Baker, Sir John

, a statesman of some note in the reigns of Henry VIII. Edward VI. and Mary, is said to have been the son of Thomas Baker, a Kentish gentleman, but his pedigree in the' college of arms begins with his own name. He was bred to the profession of the laws, and in 1526, when a young man, was sent ambassador to Denmark, in company with Henry Standish, bishop of St. Asaph, according to the fashion of those times, when it was usual to join in foreign negociations, the only two characters which modern policy excludes from such services. At his return he was elected speaker of the house of commons, and was soon after appointed attorney-general, and sworn of the privy council, but gained no farther preferment till 1545, when, having recommended himself to the king by his activity in forwarding a loan in London, and other imposts, he was made chancellor of the exchequer. Henry constituted him an assistant trustee for the minor successor, after whose accession his name is scarcely mentioned in history, except in one instance, which ought not to be forgotten he was the only privy counsellor who steadfastly denied his assent to the last will of that prince, by which Mary and Elizabeth were excluded from inheriting the crown. Sir John married Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Thomas Dinely, and widow of George Barret, who brought him two sons sir Richard (whose grandson was created a baronet) and John and three daughters Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Scott; Cecily, married to the lord treasurer Dorset, and Mary to John Tufton, of Heathfield in Kent. He died in 1558, and was bu ied at Sissingherst in Kent, where he had a fine estate, formerly | belonging to the family of De Berham; and a noble mansion built by himself, called Sissingherst Castle, which remained with his posterity till the family became extinct about sixty years since, and has since bowed down its battlements to the unfeeling taste of the present day. 1


Lodge’s Illustrations of British History, vol. I.—Lloyd’s State Worthies.— Strype’s Life of Cranmer, p. 177, 303, 304, 356, where he appears a zealot for popery.