Barker, Andrew (DNB00)

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BARKER, ANDREW (d. 1577), merchant of Bristol, in partnership with his brother John, was for some years engaged in the adventurous and often disputed trade with the Spanish settlements. In 1570 one of their ships, named the Falcon, was seized at Terceira, the cargo confiscated, and the greater part of her crew sent to the galleys (State Papers: Elizabeth, Domestic, Addenda, xix. 13). In 1575 at Teneriffe the Inquisition laid hands on the captain and crew of their ship, the Christopher, and released them only on payment of fines which amounted to the value of the whole cargo. Andrew Barker thereupon fitted out two ships for a voyage of reprisals—the Ragged Staff, of which he himself took command, with one Philip Roche as master, and the Bear, commanded by Captain William Cox. They sailed from Plymouth on Whitsunday, 1576. At the Cape Verde Islands, at Trinidad, at Curaçao, and on the Spanish Main, they took several prizes, and collected a fair amount of booty. Afterwards, however, the crews became sickly and several of the men died. Then the officers quarrelled amongst themselves; Barker and Roche fought, and Cox, heading a mutiny, turned Barker and his adherents on shore in the Gulf of Honduras, where they were presently surprised by the Spaniards. Barker and some eight or nine with him were killed, others were wounded, the rest made good their escape and were admitted on board the Bear, which was still in the neighbourhood. Disaster now pursued the adventurers. Party after party was cut off. The Ragged Staff had early in the voyage proved to be unseaworthy, and had been sunk. All the accumulated treasure was in the Bear, and she was now overset in a squall. Only nine men escaped with their lives, and these, having made shift to build a small vessel and to return to England, were arrested at the suit of Andrew Barker's brother, John, and the chief of them sentenced to a long term of imprisonment.

[Hakluyt's Principal Navigations, &c. (Reprint, 1811), iv. 4.]

J. K. L.