Edward Barnard (provost)

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Edward Barnard (1717–1781) was an English cleric and academic, provost of Eton from 1764.

Early life and education[edit]

Barnard was the son of a Bedfordshire cleric. He was on the foundation at Eton College but, becoming superannuated, entered at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1736, M.A. in 1742, B.D. in 1760 and D.D. in 1766.[1] He was fellow of his college from March 1743–4 to 1766. In 1762 he was at Eton as tutor to Henry Townshend, brother to Lord Sydney, and he became also tutor to George Hardinge, afterwards Welsh justice, whose recollections of Barnard are given at length in Nichols's Anecdotes(viii. 643).


Barnard succeeded Sumner as head master of Eton in 1764 and raised the numbers of the school from three hundred to five hundred. He received a canonry of Windsor in 1761, and in 1764 became provost of Eton. He was also rector of St. Paul's Cray, Kent.

Death and legacy[edit]

He died 2 December 1801. A tablet to his memory, with an inscription, is in Eton College chapel. Barnard, according to Hardinge, was a man of coarse features and clumsy figure, but with a humour and vivacity which, but for his physical disadvantages, would have made him the equal of Garrick; and he ruled his boys chiefly by force of ridicule. Upon Barnard's death Johnson, according to Mrs Piozzi, pronounced a long eulogium upon his wit, learning, and goodness, and added; 'He was the only man that did justice to my good breeding, and you may observe that I am well bred to a needless degree of scrupulosity.' He is not to be confounded with Thomas Barnard, the bishop of Killaloe and Limerick, who was also a friend of Johnson.


  1. ^ "Barnard, Edward (BNRT781E)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Barnard, Edward (1717-1781)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 

Academic offices
Preceded by
John Sumner
Head Master of Eton College
Succeeded by
John Foster
Preceded by
Stephen Sleech
Provost of Eton College
Succeeded by
William Hayward Roberts