Johann Baring (1697–1748)
Johann Baring (1697–1748) (later Anglicised to "John") came to England in 1717 as a German immigrant, apprenticed to a wool merchant. His decision to settle permanently in England started the Baring family on the road to becoming one of the leading family banking firms in the world.
Johann Baring was born in Bremen, one of the old Hanseatic cities of northern Germany. He was the posthumous son of Franz Baring (1657-1697), a professor of Theology in Bremen, who died aged forty only a few weeks before Johann was born, by his wife Rebecca Vogds, the daughter of one of Bremen's leading wool merchants. Following the early death of Johann's father, he was brought up by the Vogds family.
Move to England
At the age of twenty Johann was sent to England to learn the wool trade in Exeter, Devon. Originally having planned to return to Bremen after his apprenticeship, he decided to stay in England, where he obtained citizenship in 1723 and Anglicised his first name from Johann to John.
Marriage & progeny
John married Elizabeth Vowler (1702–1766), the daughter of a prosperous Exeter grocer, who brought with her a large dowry of £20,000 and business sense to match that of her new husband. By Elizabeth he had the following progeny, 4 sons and 1 daughter:
- John Baring (1730–1816), who in partnership with his younger brother Francis, established the London merchant house of John and Francis Baring Company, which eventually became Barings Bank
- Thomas Baring (1733–1758)
- Sir Francis Baring, 1st Baronet (1740–1810), who in partnership with his elder brother John, established the London merchant house of John and Francis Baring Company, which eventually became Barings Bank
- Charles Baring (1742–1829)
- Elizabeth Baring (1744–1809) who in 1780 married John Dunning (1731-1783) of Ashburton, Devon, MP for Calne, who in 1782 was created Baron Ashburton.
By 1737 the Barings moved from the City of Exeter and purchased as their country residence Larkbeare House, (a substantial 16th century house a fragment of which survives at no. 28 Lansdowne Terrace, Exeter, having been largely demolished by 19th century road-widening) and thirty seven acres of land, then just outside the city. Adjacent to Larkbeare was the estate of Mount Radford, which was later the family's residence. Shortly before his death John purchased Lindridge House, Bishopsteignton, near Exeter.
By the time of John's death aged fifty-one, the Barings were one of the wealthiest families in the West Country.
- Ziegler, P. (1988). The Sixth Great Power: The House of Barings, 1762–1929. London: Collins. ISBN 0002175088.
- John Dunning
- Pevsner, Nikolaus & Cherry, Bridget, The Buildings of England: Devon, London, 2004, p.425
- Pevsner, p.425
- Portrait of John Baring by William Hoare, courtesy of the Baring archive
- Portrait of Elizabeth Baring by Thomas Gainsborough, courtesy of the Baring archive