George Goodin Moulton-Barrett

George Goodin Barrett Moulton-Barrett (1816–95)

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 1, 292–293.

He was born at Hope End on 15 July 1816, eighth child and fourth son of Edward and Mary Moulton-Barrett. “Georgie” was the nearest he had to a nickname; the given name “Goodin” came from the family of his great-grandmother Judith Barrett (née Goodin). Taking a degree at the University of Glasgow in 1835, he practised as a barrister at the Inner Temple from 1838 until an early retirement in 1860, brought on in part by a hearing impairment. He was also on the Oxford Circuit with the Assize Court. His occupation was openly scorned by EBB, who had little respect for such worldly matters as law practice. After the death of her favourite brother Bro, however, George was the one to whom she most frequently turned and in whom she confided. Like all the other surviving brothers, he broke sharply with EBB after her marriage, but he was the only one who became fully reconciled to it. In 1847 he sent a note saying that he forgave her but not RB, but after calling on them when they first returned to England in 1851 he was on friendly terms with both. A lively correspondence developed between George and the Brownings, and it continued between him and RB after EBB’s death. RB relied on him for unofficial legal advice, and referred to him as a “useful brother.” George and Charles John were joint executors of their father’s will, but the settling of the properties was primarily done by George. He received nearly £11,000 from his father’s estate. After the breaking-up of the Wimpole Street establishment, it appears he shared with Arabel until he retired in 1860, when he established a base at Warnicombe House, near Tiverton, Devonshire. He spent much time travelling in England and on the Continent. In later years he moved his residence frequently—Weymouth, Ilfracombe, and Tenby. Never marrying, George died at Tenby, 11 August 1895, and was there buried. In his will he released Charles John of his indebtedness, gave bequests to his brothers Henry and Octavius and to his nieces and nephews, and presented the balance of his estate to his brother Alfred.

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