son, whose birth does not seem to have been recorded.  In the same year John Baker V was recorded as being a Tythingman (ie a leader or spokesman for the Manor Court).

  • 1756:  John (who became John Baker VI) born, a few weeks after his elder brother, John (above), died .

  • 1764:  Was a Pirbright Juryman.

  • 1767:  John V died while his father was still alive (and therefore John V never got to inherit Bakersgate).  

  • 1774-76:  John V’s wife, Sarah paid Poor Rates due on Bakersgate (once her son, John Baker VI reached 21 (in 1777), he then paid this sum).

  • 1790:  John V’s wife, Sarah, died, aged 70.  The Parish Burial Register notes that she was “mother of John of Bakers Gate”.

John Baker VI (1756-1798)


  • 1782:  Appears on the first Land Tax records as owning and occupying a Pirbright property (which was Bakersgate).  He paid £10 4s, which was exceeded in Pirbright only by James Honer at Heath Mill.  

  • 1784:  Married Elizabeth Attfield at Stoke (broadly where Stoughton is today)

  • 1789:  Elizabeth produced a daughter, Elizabeth.  John’s will referred to another daughter, Sarah, but we cannot trace her in any of the records.  There were no other children of the marriage, thus bringing the male Baker dynasty to a juddering halt.

  • 1797:  Was a Pirbright Juryman.

  • 1798:  Upon his death in 1798 John left to his wife:  Bakersgate, 2 fields near Rickford Mill (Highland Field and Highland Mead), Stoughton Place (which later was to become Stoughton Barracks) and various other properties.

  • 1800:  John VI’s wife Elizabeth sold Bakersgate to Samuel Greenfield.  The Baker family’s ownership of Bakersgate had finally come to an end after perhaps 400 years.  But in 1800 the Napoleonic wars had recently started, and Beethoven was in his prime – there were still to be 200 years of post-Baker family history to be written.

  • 1807-17:  John VI’s wife Elizabeth was probably living at Stoughton Place with her daughter, Elizabeth.

  • 1841:  Elizabeth was living at Hascombe Place, south of Godalming

  • 1848:  Elizabeth died at Hascombe Place (but was buried at St Mary’s Worplesdon) aged 84.


Elizabeth Baker (1789-1864)

  • 1807-17:  Elizabeth was probably living at Stoughton Place with her mother.

  • 1851:  Living at Stoughton House – Independent means with 2 servants.  Described herself as a widow (although we can find no evidence of her marriage).

  • 1861:  Living at Stoughton Farm (ie the same place as in 1851), still with 2 servants, but this time she called herself a Landed proprietor.  She again described herself as a widow.

  • 1864:  She died at Stoughton House aged 74 and is buried at St Johns, Stoke Church in Guildford.


Thus ended the Baker dynasty of Bakersgate.

2  The Worplesdon Bakers

We know that the Baker family was farming in Worplesdon (as well as Pirbright) in 1586, and possibly earlier.  This continued under John Baker 0 (1568-1626), who was presumably the son mentioned in the 1586 will of an earlier John Baker of Pirbright.   John married Catherine Ockley in 1591 and had 12 children.
The 1664 Hearth Tax records tell us that there were 2 Baker households in Worplesdon in 1664, headed by a Richard Baker and a Henry Baker respectively.  Richard and Henry were 2 of the 12 children of John Baker (1568-1626).  As far as we can tell, both Richard and Henry farmed in the Littlefield area of Worplesdon (between what is now Fairlands Estate to the east and Frog Grove Lane to the west).

The Land Tax records from 1782-1832 show that the Baker families still owned 2-3 properties in Worplesdon at that time.  However by the time of the 1841 census the land holdings had disappeared, and the handful of Bakers remaining in Worplesdon were working mainly as agricultural labourers (as well as one milkman and one publican).

The “Richard Baker household” progressed as follows:

  • Richard Baker (1613-c1700).  Married Elizabeth Russell in 1641

  • Richard Baker (1642-????).  Married Anstis (surname unknown) in 1663, she bore 2 children, but died in 1666.  He remarried Elizabeth Batt in 1667 and they produced 7 children.

  • Jasper Baker (1669-1757).  Married Jane Ockly in 1691.  


During the 1600’s, the Richard Baker household became Quakers:  The first to do so seem to have been Richard (born in Pirbright in 1642 and baptised at St Michaels), who in 1663 married Anstis (Baker (born c1645).  [Anstis is an unusual name to our ears, but it is connected to the name Anastasia.  It derives from the Greek word for Resurrection.]  Their children were brought up Quakers, as were several further generations of Worplesdon Bakers up to (and possibly beyond) the 1800’s.  

Many of the Quaker Bakers were buried in a part of Worplesdon which was given the apt (but macabre) name “Burying Place”.  It later became Burying Place Farm, and today it lies very close to Rokers (near the A323 roundabout).

The second of the 2 Worplesdon Baker households – the “Henry Baker household” ran:

  • Henry Baker (1604-??).  Married Mary Stevens in Ash in 1629.

  • Henry Baker (1638-1708).  

  • Mary Baker (1676-????).  In 1694 she married John Baker III (from the Pirbright Bakers), who is referred to above.  She had a younger brother John (born 1678, died 1757).  After John Baker III’s death, she remarried George Martin in 1722 (refer above).

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