FARRINGTON, Henry (by 1471-1549/51), of Farington, Leyland and Worden, Lancs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

Family and Education

b. by 1471, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir William Farrington of Farington by Alice, da. of (Richard or Sir William) Ashton of Croston. m. (1) Anne, da. of (Sir Alexander or William) Radcliffe of Ordsall, wid. of Thomas Tyldesley, ?7s. 2da.; (2) by 1536, Dorothy, da. of Humphrey Okeover of Okeover, Staffs., 1s. suc. fa. 1501. Kntd. 30 May 1533.1

Offices Held

Steward, Eccleston, Heskin, Leyland, Penwortham and Ulnes Walton, Lancs. 1505 and without Eccleston and Heskin 1547; esquire of the body in 1505; commr. subsidy, Lancs. 1512, 1515, 1549, tenths of spiritualities 1535, relief 1550; j.p. 1557-d.; sheriff Feb.-Nov. 1526, 1530-1; ?sec. to the 3rd Earl of Derby.2

Biography

The Farringtons were an old Lancashire family, which had held land from Evesham abbey since the reign of Edward II, Penwortham priory in Lancashire being a dependency of Evesham. At his death in 1501 Sir William Farrington held lands in Farington partly of Evesham and partly of the 1st Earl of Derby. Four years later Henry Farrington acquired a number of duchy of Lancaster stewardships in the area. He was present at the funeral of Henry VII.3

On 14 Sept. 1522 Richard Charnock, described as Farrington’s servant, received conduct money for himself and 202 soldiers serving against the Scots: whether Farrington himself saw service in this or any other campaign does not appear. It was apparently at the instance of the 3rd Earl of Derby that Farrington was knighted at the coronation of Anne Boleyn and it was with Derby that in August 1533 he engaged in the examination of ‘a lewd and naughty priest’ who, among other things, had asked ‘Who the devil made Nan Bullen, that whore, queen?’. He joined Derby with 212 men in 1536 and is said to have been ‘not improbably’ the earl’s secretary.4

His own position in the county and standing at court would probably have been enough to secure Farrington’s return to Parliament in 1529 but it is evident that he could count on Derby’s support. Like his fellow-Member Andrew Barton, he was also related to the sheriff, Sir Alexander Radcliffe, who was perhaps his father-in-law. Of his experience as a Member there is but a single glimpse: on 18 June 1534 one of his younger sons, Robert, appealing to Cromwell for help in obtaining a benefice, complained that he had been unable to proceed to his doctorate at Cambridge because his father had been at great cost at the Parliament and had as yet ‘nothing allowed of the county and divers other ways so charged that he is not able to help me as he was before’. Robert was apparently later disinherited by his father as a married cleric. Farrington was active as a justice of the peace throughout the years of this Parliament, attending sessions 12 times. He probably sat again in 1536, and may have done so in 1539 and 1542, when the names of the Lancashire knights are unknown.5

Farrington was a commissioner for the dissolution of the monasteries. He surveyed Cockersand and was present when an inventory was taken at Whalley in March 1537 and when Furness was surrendered in the following month. The abbot of Evesham wrote to him shortly after its dissolution saying, ‘I judged you my friend’. Despite his part in the Dissolution, Farrington is said to have disapproved of the later suppression of the chantries, having himself arranged for the endowment of a chantry school at Leyland in 1524.6

He settled Farington and Leyland upon the issue of his first marriage and Worden, which he had purchased in 1534, on the son of his second marriage, William, born on 6 Jan. 1537: it seems possible, however, that William was his only surviving male heir. There was litigation after Farrington’s death involving Anthony Browne II of South Weald, Essex, who had married Joan, daughter and heiress of another William Farrington, one of Farrington’s sons by his first marriage. Farrington made his will on 12 Dec. 1549. The executors were his wife, his son William, William Charnock, William Cowper and John Crane, and the supervisors Anthony Browne and John Langton. One of Farrington’s daughters, Cecily, married Robert Charnock, and their son Edward was a page to Anne Boleyn. An inventory was taken of Farrington’s goods in 1551: he was owed £806.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Authors: L. M. Kirk / Alan Davidson

Notes

  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at father’s death, VCH Lancs. vi. 63. Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. cx), 114; J. B. Watson, ‘Lancs. gentry 1529-58’ (London Univ. M.A. thesis, 1959), 291 seq. There are discrepancie