Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Barton, John

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BARTON, JOHN (1836–1908), missionary, born at Eastleigh, Hampshire, on 31 Dec. 1836, was sixth child of John Barton (1798–1852) by his wife Fanny, daughter of James Rickman. His ancestors were Cumberland quakers. Bernard Barton [q. v.] was his uncle. His mother died in 1841, and her only sister, Josephina, brought up her family.

After education at schools at Bishop Waltham and Highgate, John matriculated from Christ's College, Cambridge, at Michaelmas 1855. He soon decided to enter the mission field, and founded the Cambridge University Church Missionary Union. Graduating B.A. in Jan. 1859 (M.A. in 1863), he was ordained in September 1860 and sailed in October for Calcutta. After receiving priest's orders, he proceeded to Agra. There he helped in superintending the missionary college with an attendance of 260 students, and the orphanage at Secundra (five miles away) with 300 children. He was transferred to Amritsar in May 1863, and was appointed in 1865 principal of a new cathedral missionary college at Calcutta. From 1871 to 1875 he was secretary of the Madras mission, twice visiting the missions in South India. During 1870-1 and again during 1876-7 he did secretarial work at the Church Missionary House in London. From 1877 to 1893 he was vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge, but was absent in Ceylon for four months in 1884, and during 1889, after refusing offers of the bishoprics of both Travancore and Tinnevelly, was in charge of the latter district. In 1893 he refused t he call to a bishopric in Japan, and left Cambridge for London to become chief secretary of the Church Pastoral-Aid Society, whose 'forward movement' he organised with immense vigour. Of massive build, Barton was a born organiser, and 'a giant for work'; he was a keen botanist, geologist, and mountaineer. He died at Weybridge on 26 Nov. 1908, and was there buried, a tablet and memorial window being placed in Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge.

He married twice: (1) in May 1859, Catherine Wigram (d. 1860); and (2) in October 1863, Emily Eugenia, daughter of Charles Boileau Elliott. His second wife, six sons, and two daughters survived him. A son, Cecil Edward Barton (d. 1909), missionary in the Punjab, was rector of Rousdon, Devonshire, and joint author of 'A Handy Atlas of Church and Empire . . . showing British Possessions' (1908). Barton published 'Remarks on the Orthography of Indian Geographical Names,' reprinted from 'Friend of India' (1871); 'Missionary Conference Report' (1873), and 'Memorial Sketch of Major-General Edward Lake, Commissioner of Jalundhur' (2nd edit. 1878). A map of India, made largely by him while in Calcutta, was published in 1873, and is still in use.

[Life, by his son, Cecil Edward Barton (1911); The Times, 1 Dec. 1908; private information.]

C. F. S.