Baptized 14th May 1719 - Died 26th November 1801



He married Mary, the daughter of Edward Jacob of Canterbury by his second wife Mary Chalker.

In Hothfield parish church there is a monumental inscription in the South Chapel of the church to them:

Sacred to the memory of the Rev Stephen Barrett MA who died 26th November 1801 in the 83rd year of his age. He was born at Bent, a very ancient mansion of the family of Barrett in the parish of Kildwick in Haven in the county of York. He was during a long and flourishing period Master of the Free Grammar school of Ashford and almost thirty years Rector of this parish. Likewise to the memory of Mary his wife, youngest daughter of Edward Jacob Esquire of the City of Canterbury, who died 28th March 1786 in the 60th year. This tribute was erected by their only daughter and Heiress Mary wife of Jeremiah Curtis Esquire of Northiam in Sussex.

From the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:

Barrett, Stephen (bap. 1719, d. 1801), schoolmaster and Church of England clergyman, was born at Bent, in the parish of Kildwick in Craven, Yorkshire, and was baptized there on 14 May 1719, the son of Peter Barrett of Sutton, Yorkshire, and his wife, Mary. He was educated at the grammar school in Skipton, where he excelled in poetry and classics. He matriculated from University College, Oxford, on 24 March 1738 and graduated BA in 1741 and MA in 1744. Having taken holy orders he became rector of the parishes of Purton and Ickleford, Hertfordshire, in 1744. Five years later, in 1749, he was appointed master of the free grammar school at Ashford, Kent, on the nomination of Sir Wyndham Knatchbull. He raised the school's academic reputation and attracted the patronage of the local gentry, who sent their sons to his school. Its success enabled Barrett to augment the master's salary of £30 to an income of 120 guineas per annum, presumably by charging fees for pupils who boarded. In 1751 he applied for the mastership of his old grammar school in Skipton; it seems that both he and the rival candidate, William West, offered bribes to some of the churchwardens who were electing to the post. Although at first Barrett disdained such means, in a letter dated 6 August 1751 he wrote that he would invest £100 in bribes to please his patron, Lord Thanet. He had secured a majority of votes when he suddenly pulled out of the competition, fearing a scandal, should details of his bribes leak out.

Barrett resigned from Ashford in 1764 but returned as headmaster two years later. By that time he had married Mary, daughter of Edward Jacob of Canterbury; their only child, Mary, was baptized at Ickleford, Hertfordshire, on 5 August 1764. Barrett resigned the mastership a second time, in 1773, when presented to the rectory of Hothfield, Kent. He was a friend of Dr Johnson and Edward Cave, and a frequent contributor to the Gentleman's Magazine. He also published some verses, a Latin translation of Pope's ‘Pastorals’, and Ovid's epistles translated into English verse, with critical essays and notes; being part of a poetical and oratorical lecture read to the grammar school of Ashford in the county of Kent, and calculated to initiate youth in the first principles of taste (1759). Tobias Smollett gave a withering review of Barrett's works in the Critical Review: ‘though he might be an excellent schoolmaster, he had, however, no pretensions to taste’ (Nichols, Lit. anecdotes, 3.346n).

Barrett died at Church House, Northiam, Sussex, on 26 November 1801, and was buried at Hothfield on 3 December. He was survived by his daughter, who had married Edward Jeremiah Curteis, a barrister.


A partial pedigree compiled by James Sneyd. Click HERE.


Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Jacob MSS