He was the eldest son of the magistrate Thomas Henry Barton, a younger son of Dunbar Barton of Rochestown, County Tipperary, who was High Sheriff of Tipperary in 1810. Barton was descended from Chief Justice Charles Kendal Bushe; and from the co-founder of the celebrated wine merchants Barton and Guestier. His mother Charlotte Plunket was the third daughter of John Plunket, 3rd Baron Plunket. He attended Harrow and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Nephew of the Anglican Archbishop of Dublin, Barton was a sincere Protestant, but exceptionally tolerant in all matters of religion: Maurice Healy recalled him quoting a saying of his father that whether one is a Protestant or a Catholic is largely a chance of birth.
Barton served as an Irish Unionist Member of Parliament (MP) for Mid Armagh from 1891 to 1900 and was Solicitor-General for Ireland for two years. In 1900 he was appointed a judge of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice in Ireland and in 1904 transferred to the Chancery Division where he served until his retirement in 1918. The latter year he was created a baronet : since his only son predeceased him the title became extinct at his death.
He married Mary Manley in 1900 : their only son, Dunbar, died unmarried in 1929. He died in 1937, aged 83. He was a keen historian, with a particular interest in Marshal Bernadotte, and is said to have done much to popularise golf in Ireland.
Maurice Healy in his memoir The Old Munster Circuit pays warm tribute to a fine and courteous judge and "one of the kindest friends I have ever known".
- Timothy Healy: Memories and Anecdotes
- Bernadotte, The First Phase, 1763-1799
- Bernadotte and Napoleon, 1800-1810
- Bernadotte, Prince and King, 1810-1844
- The Amazing Career of Bernadotte, 1763 to 1844
- Links Between Ireland and Shakespeare
- Links Between Shakespeare and the Law
- The Story of the Inns of Court
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs [self-published source][better source needed]
- Maurice Healy The Old Munster Circuit Michael Joseph Ltd 1939
- Ball. F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921 John Murray Loondon 1926
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Sir Dunbar Barton, Bt
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Sir James Corry, Bt.
|Member of Parliament for Mid Armagh
1891 – 1900
|Solicitor-General for Ireland
1898 – 1900
|Baronetage of the United Kingdom|
1918 – 1937