Charles James Barnett was the first child of Charles Barnett and Augusta Smith, born Jan-March 1859 at Hambleden, Bucks, and christened at Remenham, Berks, on May 15th, 1859.
Charles was educated at Henley Grammar School.
Charles never married. He worked at the Mill with his mother. His occupation was recorded as corn merchant and miller in 1881, miller in 1891 and flour miller in 1901.
An article in the Henley Advertiser of May 7th, 1904 gave an interesting insight into Charles. He was described as one of the most popular members of the dog world. It suggests that Charles was quite tall ( 6 foot 7 inches) and states 'his breadth of character fully equals his amplitude of stature. There is not a man in the dog & poultry, & not many in the horse worlds, who does not know Mr Barnett or whom Mr Barnett does not know.' Charles was against snobbery in all its forms & would always speak his mind being indifferent to public opinion. He made a name for himself as a breeder, exhibitor & judge of Irish terriers. He won the Challenge Cup at the Crystal Palace Show for one of his poultry and later commented 'The blessed bird cost me five & sixpence to rear, & she has won me first prize & got sold for a fiver; what have I to grumble about? I only wish my shire horses would do me a few such good turns.' The article describes him as an ideal companion for a railway journey or a long night in the smoking room at the local. He was the best, kind-hearted & most straight forward of men & his popularity unbounded.
In 1911 Charles was still a miller, employer, at Hambleden Mill where he lived with his mother, nephew Geoffrey Butler Barnett, also a miller & cousin Ethel Barnett Rixon.
Whilst cycling from Hambleden to Henley, Charles’ bike skidded on a greasy road, as a result of which he fell & twisted his knee. From that time his leg was troublesome. An obituary in the Reading Mercury of February 5th, 1916 states that Charles underwent an operation to amputate his leg above the knee. Although he seemed initially to be progressing well, within a few days Charles died on February 2, 1916, aged 57. His abode was given as Mill End, Hambleden. He was buried at Hambleden on February 5, 1916.
The obituary also records that Charles was extremely active in all public activities in Hambleden. He was a magistrate for Bucks & was on the Board of Guardians from 1887. He was chairman of the Children’s Committee & took particular interest in the welfare of the children who came under the guardianship of the Poor Law. His business career was very successful, & politically he was a staunch Conservative. He took an active interest in the Hambleden Working Men’s Institute & was Chairman of the Horticultural Society. He was well known in the rowing & angling world & was an exhibitor & breeder of Irish terriers. He was also interested in keeping poultry. Charles was an expert in amateur photography. The obituary mentions that he was 6ft 7 inches tall & extremely popular with everyone.
Probate was granted to his cousin Ethel Barnett Rixon and Joseph Gardner, husband of another of his cousins. The value of his effects was £4,609/2s/10d. From his Will it appears that he was a collector with a number of paintings being listed as legacies.
Will of Charles James Barnett:
This is the last Will and testament of me Charles James Barnett of Mill End Hambleden in the County of Buckingham Miller. I appoint my Goddaughter and cousin Ethel Barnett Rixon of Mill End Hambleden aforesaid and Joseph Gardner the Husband of my Cousin Jane Gardner (hereinafter called my Trustees) to be the Executors and Trustees of this my Will and I give to the said Joseph Gardner the sum of Twenty pounds and my gold sovereign purse free of legacy duty for his trouble in acting as such Executor and Trustee.
I direct that my two oil paintings by Sir Joshuah Reynolds shall be sold as soon as conveniently may be after my decease and the proceeds of such sale divided between the said Ethel Barnett Rixon my Nephews Bertram Charles Barnett Geoffrey Butler Barnett and Maurice George Barnett and my Niece Norah Barnett in equal shares.
I give the following legacies free of legacy duty namely
To my Cousin the said Jane Gardner the sum of One hundred pounds The Century Dictionary Dr Syntax and my brass King Charlie Warming Pan.
To her Daughter Margaret Josephine Gardner (my darling Peggy) the sum of Fifty pounds
To my Cousin Alice Gertrude Vernon the sum of Twenty five pounds
To my Nephew the said Bertram Charles Barnett my dressing case the oil painting of my Mother All my guns rifles and fire arms Six books on Ships and Guns Greys Elegy in a Churchyard (I believe an original edition) and my big 12’5 glasses by Goertz
To my Nephew the said Geoffrey Butler Barnett the picture of the Fox Hounds Joe Plant Sporting Sketches by the Druid and by the Old Bushman and any eight more sporting books he may select
To my Nephew Maurice George Barnett the Water Colour painting of my Grandfather (Joseph Barnett) my Andrew Dice’s Edition of Shakespear my gold cigarette case given to me by Adelina Patti (which I trust he will take care of) and six other books which he may select after the selection by my Nephew Geoffrey Butler Barnett as aforesaid.
To my Niece Norah Barnett the miniature of The Reverend Thomas Payton Slapp The Water Colour of my Grandmother The two picture oil paintings of views near Onger by O T Clark and six books she may select (subject to the prior selections mentioned in this my Will)
To Lord Hambleden picture Burrow Members by Arthur Wardle
To my friend George Mayall the drawing of Phil May by himself
And to my Cousin and goddaughter the said Ethel Barnett Rixon the sum of Eight hundred pounds and all my indoor and outdoor effects live and dead stock pictures books plate bedding and furniture not hereby otherwise disposed of
I give devise and bequeath all my real and personal property not hereby otherwise disposed of including my interest in the business of a Miller carried on by me in conjunction with my Brother Augustus Parker Barnett unto my Trustees Upon trust that my Trustees shall sell call in and convert unto money the same or such part thereof as shll not consist of money with power to postpone such sale and conversion for such a period as my Trustees may think proper and shall with and out of the money produced by such sale calling in and conversion and with and out of my ready money pay my funeral and testamentary expenses and debts and shall also pay or provide for the legacies hereby or by any Codicil hereto bequeathed and shall stand possessed of the residuary trust monies and investments for the time being representing the same In trust for my Brother the said Augustus Parker Barnett absolutely such residue to be subject to and charged with the payment to the said Ethel Barnett Rixon of the above mentioned sum of Eight hundred pounds in the event of my estate being otherwise insufficient to meet the same
And with a view that my said Brother may not be in anyway hampered in carrying on the said business I direct that such legacy of Eight hundred pounds or any part thereof may if so desired by the said Ethel Barnett Rixon in such manner as my Trustees may think fit the same to carry interest at the rate of Five pounds per cent per annum from the date of my decease.
I revoke all former Wills and testamentary dispositions heretofore made by me and declare this only to be my last Will and Testament
In witness whereof I have set my hand to this my Will this Seventh day of July One Thousand nine hundred and fifteen
Charles James Barnett
Signed by the above named Charles James Barnett as his last Will in the presence of us both being present at the same time who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses.
J F Cooper Solr Henley on Thames
Alfred Caldecott, Solicitor, Henley on Thames
On the Twenty First day of June 1916 Probate of this Will was granted at Oxford to Ethel Barnett Rixon, spinster, and Joseph Gardner, the Executors