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Barker, Thomas (fl.1651) (DNB00)

BARKER, THOMAS (fl. 1651), is the author of ‘The Art of Angling: wherein are discovered many rare secrets very necessary to be known by all that delight in that recreation. Written by Thomas Barker, an ancient practitioner in the said art’ (1651), 12mo. In the dedicatory address to Lord Montague, the author tells us that he was born at Bracemeol in the liberty of Salop, ‘being a freeman and burgess of the same city.’ For more than sixty years he practised the art of angling, and ‘spent many pounds in the gaining of it.’ At the time of writing his treatise he was living in Westminster, and seems to have gained a livelihood by accompanying gentlemen on fishing expeditions, or giving instruction at home in the use of baits and tackle. The following invitation in the dedicatory address doubtless met a warm response:—‘If any noble or gentle angler, of what degree soever he be, have a mind to discourse of any of these wayes and experiments, I live in Henry the 7th's Gifts, the next door to the gatehouse in Westm.; my name is Barker; where I shall be ready, as long as please God, to satisfie them and maintain my art during life, which is not like to be long.’ Barker's remarks on fly-fishing are quoted in Walton's ‘Compleat Angler’ (1653), p. 108. His directions on catching and dressing fish are equally serviceable; but it is to be regretted that this cheery ‘brother of the angle’ advocated the use of salmon-roe bait, a pernicious doctrine unknown, or at least unpublished, before his time. The ‘Art of Angling’ met with good success, and passed through several editions. In the edition of 1657, and in later editions, the title is ‘Barker's Delight, or the Art of Angling.’

[Westwood and Satchell's Bibliotheca Piscatoria, 1883, pp. 21–23, where a full bibliography of the book will be found; Add. MS. 30501, ‘The Art of Angling Augmented’ (1664), is catalogued by the British Museum authorities as the ‘Second Part’ of Barker's Art of Angling. It is merely a book of extracts from Walton and Barker.]

A. H. B.