Cecil Edward Barton 1870-1909.jpgRev Cecil Edward Barton.jpg
Two portraits of Cecil.

Mentions in the memoirs of his mother Emily

[In 1876] Cecil who was just 6 read and repeated poetry remarkably well - with a good memory and pretty manners - and was so old and companionable for his age that his Granny was quite happy left alone with him for the afternoon to amuse her. An abscess had just formed on Cecil's foot at the ankle which caused us anxiety; and was followed by a second which rendered him quite lame, and we took him for advice to Sir James Paget, who said - prophetically - that he would never be able to live in the valleys of rivers. Nor has he - and the lupus from which he has suffered on that foot ever since has been a trial bravely and silently borne.” p79

“You three elder Brothers [Arthur, Jack & Fred] were always good at every kind of sport; but Cecil, to whom this was denied, had music as his compensation. From a child he had shewn real talent in this way; and as he grew up, both Organ and Piano were a great resource to him, and have been so increasingly.” p85

“On Trinity Sunday 1893 our Cecil was ordained at St. Paul’s Cathedral by Bishop Temple, and Father and I and he and Ethel spent a few days at Holland Park, with Great Aunt Mary Elliott. He was 'ordained to the Colonies'; and was to sail for India in October.” p102

“When we returned to Cambridge in September [1893], Cecil's last packings for India were done, and October was soon upon us. October 12 this year was the 30th anniversary of our Wedding Day, and Cecil's last day in England. It was a day of great thanksgiving, though shadowed by the prospect of parting for some years with Cecil. He had a few young friends in to spend the evening and to accentuate the festive, rather than the sad side of the day - and before parting they made a semi-circle round us, & held hands and joined in the chorus which Cecil played, of 'The Old Dutch' - 'We've lived together, love, for 30 years and it ain't been a day too much!'

The morning of the 13th rose grey and sad, but we were all resolved to be brave, and our dear Boy wrote in my Daily Light before he left 'He shall doubtless come again with joy'. It was a hopeful promise indeed wherewith to part; and as I gave him a last embrace in the boudoir at Trinity Vicarage Rutherford's words recurred to me as an inspiring thought 'Lord - I do this for Thee'. Father and Jessie went to the station; and after ¼ hour alone, I went upstairs to comfort Ethel to whom this parting was the greatest sorrow her young life had known. We both realized that we should never again see him as he left us. Time must, and does bring changes. Fred accompanied Cecil to Liverpool, whence he sailed in a Hall Line steamer to Karachi, India, and thence by train to Multan. Fred described the experience as one he would not care to repeat - and many have felt the same after seeing dear ones off in a steamer to the Far East, and watching it drift inch by inch from the pier, and steam slowly down-stream until divided indeed by the great waters - 'It must be for years, and it may be for ever'.” p103

“In September this year [1894] our Cecil was very happily engaged at Simla to the daughter of a very old friend, Esther Broadbent, child of Col. Broadbent and of his wife, formerly Dora Nicholson whom we had known intimately in Calcutta between 1865 and 1870. Esther and her mother came home in November, and Esther soon found a place in our hearts after we met her at her uncle Sir William Broadbent's house in London.” p108

“On October 21 [1896] Cecil and Esther were married at Murree, in India [now Pakistan], by good Bishop Matthews of Lahore. Arthur was alas! the only one to represent the family, and he sent us a delightful account of that happy and festive occasion. Colonel & Mrs. Broadbent grudged nothing to their sweet and only daughter - and the Mother (our friend Dora Nicholson of early Calcutta days) quite accepted Cecil as a son, during the eight months she lived after this marriage - after which a sudden illness called her 'Home'. After a brief honeymoon this young couple settled down in Multan to work there for two years.” p112

Cecil Barton married Esther Broadbent Oct 21 1896 at Murree Punjahb SMALL.jpg
Cecil & Esther's wedding on 21 October 1896 at Murree, now in Pakistan. A larger version of the photograph and information about the guests can be found here.

Cecil Barton & Esther with Teddie aged 19 months and Dora & Joan aged 4 months Taken April 1899.jpg
Cecil with his wife Esther, the twins Dora & Joan (on Esther's knee), and 'Teddie' (standing by Cecil), April 1899.

“I have omitted to say that in December 1904 the Cecils, and their little family of four (including Ronald and Douglas; Joan, Dora's twin, had died of typhoid in 1900) returned home from Kashmir. Having said farewell to India, at least for a time, on account of his own health, and his children's, Cecil undertook deputation work for C.M.S. for some months; and they found a nice pied-à-terre at Gishurst Cottage, near us at Weybridge. It was delightful to have them home this quiet winter.” p129

Jessie Arthur Jackie Susan Bernard Joan Cecil Ted Esther and Dora.jpg
From left to right: Jessie, Jack, Jackie, Susan, Bernard, Joan, Cecil, Ted, Esther and Dora.

Mountaineering Journals

While Cecil was living in Kashmir, from 1893 to 1904, he participated in some mountaineering expeditions, often with one or other of the Neve brothers. Three journals survive from these trips, containing photographs and snippets of local plantlife.

Vicar of Rousdon, Devon

Cecil was vicar here from 1904 to his premature death in 1909.


