BARRINGTON, Sir Thomas (1530-81), of Hatfield Broad Oak, Essex.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
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Family and Education

b. 1530, o.s. of John Barrington of Hatfield Broad Oak by Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Bonham. educ. G. Inn 1554. m. (1) Alice, da. of Sir Henry Parker, (prob. 10th) Lord Morley, 1s. d.v.p. 1da.; (2) c.1559, Winifred, da. of Sir Henry Pole, Lord Montagu, wid. of Sir Thomas Hastings, 2s. Francis and Henry 1da. suc. fa. 1537. Kntd. 1571.1

Offices Held

Chief forester, Hatfield forest; capt. of levies, Herts. 1562; sheriff, Herts. and Essex 1562; commr. musters, Essex 1563, to raise a benevolence 1564, restraint of victuals 1573, grain 1579; j.p. from 1564, sheriff 1580-1.2


Barringtons had lived in Hatfield Broad Oak for generations, the old family seat being Barrington Hall. Thomas Barrington’s second marriage brought him lands in Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and the Isle of Wight, as well as the manor of Clavering in Essex. He was classified as a ‘favourer’ of the Elizabethan church settlement in 1564, the year he bought part of the former monastery at Hatfield Broad Oak, which he converted into a house large enough to receive the Queen in 1576 and 1578. He inherited 120 acres of Hatfield Forest and the office of chief forester, Sir Robert Rich disputing his rights, without, apparently, any lasting ill-feeling, for in 1576 Rich granted him woods and timber there. During the next decade some further arrangements were made between the families, reflected in a bill on an award between them being read in the House of Commons on 16 Mar. 1585.

Barrington served once as knight of the shire for Essex. He is not known to have spoken, and variant spellings of his name preclude certainty as to his committees. Probably they were concerned with the coinage (15 Feb. 1576), the royal forests (8 Mar. 1576), and the goldsmiths (13 Mar. 1576). He died early in 1581, either just before or soon after the end of the parliamentary session, and in his will, dated 6 Feb. and proved 2 May, left £1,000 to his second surviving son Henry and £800 to his son Francis, who was asked to be ‘dutiful, loving and obedient’ to his mother and ‘to avoid the fellowship ... of light, indiscreet and evil advised people’. Barrington also bequeathed £40 to his grand-daughter and directed that certain woods should be felled to pay for these and a few smaller legacies. The executors, in addition to the widow, were Henry, Earl of Huntingdon, Sir William Cordell, Gilbert Gerard I, and Andrew Grey, each of whom received £10.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.H.


  • 1. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 148; Collins, Peerage, ed. Brydges, ix. 470; Morant, Essex, ii. 504; Trans. Essex Arch. Soc. n.s. ii. 7-11; C142/82/62.
  • 2. APC, vii. 120; Egerton 2644, ff. 4, 5, 8-9, 18, 19; Essex RO assize file 35/6/5.
  • 3. Essex Rev. xliii. 226; St. Ch. 5/R16/36; 5/F8/28; Morant, ii. 509; CPR, 1563-6, p. 123; Egerton 2644, f. 16; APC, viii. 144; Lansd. 683, f. 59; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 686; D’Ewes, 248, 255, 368; CJ, i. 106, 112, 115; Cam. Misc. ix(3), pp. 61, 62; PCC 16 Darcy.