HARYNGTON, Sir James (d.1417), of Fishwick, Lancs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Oct. 1404

Family and Education

2nd s. of Sir Nicholas Haryngton* by his 1st w. Isabel. m. Ellen, da. of Sir Robert Urswyk* of Tatham, Lancs. by his 2nd w. Ellen, and wid. of Richard Molyneux* (d.1397) of Sefton, 3s. inc. Richard†, 2da. Kntd. by Aug. 1403.1

Offices Held

Constable of Liverpool castle, master forester of West Derby, steward of the wapentakes of West Derby and Salfordshire in the duchy of Lancaster, Lancs. 8 Oct. 1404-d. 2

Commr. to take musters, Lancs. Sept. 1406; make arrests 1410 (bis),3 July 1411, Berwick-on-Tweed May 1415; of inquiry, Lancs. Aug. 1413, Mar. 1414;4 to levy archers and lead them to Southampton Mar. 1417.5

J.p. Lancs. July 1413.6

Dep. to Edward, duke of York, as warden of the east march by 6 May 1415.7

Ambassador to negotiate a treaty with the Scots 9 May 1415.8


The first known reference to James Haryngton occurs in March 1397, by which date he and his father, Sir Nicholas, had been given a joint pardon for various trespasses in the parks and chases of John of Gaunt in Lancashire. James had evidently inherited Sir Nicholas’s violent and lawless disposition, as in the following year he took part in an armed raid on the manor of Millom in Cumberland, causing great damage and allegedly making off with goods to the value of £200 from the home of one of his kinsmen. The latter complained to the government, although there is nothing to suggest that the ensuing commission of oyer and terminer brought the offenders to book. In keeping with family tradition, both James and his younger brother, Nicholas, were committed supporters of the house of Lancaster; and both were rewarded, in November 1401, with annuities of £20 and £10 respectively, charged upon the Exchequer. Not only was James present, on 21 July 1403, at the battle of Shrewsbury, but he also had the singular good fortune to capture Archibald, earl of Douglas, an ally of the Percys, whom he sold to Henry IV for a ransom of 900 marks. His valour in the field earned him a further annuity of 100 marks, assigned by the grateful monarch from the profits of pasture land in Blackburnshire. It seems likely, too, that King Henry knighted him after the battle, since a bond which he and Sir Richard Hoghton* offered to the clerk of the hanaper some three weeks later describes him as holding this new rank.9

The death, shortly before February 1404, of his father made comparatively little difference to Sir James’s material circumstances. The bulk of the Haryngton estates went to his elder brother, Sir William, although he did inherit some land in Cumberland, together with modest holdings in the Lancashire villages of Tarleton, Chorley, Hunsworth and Fishwick near Burton. His ownership of the latter led to his being made one of the ‘foreign’ (i.e. nonresident) burgesses of the guild merchant of Preston, whose rulers were only too happy to enlist the support of such a successful crown servant. Not surprisingly, in view of his influential connexions, the county electors sought to return him to Parliament, and just two days before taking his seat at Coventry, in October 1404, Sir James received further preferment in the form of three important local offices on the duchy of Lancaster estates. They brought him additional fees totalling £13 13s.4d, as well as increased authority in the community, where he now occupied an even stronger position. This was in part also due to his marriage to Ellen, the daughter of Sir Robert Urswyk, a leading figure among the Lancashire gentry and a much-valued servant of John of Gaunt. Ellen’s first husband, Richard Molyneux, had left her in possession of dower lands in Sefton, but it was the association which he thus established with the Urswyks that proved most valuable to Sir James. In December 1405, King Henry granted him the farm of all the Lancashire estates of the late William Balderston during the minority of the next heir, subsequently promising the reversion of other properties which were held for life by Agnes Banaster, to whom he was distantly related. The late Sir Robert Urswyk had been at odds with Agnes at various times over rival claims to land, and it seems likely that Sir James was pursuing a family interest on both counts. The farm of 350 marks which he undertook to pay for the tenancy was, in fact, waived as part satisfaction for the earl of Douglas’s ransom, so he derived considerable profit from the transaction.10

