The History of the Barett Family by Eric Barrett

The History of the Barett Family by Eric Barrett

In the early seventeenth century, the Barretts were granted permission to use the name of Hungerford from patrons at Farleigh Hungerford Castle, and to this day the male Barrett's use Hungerford as their middle name.

In 1743 the current Hungerford Barrett was in business as a blacksmith at Coates, near Cirencester. He married Mary Liddiard at Crudwell, who was knowledgeable in animal medicine. Thereafter, successive generations continued as blacksmiths, whitesmiths, and farriers in various settlements of the Cotswolds. A village business could only support one man and possibly a son. A second son, if qualified, had to leave or go to another tradesman for his apprenticeship.

A group of people standing in front of a building.
A horse drawn carriage parked in front of a building.

By 1830 the main part of the family was established in Minety. Henry Barrett and his brother John moved to Coln St Aldwyns and for some years worked together. John went his own way. Henry moved to Ashton Keynes and had two sons. Hungerford and George were apparently taught the blacksmithing trade by their father. George joined a Cavalry Regiment for many years as a Sargeant Farrier. Time passed. He joined his brother Hungerford at Ashton Keynes, who had married a Miss Iles – a strongly Non-Conformist daughter of the blacksmith at Bibury.

They had three children. Henry Hungerford (David’s great-grandfather), Mary and Paddy. Mary married a Head Groom and took with her a knowledge of the maladies and treatment of horses. Her father Hungerford was at this time advertising animal medicines in the local newspaper. Paddy married her cousin Ralph Iles from Bibury and moved to a shop near Reading. Hungerford’s wife persuaded her husband and son to become wheelwrights, apprenticed to Messrs. Chequer at Brinkworth.

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A man standing in front of an old building.

Henry Hungerford Barrett moved as a journeyman to Mr. Sansom at Charlton. He became a local preacher in the Brinkworh circuit and formed an interest with the organist at Braydon Chapel. Unfortunately, he had a theological disagreement with his employer and was sacked. He took a job at Wantage, then moved to Wroughton under Mr. Scutts in order to be nearer to his Florence. Mr. Winchcombe, a Brick maker in the village, persuaded H.H. to start work on his own account, promising him custom from the maintenance of the vehicles and equipment at the Brickworks. This Henry did in 1893, and soon married Florence. They had two children, Eric and Stephen. Eric Owen was born in 1897, the same year as Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Stephen died, then within six months, one Saturday evening just after World War One H.H. fell from his loft and died shortly afterwards. My father E.O. Barrett, took over the business at 22.

David obtained a degree in Engineering from Newcastle University and had 30 years of worldwide experience in manufacturing and contracting. He also attended the National School of Blacksmithing under Paul Allen and obtained a certificate of training from the Countryside Agency and a certificate of merit from the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths. David took over his family business Barrett’s of Wroughton, established in 1893, on his father’s retirement in 1993. Since then, and until his death, David and Sandra worked together as a husband and wife team. They moved from Britain to Canada, relocating machinery and equipment to Fernie Forge, a purpose-built forge that opened for business in 2005. David’s engineering skills combined with Sandra’s artistic flair ensured that customers’ wishes become a reality on time and within budget. Their professional development continued with attendance at ABANA, KBA, and CanIron events, organizations in the United States and Canada that promote blacksmithing through conferences and demonstrations.

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(Article reproduced with permission of the Swindon Advertiser.)