A scan of the following newspaper clippings was kindly provided by Malcolm Barton, from an album of clippings kept by his grandfather. There is no indication of which publication(s) they are from:

BARTON. -- On Sunday, October 3rd, at Rousdon Rectory, Lyme Regis, the Rev. Cecil Edward Barton, rector of Rousdon and Combe Pyne, and formerly missionary in Punjaub and Kashmir, aged thirty-nine, fourth son of the late Reverend John Barton. Interment Weybridge Cemetery, 2.30, Wednesday."


On Sunday, October 3, quite suddenly, the Rev. C. E. Barton, Rector of Rousdon and Comb Pyne, near Lyme Regis, passed away, aged 39. The preacher's book in the church vestry records that no services were held that day. That morning the unpreached sermon notes lay on his study table with the pen beside them, as the pastor had left them the evening before. There had been no reason to anticipate any break in the Sunday's duties, but at noon, before the physician had time to summon the surgeon to his aid, "he was not, for God took him." The short sixteen years of Cecil Barton's working life were rich in their service for God. After Cambridge days, at Trinity Hall and Ridley Hall, he followed the missionary footsteps of his father, the late Rev. John Barton, joining the C.M.S. Punjab Mission in 1893. Five years later he was transferred to Srinagar, Kashmir, where he worked till 1905, when impaired health and the problem of a home for his four children made it clear that, for a time at all events, his work lay elsewhere. He had married in 1896 Esther Mary Broadbent, only daughter of Colonel Broadbent, C.B., of the Royal Engineers, and niece of the. late Sir William Broadbent.

The year after his return from India, Sir Wilfrid Peek presented him to the rectory of Rousdon, to which was subsequently added the cure of the adjoining small parish of Comb Pyne. It is a lovely spot, perched high above Lyme Regis, where the glint of the sun upon the Channel waves is reflected on the yellow Dorset cliffs and the ruddy headlands of the Devon coast. Here the country folk had come to love their kindly Rector, who made the souls and bodies of his parishioners his constant care; it falls to few to win their way so quickly to the, hearts of their people. In three and a half years he had drawn almost every parishioner to attend the services, having first of all thoroughly repaired and beautified the ancient church of Comb Pyne. The first Sunday he officiated there less than a dozen people were present; the last Sunday there were 150. At Rousdon, with a very small population, there was all the organisation that might be found in a large town parish, and besides his parochial work his influence extended through the diocese. He frequently preached for the C.M.S.; he was on the Diocesan Mission staff, and gave earnest addresses in many parishes during Lent and Advent, and in preparation for the Pan-Anglican Congress. The Ruridecanal Chapter showed its appreciation of his work by electing him a short time ago as one of their representatives at the Diocesan Conference. He was also Secretary for Religious Teaching in the Day Schools. Firm on the ground of his own Evangelical convictions, a broad mind and sympathetic heart made him a persona grata with his clerical brethren, one of whom remarks that, though he did not always agree with him, he invariably felt that "he was one of the ablest and most enlightened members of the Ruridecanal Chapter. His courteous and chivalrous bearing disarmed all opposition." Another adds: "His great power of sympathy enabled him to look at things equally clearly from the standpoint of the poor and ignorant and of his squire; this, I think, was the secret of his influence. When he met me on the 25th at the station he said : 'I have been talking to one of my farmers about the price of wool. I am getting learned in all these things; it gives one points of contact.' Though a small thing, it seems to me to touch the keynote of his life. His unusual musical gifts, his charm of manner and conversation gave him 'points of contact' with many others. He published one charming song, 'Last Year's Leaves,' ' A Child's Lullaby,' and composed many chants and hymn tunes. Last year he also, in conjunction with the Rector of Lambeth, produced the 'Handy Atlas to Church and Empire,' and he was deep in the preparation of his father's memoir when thus suddenly summoned to rejoin him in Paradise. He seemed to us just one of those whom his home, his parish, and our Church could least afford to lose; but 'some day we shall understand of what this end was the beginning.'"

A. J. S."

Authorship of John Barton: A Memoir

Cecil wrote this book about his father Rev. John Barton of Cambridge (1836-1908), but died before he could see it published.

The foreword, written by Handley Moule, Bishop of Durham, has this to say about Cecil:

“A pathetic interest attaches to the authorship of this book. The missionary son who undertook the biography of the missionary father, his father’s true follower in a wealth of capacities covered with the veil of a strong modesty, and called, unlike his father, to work through his life-day under the burthen of imperfect health, was approaching the end of the work when, at the age of thirty-nine, in his Devonshire parish, a sudden pang betrayed internal mischief, and within a day (October 3rd, 1909) he died. Cecil Barton is dear to my memory, from the time when he was a little boy to the days when he was the capable and earnest missionary in the Punjab and Kashmir, and then, when health compelled him to leave the Eastern field, the model country pastor at Rousdon, near Lyme, He was intellectually alert and strong, a fine and cultivated musician, gentlest of personalities, yet attractive and influential with the type of men found in an English station in India, and equally so with Indian natives and with English villagers. His faith was firm and calm, thought out upon the mental side, deep and tender upon the spiritual. It generated in him not so much inward exhilaration, as a tranquil walk of loving duty. Perhaps no young missionary ever went to his far-off work with less of the romantic motive and more of the dutiful.”


With Esther Broadbent (1873-1959):
  1. Lt. Col. Ted Barton (1897-1971)
  2. Dora Barton (1898-1962)
  3. Joan Barton (1898-1900) - twin of the above
  4. Ronald Barton (1901-1986)
  5. Dr. Douglas Barton (1902-1958)