In November 1408, Sir James called upon his brother-in-law, Thomas Urswyk*, to testify to the loss of the royal letters patent granting him his original fee of £20 p.a., which had, incidentally, fallen into arrears. Four years later he was summoned to attend Henry IV as a member of the royal bodyguard, and when the King died, in March 1413, his two annuities and various offices were promptly confirmed. He was at this time preoccupied with the settlement of a dispute over the ownership of the manor of Walton in Lancashire, in which he had agreed to act as arbitrator. Local affairs evidently consumed most of his attention, for besides attending the county elections to the first Parliament of the new reign, he also took a seat on the Lancashire bench. Recognizing his military and diplomatic abilities, Henry V chose Sir James to deputize for Edward, duke of York, as warden of the east march; and in this capacity he became involved in the peace negotiations with Scotland which preceded the King’s first invasion of Normandy.11 In common with other leading members of the north-western gentry, Sir James gave every support to the war-effort, recruiting a personal contingent of 30 archers and ten men-at-arms, whom he led with other troops to Southampton. During the march south, blows were exchanged between his own followers and the men of Salisbury, who had previously shown far less enthusiasm for the idea of a costly overseas campaign; and at least five fatalities occurred in the ensuing fracas. Once in France, Sir James and his men proved equally spirited in the face of the enemy, fighting at Harfleur and Agincourt, and sustaining expenses of almost £192, of which at least £51 remained outstanding two years later. On his return to England, Sir James was appointed to supervise the payment of those Lancashire archers and yeomen who had served immediately under the King at Agincourt, although he himself had to remain content with the jewels offered to him by Henry V as a pledge of future settlement. He none the less took up arms again when hostilities resumed in the summer of 1417; and it is a measure of the high regard which he inspired that his name was one of three considered by the royal council for the office of marshal for the forthcoming expedition. In addition to the force of 400 archers which he was commissioned to raise in Lancashire, Sir James mobilized his own contingent, which this time comprised no less than 84 fully armed combatants. He did not survive to lead this impressive retinue, being fatally wounded in an assault launched just before the fall of Caen in early September.12

The task of executing Sir James’s will fell to his widow, Ellen, his two brothers, Sir William and Nicholas Haryngton, his stepson, Sir Richard Molyneux, his father’s former ward, Richard Shirburne*, and his brother-in-law, Thomas Urswyk. He was buried in the friary church of St. Mary the Virgin, Lancaster, as also, eventually, was his eldest son and heir, Richard. The latter, who was to become controller of the household to Henry VI, spent many years as a soldier, fighting beside his father at Agincourt, and in the end presiding over the surrender of Caen to the French some 33 years after Sir James had fallen outside its walls. By the time of his death, Sir James had already arranged suitable marriages for Richard (to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Bradshagh of Blackrod) and his sister, Elizabeth (to William, the son and heir of Sir Henry Norreys of Speke); and his involvement, in 1413, in the affairs of the Parr family suggests that he may also have lived to see the betrothal of another son, William, to the heiress, Ann Parr. He left five children in all, each of whom prospered.13

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.


Variant: Haveryngton. Sir James is not to be confused with his kinsman, James Haryngton of Lancashire, who, in 1409, was involved in the valuation and leasing of the estates of Sir William Thrylkeld (CCR, 1405-9, p. 497; CFR, xiii. 141).

  • 1. Recs. Kendale ed. Farrer and Curwen, ii. 266, 270; VCH Lancs. iii. 134, 194; vii. 30, 108; DKR, xxxiii. 19; CCR, 1402-5, p. 184.
  • 2. Somerville, Duchy, i. 498, 502; DL42/16(1), f. 27v.
  • 3. Chetham Soc. n.s. xcvi. 105.
  • 4. Ibid. 105-6.
  • 5. DL42/17(2), f. 43.
  • 6. Chetham Soc. n.s. xcvi. 105.
  • 7. Cal. Scots. Docs. iv. no. 860.
  • 8. J.H. Wylie, Hen. V, i. 328.
  • 9. CPR, 1396-9, p. 507; 1401-5, p. 14; CCR, 1402-5, p. 184; DKR, xliii. 368; DL42/15, ff. 162v, 187, 16(3), f. 93; Cal. Scots. Docs. iv. no. 648.
  • 10. DL28/27/3; DL29/738/12100; DL42/16 (3), ff. 19v, 93; VCH Lancs. vii. 116, 199; Chetham Soc. xcv. 70-71; n.s. xcvi. 104-5; Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. ix. 10.
  • 11. C219/11/1A; DL42/16, f. 76, 17 (1), f. 3; E404/28/26; CPR, 1408-13, p. 32; 1413-16, p. 74; CCR, 1409-13, p. 418.
  • 12. E101/47/32; E404/31/302; Wylie, i. 478; ii. 42; Somerville, i. 183-4; PPC, ii. 204, 232; Gesta Hen. V ed. Williams, 265; C.L. Kingsford, Eng. Hist. Lit. 289.
  • 13. DKR, xxxiii. 19; VCH Lancs. iii. 134, 194; viii. 30, 108; Chetham Soc. xcv. 109-11; CPR, 1413-16, p. 57; Farrer, ii. 266; HP ed. Wedgwood 1439-1509, Biogs. 425.