Letter addressed to Doctr Barker, Healaugh, Swaddle   
This undated letter, believed to be from Peter Denys of Fremington, Sheriff of Northamptonshire (b 1760, d 28.11.1816) is addressed to Doctr Barker Sen, Healaugh, Swaddle. This is probably John Barker, born January 17th 1732, the second son of Adam and Elizabeth (nee Thornton) Barker.

In 1749 John entered a five year apprenticeship with Thomas Kearton (apothecary and surgeon) of Yarm. John married Hannah Elliott of Fremington in 1786. They had no children and she died in 1790 but John lived until 1818 and a memorial stone in Grinton churchyard refers to him as a surgeon. His brothers, Robert and James, also became doctors and a descendant of Robert still lives in Healaugh.

Peter Denys' mention of 'Neighbours & Opponents' is almost certainly a reference to the French and an almost continuous period of warfare from 1792 until 1815 - the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars - occasionally called the Great French War. The term 'Bloody Backs' was an abusive nickname for British soldiers (referring to their redcoats).

Letter to Doctr Barker - top

Dear Doctr Barker

Notwithstanding the unconquerable aversion my Friend has for the useless tribes of Bloody Backs I hope that setting aside the profession and my addressing you as an undisguised plain swaledale neighbour will entitle me to a return of that Frankpledge, I so much Esteem, & which with pride & pleasure I can always boast of as the prevailing characteristic of the Gentlemen of swaddle. As Shakespear the English Bard expresses himself -

"I'll speak of them as they are, Nothing Extenuate, nor set down aught in malice; But give them their Due."

Whether Buisiness calls me into Cumberl..d or into Northamp..re or to the Motropolis, the Emperium of buisiness, my thoughts are at frequent intervals struggling to make a flight to swaddle, and am vain enough to fancy I think oftener of my swaddle Friends than they do of me. But I hope yet to be better acquainted and be often happy with them before we die

At the present moment I must confess it wo..d be less pleasing to me as I hate disputes, But I Hope there will soon be an End of the Matter & that our Neighbours & Opponents will be Righted in which case we shall think ourselves so If the truth is spoken - for which ever side prevailes I shall always revere those laws by which the merits of the cause is to be tried, as a part of that Noble & impartial Constitution. It is the Duty of every Englishman. / Let him be a Blo..y B..k or a Sea Lubb.r / to protect & support.

My Lord the Captain & my Brother desire me to present their good wishes - and hope you will remember me kindly to your Brother Mr Gregson Mr Langhorn Mr Alderson & all Friends or otherwise.

With much Esteem

Believe me Dear Sir

very sincerely

yours P Denys

ps
If you ever wish to send me a few lines give it to Geo. Emmerson
Letter to Doctr Barker - end

Further Denys memorabilia include a funeral invoice to Sir George Denys, Mildenhall, for the funeral of a Miss Denys, dated January 1826 and a letter to Sir George Denys at Draycott Hall, Reeth confirming his resignation from North Riding of Yorkshire Rifle Volunteers in 1866.

Return                                                Top of Page