Edward Baring was a grandson of the firm's founder Sir Francis Baring. He was the fifth son of Henry Baring, but the first by Henry's second marriage. In 1861 Edward Baring married Louisa Bulteel. They had seven sons, two of whom later became partners of Barings, and three daughters.
Edward Baring was admitted as a partner of the firm in 1856, despite the misgivings of Joshua Bates, one of the senior partners at the time, who doubted his business judgment. After the death of Thomas Baring in 1873 the firm was controlled by Edward Baring and Russell Sturgis. Following Sturgis's retirement in 1882, Edward Baring became the senior partner.
For many years he was admired and respected throughout the City. From 1879 to 1891 he was director of the Bank of England and he was also chairman of Lloyds from 1887 to 1892. He purchased Membland, a country estate on the Devon coast and had a London house in Charles Street, Mayfair. In 1885 he was raised to the peerage and took the title Baron Revelstoke.
However, under his leadership in the 1880s Barings began to take more risks in some aspects of its work. The firm underwrote increasingly large proportions of the stock it issued and as a result sometimes found itself taking large amounts of stock for its own account. Towards the end of the 1880s Barings became increasingly active in the issuing of Argentinean stock, despite the country’s economic circumstances.
It was impossible for Barings to sell the large quantities of Argentinean stocks on its books and by the end of 1890 the firm was in the grip of a liquidity crisis. It was forced to turn to the Bank of England for assistance and a loan was arranged. A new company, Baring Brothers & Co Limited, was formed to take over Barings’ business.
Edward Baring was seen as being primarily responsible for the firm’s problems and he did not play a role in the newly-formed Baring Brothers & Co Limited. Meanwhile his houses, furniture and pictures were sold as the partners were personally liable for the firm’s debts.
When Lord Revelstoke's Membland Estate was sold in 1915, Church Cottage was bought personally by the then Rector of St Peter Revelstoke. (Rev'd Roome) and two church wardens. They subsequently created a trust to ensure that the use of the property was to be in the best interests of St Peter's Church and the Revelstoke community.
For many years Church Cottage was lived in by the Sexton and his family. This method of purchase had the advantage that it prevented Church Cottage being treated as Glebe land and thereby being appropriated by the Diocese.
In 1991, Church cottage was sold for £121,000 and a formal trust was registered to administer the proceeds - again in the interests of St Peter's Church and the Revelstoke community. The first meeting of the trustees took place in 1993 and since then over £176,000 has been distributed in grants to local organisations and individuals. This has been made possible as a result of a good increase in the value of the trust's investments.
The objects of the trust are broadly to use its income to benefit the local community. Each year the trustees ask for grant applications from village organizations, causes and individuals. In the past five years an average of £10,000 has been distributed.
In addition, The RCT has owned since 2005 the freehold of the premises on Newton Hill, which are occupied by the Community Post Office and Stores. All loans (which together with donations to the Post Office Action Group enabled the premises to be purchased) have now been repaid and the Trust has also made improvements to the building. Currently the RCT supports the Post Office & STores business financially by way of a rent waiver, receiving a token £100 per year.
Under the terms of the Trust, the Trustees are empowered to receive donations or bequests to further the aims of the RCT.
Mary Wilcox (Chairman RCT)
The Trustees of the Revelstoke Trust have awarded Grants/Pledges worth a total of over £9,000 to the following:-
Newton & Noss Village Hall
Yealm Cricket Club
The Tilly Institute
Holy Cross Church
Yealm Gig Rowing Club
Newton & Noss Regatta
Thursday Lunch Club
St Peter's Churchyard (maintenance)
St Peter the Poor Fisherman (maintenance)
It should also be noted that the Revelstoke Trust is only charging the Post Office & Stores a peppercorn rent to help the Post Office financially.
Sue Hallett (Hon. Secretary RCT)