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Robert Childers Barton

Robert Childers Barton (4 March 1881 ‚Äď 10 August 1975)[1] was an Irish lawyer, soldier, statesman and farmer who participated in the negotiations leading up to the signature of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. His father was Charles William Barton and his mother was Agnes Childers. His wife was Rachel Warren of Boston, daughter of Fiske Warren. His first cousin and close friend was Robert Erskine Childers.[2]

Contents

Early life

He was born in County Wicklow into a wealthy Irish Protestant land-owning family; namely of Glendalough House.[3][2] Educated in England at Rugby and Oxford, he became an officer in the Dublin Fusiliers on the outbreak of the First World War. He was stationed in Dublin during the 1916 Easter Rising and resigned his commission in protest at the heavy-handed British government suppression of the revolt. He then joined the Republican movement[4]

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Family

Charles William Barton (father) was born on 13 July 1836. He married Agnes Alexandra Frances Childers, daughter of Rev. Canon Charles Childers, on 26 October 1876. He died on 3 October 1890 at age 54.

Politics

At the 1918 general election to the British House of Commons he was elected as the Sinn Féin member for West Wicklow. Arrested in February 1919 for sedition, he escaped from Mountjoy Prison on St. Patrick's Day (leaving a note to the governor explaining that, owing to the discomfort of his cell, the occupant felt compelled to leave, and requesting the governor to keep his luggage until he sent for it). He was recaptured in January 1920 and sentenced to three years' imprisonment, but was released under the general amnesty of July 1921.

He was appointed Minister for Agriculture of the Irish Republic[5], then of Economic Affairs. Barton was one of the Irish delegates, along with his cousin, to travel to London for the legendary Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations.[6][7] He reluctantly signed the Treaty on 6 December 1921, defending it "as the lesser of two outrages forced upon me and between which I had to choose." He nevertheless was firmly committed to the Irish Republic and despite signing the Treaty rejected it.

He won election to D√°il √Čireann in June 1922, but did not take his seat and left politics for the law, becoming a judge. He was chairman of the Agricultural Credit Corporation from 1934‚Äď1954. Barton died at home in County Wicklow on 10 August 1975, at the age of 94, the last surviving signatory of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. √Čamon de Valera, who was also heavily involved with the Treaty, died only nineteen days later, on 29 August 1975.

Glendalough House

Glendalough House, run by Barton[8][2] for over 70 years right up until his death, is still considered one of Ireland's most notable properties [9]; alongside nearby Powerscourt Estate. The house was the center of numerous political meetings and gatherings from 1910 to 1922.[10] It's also been featured as a location in many large Hollywood films including Excalibur[11], Saving Private Ryan and Braveheart[9][12].

Barton's grandfather, Thomas Barton, also of Glendalough House,[8] was the founder and owner of the award winning Langoa & Barton vineyards in France. Since 1836, the vineyards have been under the control of the Barton family. The Ch√Ęteaux Langoa & L√©oville Barton passed to the Straffan branch of the Barton family and are currently managed by Anthony Frederick Barton and his daughter, Lilian Anna Barton. He was preceded by his uncle, Major Hugh Ronald Barton ("Ronald"), Chairman, Barton & Guestier, wine shippers, Bordeaux. The Straffan Estate was sold by Captain Frederick Bertram Barton ("Derick") in 1949, a father to Anthony Frederick and brother to Ronald. He lived in Blackrock, Co. Dublin thereafter.

References


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