Baldwin Wake Walker [1802-1876]

Baldwin Wake Walker

Baldwin Wake Walker in the 1870s

Baldwin Wake Walker was born on the 6th January 1802 at Maughold, near Ramsey on the Isle of Man and was the eldest son of John Walker [1771-1824] of Lincolnshire and Frances Wake [1770-1812] the daughter of Captain Drury Wake [1745-1787] of the 17th Dragoons and his wife Frances Pratt [b.1758], John and Frances were married at St Bees, Cumberland in 1796. Baldwin entered the Royal Navy in 1812 and in April 1820 had been promoted to the rank of lieutenant. Baldwin served for 2 years in Jamaica and for 3 years on the coast of South America and the west coast of Africa.

John Walker was born in Lincolnshire and was the son of the Reverend David Walker [1724-1781] who came from Corney near Millom, Cumberland not far from Whitehaven and was initially a teacher at Ulpha before he was ordained [1747] and became the curate of Deeping St James, Lincolnshire [1751] and vicar of Baston, Lincolnshire [1751-1781] and was married to Sarah Garford [1736-1788]. Captain Drury Wake was the 2nd son of Sir William Wake 7th Baronet of Courteenhall, Northamptonshire and his wife Sarah Walker of Weston, Yorkshire.

Baldwin was sent to Chislehurst, Kent in 1810 to be brought up by Mary Wake [nee Fenton] at Pheasant Grove. Mary was the daughter of Richard Fenton of Bank Top, Yorkshire and was the wife and widow of Sir William Wake 8th Baronet [1742-1785], Mary [d.1823] gave Baldwin a settled life away from the Isle of Man and arranged for Baldwin to enter the Royal Navy in 1812. His father John Walker was an alcoholic who was always short of money and ended up in prison.

In 1827 he served in the Mediterranean aboard HMS Rattlesnake and HMS Aetna, being promoted to the rank of commander in 1834. From 1836-1838 he served on board HMS Vanguard. Baldwin met Mary Catherine Sinclair Worth [b.1811] in Brighton where the Worth family went on holiday. Her father Captain John Worth RN was a friend of Baldwin’s skipper, Captain George W Willes on their ship HMS Brazen. Willes took Baldwin to meet the Worth family and met Mary in 1825 when she was 14 years of age. The friendship with Baldwin and Mary continued although Baldwin was principally stationed in the Mediterranean.

On the 9th September 1834 Baldwin and Mary were married and went on to produce 11 children namely Mary Anne, Emily, Florence, Evelyn, Baldwin, Charles, Francis, Arthur and Frederic. Two daughters Caroline and Frances were born in Constantinople, but they both died at a young age.

In 1838 he was given permission to accept a command in the Turkish Navy and served with them until 1845. On returning to England he took command of HMS Queen as flag captain and in 1846-1847 on board the frigate HMS Constance in the Pacific. From 1848-1861 he was the surveyor of the Royal Navy and in 1856 was created a baronet on the 18th July as Sir Baldwin Wake Walker 1st Baronet of Oakley House, Suffolk the old home of Edmund Betts and Martha D’Eye.

In 1858 he was appointed rear admiral of the blue and in 1861 rear admiral of the white. In 1861 he was appointed commander in chief of the Cape of Good Hope and west coast of Africa station. On his return to England in 1864 Baldwin was promoted to the rank of vice admiral and in 1865 as the commander in chief of The Nore in 1866. He gained the promotion to Admiral in 1870. Baldwin gained a number of awards including the Order of the Iron Crown [Austria], Order of St Anna [Russia], Order of the Red Eagle [Prussia] and gained the title of Pasha of the Ottoman Empire.

Mary Catherine Sinclair Worth had inherited land and properties from her parents and in particular from the Sinclair family of Durran, Scotland. Her father was Captain Patrick Sinclair [1747-1794] who was married to Anne Sutherland the daughter of Robert Sutherland of Langwell.

The inheritance from the Betts family included Oakley House and Slades Farm, Hoxne came from the D’Eye family. Baldwin and Mary decided to build themselves a grander residence on the site of the old farmhouse at Hoxne. This took place during the 1860s and the new house was called The Depperhaugh.

Catherine Worth [nee Sinclair] the wife of Captain John Worth sold her inherited estates in 1827 for £15,000 to her kinsman, the Earl of Caithness [Alexander the 13th Earl] as she was the only surviving child of Captain Patrick Sinclair of Durran and his wife Anne Sutherland of Swinzie. Patrick died at St Domingo in 1794 in command of the frigate Ighigenia. The beneficiary of the sale of the Scottish estates in Durran was Mary Catherine Sinclair who became the wife of Baldwin Wake Walker.

Baldwin and Mary were the parents of Baldwin 2nd Bt [1846-1905], Francis 3rd Bt [1851-1928], Emily [d.1916], Evelyn Louisa [d.1889], Frederic [1857-1931], Mary Anne [d.1902], Arthur Hotham [1853-1857], Charles Sinclair [1849-1870] and Florence [d.1920].

Baldwin Wake Walker

Baldwin Wake Walker junior - 2nd Bt.

Evelyn Walker

Evelyn Walker

Evelyn was firstly married to Captain Hugh Talbot Burgoyne [1833-1870] who died on board HMS Captain on the 7th September 1870. In 1874 Evelyn married Dr Wilson Fox MD FRS of Mayfair, London.

Charles Sinclair Walker Subaltern

Charles Sinclair Walker - Subaltern

Charles Sinclair [1849-1870] was a passenger on board HMS Captain and died aged 21 alongside his brother in law Hugh Burgoyne VC and Cowper Phipps Coles [1819-1870] the designer of HMS Captain. Cowper Phipps Coles was married to Emily Pearson and their daughter Fanny Augusta Coles [1859-1951] was married to Baldwin [1846-1905] who became the 2nd Baronet, their daughter was Irene [1889-1939].

Frank Walker c1870

Francis Walker c1870

Francis [1851-1928] 3rd Baronet was married to Helen Constance Paris [1856-1901] and they were the parents of Baldwin Charles [1884-1927] who was married to Mary Barnett [d.1991] and their son Baldwin Patrick [1924-2005] became the 4th Baronet.

Memorials relating to Sir Baldwin Wake Walker and his wife Lady Mary and their family can be found near to the west door of Hoxne Church. The Depperhaugh has changed hands several times and is now in use as a nursing home.

Photographs and details about the Walker and Worth families have been provided by Richard Wake Walker.

Article written by Stephen Govier.