William Bartlett had come to England in 1852 with his recently widowed mother and elder brother. While in Torquay they became friendly with the immensely wealthy Baroness Burdett-Coutts (1814-1906), heiress of the Duchess of St. Albans, former wife of Thomas Coutts the banker. Baroness Burdett-Coutts paid for Bartlett's education and he entered her employment after attaining a third class degree from Keble College, Oxford. He administered many of her philanthropic funds and travelled to Turkey to oversee her Turkish Compassionate Fund. They became close and married in 1881 when she was in her sixties and he not yet thirty. He contuinued to work on his wife's behalf in various philanthropic ventures, while also serving as Unionist M.P. for Westminster and being employed as a journalist by The Times during the Boer War. The Baroness died in 1906; he outlived her by some 15 years, dying suddenly at his house in Highgate in 1921.