Family Group Sheet
Family Group Sheet
Name(Robert) Barclay FOX
Birth1817
Death1855
FatherRobert Were FOX (1789-1877)
MotherMaria BARCLAY (1785-1858)
SpouseJane Gurney BACKHOUSE
Death1880
FatherJonathan BACKHOUSE (1779-1842)
MotherHannah Chapman GURNEY (1787-1850)
Children
Notes for (Robert) Barclay FOX
Robert Barclay Fox (6 September 1817 – 10 March 1855) was a businessman, gardener and diarist, a member of the influential Quaker Fox family of Falmouth.

Family relationships

He was the son of Robert Were Fox F.R.S. of Falmouth in Cornwall and Maria (born Barclay of Bury Hill, Surrey), his wife. He was usually known as "Barclay Fox".

He was the brother of Anna Maria and Caroline Fox and brother-in law [1] of Edmund Backhouse, M.P. for Darlington, who married the Barclay's cousin, Juliet.

The Journal

Barclay's courtship of Jane Gurney Backhouse is described in his Journal, published in 1979. The 1979 edition of Barclay's journal runs from 1832 to 1854, with most of the entries before his marriage to Jane, in October 1844, and the birth of their five children: four boys and a girl. In September 2008, a new edition was published with additional journal entries from 1845 to 1854.

Polytechnic Society

Barclay and his siblings played a large part in the naming and establishment of the Cornwall Polytechnic Society (from 1835, the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society).[5] After his death, the RCPS Committee recorded

"The Society, however, since our last meeting, has been deprived of the services of Mr. R. B. Fox, who, on all occasions, not only aided the institution by his varied and powerful intelligence but practically and laboriously assisted in carrying it on".

[Travels in 1843

In his diary for 1843, Barclay gives an entertaining account of his travels in France and Italy.

The family businesses

Before he left, on 6 February 1843, his family made in a partner in the firm of G.C. Fox (Shipping Brokers).] Barclay was also general manager of the Iron Foundry at Perranarworthal, from 18 July 1842, when his uncle, Charles Fox, retired.

John Sterling

Barclay's sister, Caroline Fox, also kept a journal, which was published after her death and it was republished in 1972. Barclay and Caroline have interestingly different views on the same events that they witnessed. They were agreed on the great significance of John Sterling in their lives.

Politics and pleasure

Barclay Fox was one of the leaders the ultimately unsuccessful campaign to persuade the Government not to shift the servicing of Post Office Packets from Falmouth to Southampton. He was in a deputation of Cornish worthies who met the Prime Minister on 16 June 1843 (Journal page 345).

In his spare time, he developed Penjerrick Garden, competing with his uncles Charles Fox of Trebah and Alfred Fox of Glendurgan. All three gardens are now open to the public.

Death and after

Barclay Fox died in Egypt on 10 March 1855 from tuberculosis. His wife, Jane Fox died 10 April 1860. Their four sons were brought up by Barclay's unmarried sisters, Anna Maria and Caroline, with Lovell Squire as their tutor. They were:

Robert Fox (1845 – 1915), George Croker Fox (1847 – 1902), Henry Backhouse Fox (1849 – 1936) and Joseph Gurney Fox (1850 – 1912), (known as "Gurney").

Robert Fox married Ellen Mary Bassett. Their son, Robert Barclay Fox (24 July 1873 - 22 April 1934), became a Conservative County Councillor and was High Sheriff of Cornwall in 1920.

The daughter of Barclay and Jane Fox, Jane Hannah Fox, was brought up by her mother's brother, Edmund Backhouse (MP) and his wife.

Jane Hannah Fox married Horace Pym, who edited Caroline Fox's Journal for publication. She was his second wife. Barclay Fox's own journal was published in 1979.

From the Falmouth Civic Society Website

If you dip into the diary of Barclay Fox you will impressed not only by his wide circle of friends and constant visiting to other Fox families in the area but by his wide intellectual interests not confined to his religious beliefs which of course he never questioned. I should explain that the diaries of Barclay Fox born 1817 in Falmouth started when he was a school boy and stopped only when he got married, runs to 10 volumes and makes fascinating reading because you hear about what happens in the day to day lives of a Falmouth family albeit an extraordinary one. For this reason I find the diaries more fascinating than the more celebrated journal of the more famous Caroline Fox. The diaries only contain dates but no names of Months or days of the year as these were of pagan origin.
I should like to read the opening pages from Barclay Foxes 10 volume diary to give you a flavour of what it was to be a 16 year old Fox in Falmouth in 1832 . I was intrigued sometimes by the journal and hope you will be too if ever you read it. What for example was a crocodile doing walking in Arwenack Steet on March 4 th 1832? Barclay doesn’t tell us or perhaps he doesn’t know himself!
Some extracts from the diary of Barclay Fox:
March 4 th 1832
Explored the cavern at Pennance and went aboard the Alchemist.
A rat bit one of my monkeys in his paw. Pappa came home yesterday. I . rode to Perran with Papa to meet Uncle Charles. Saw a crocodile in Arwenack Street.
April 4 th Rowed with Cavendish (his young tutor ) to the Aurora frigate and in the afternoon the boys from the Classical School (now the Marine School in Killigrew Street came for a game of cricket and tea.
 
April 25 th Cholera reached Falmouth today. One old woman has been seized Uncle Charles in a great fright.
 
May 11 th Uncle and Aunt Charles and Uncle Lewis dined here. Rode with the latter to Perran after the afternoon meeting and slept there. Her accounts from London is that the Duke of Wellington has been appointed Prime Minister.
 
May 16 Pappa, Mamma AM and Kitty set off for London this morning in the carriage. I rode to Penjerrick after the meeting to take leave of Uncle Joshua. Dined and lodged at Grove Hill.
May 17 th we got on board the Sir F. Drake a little before 7. Changed her for the Brunswick off Plymouth the wind against us.
 
May l8 th Got up at 5 am and landed at Portsmouth about 9 and was sea sick. Set off for London by coach arriving at 7. Lodged at Cousin Reynolds and met Pappa Mamma AM and C then dined with them.
May 22 nd this evening Uncle Dl Barclay and Cos. Reynolds called and told us the brewery had been on fire with £50K damage done.
I should explain that several Quakers at this time were brewers but drew a line at distilling spirits.
May 30 th went to see the ruins of the brewery and met Uncle and Arthur Barclay there. From there went to Austin Friars to dine where we met our relatives, the Chapmans and Betsy Fry who was Elizabeth Fry. Attended the meeting at Devonshire House. It was dull and long.
Last Modified 29 Jul 2012Created 28 Jan 2018 using Reunion for Macintosh