Henry Moulton-Barrett

Henry Barrett Moulton-Barrett (1818–96)

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

Born at Hope End on 27 July 1818, he was the ninth child and fifth son of Edward and Mary Moulton-Barrett. Family members frequently called him “Harry” and “Henny,” names they also applied to his sister Henrietta. As a child, he was tutored in Latin by EBB. Henry apparently had a restless nature, and was more independent of his father than were most of his brothers. Family correspondence contains frequent reference to his restlessness. In a letter to brother George dated 17 June 1840, EBB wrote: “Has Henry made up his mind to some occupation which is not insurmountably objectionable to Papa? I am sure he is too kind, & I hope he is too wise, to cleave any longer to military or naval fancies.” In another letter to George, dated 1 August 1843, she mentioned Henry’s “passion for pilgrimages.” By that time, starting in the autumn of 1836, Henry had already spent about two years studying in Germany with a companion-tutor. In 1844 he and Charles John left on a sea voyage to Egypt. Along with various others in the family, Henry took part in negotiations to ransom Flush from dog-stealers in the 1846 episode shortly before EBB’s marriage. Henry opposed that marriage, as did the other Moulton-Barrett brothers, but there was a reconciliation. In 1860, Henry married a widow, Amelia Morris (née Holland), at Torwood Church, Newton Abbot. They had three sons and two daughters, born between 1862 and 1870. From his father’s estate Henry received nearly £11,000. He eventually acquired a home at Combe Head near Bampton, Devonshire. Later he took up residence at Dunsland, North Devonshire. Surtees Cook describes this in his Diary (Reconstruction, L4), in an entry dated 5 December 1878, as “a grand old place—a most imposing mansion with splendid hall, dining & drawing rooms & bedrooms to match.” By the time of his death, Henry was, in the words of his will, at “Arcott Sidmouth in the County of Devon.” (In this will, the name “Harry” rather than “Henry” is used.) He died on 17 May 1896 and was buried at Sidmouth. Also buried there is his wife, who had died at Dunsland on 13 September 1887. By English laws of primogeniture, the eldest son, Harry Peyton Moulton-Barrett, became the head of the Moulton-Barrett family upon the death of Charles John.

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