HARINGTON, Francis (d.1595), of Stamford and South Witham, Lincs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

Yr. s. of Robert Harington (d.1559) of South Witham by Alice, da. and h. of John Boys of Bourne. educ. L. Inn 1550. m. (1) Barbara, da. and h. of John Sutton, 5da.; (2) Margaret (d.1577), 2s. 1da.; (3) da. of one Webb of Kent, ?s.p.

Offices Held

Recorder, Stamford 1567-94; j.p. Lincs. (Holland, Kesteven) from c.1573, Rutland from c.1577.


Although there is no reference to Francis Harington’s being called to the bar, he was certainly a practising lawyer, as is shown both by his recordership and his part in several land conveyances. From his father he inherited property in Heckington and South Witham, and although he added to this by his first marriage to an heiress and by leasing land from the Crown, he doubtless depended upon his legal practice and offices rather than his land for most of his income. He was active on local commissions of sewers and musters and also as a justice of the peace, and was evidently considered reliable in religion, since he was employed in examining local recusants and in supervising the taking of the oath by the Rutland magistrates in 1592. Through his mother, Harington was a cousin of William Cecil, and in a land settlement of 1573 he acted for Cecil’s son Thomas. No doubt it was the Cecil influence at Stamford which secured him the post of recorder, and return to Parliament for the borough. On 21 May 1572, during the first session, he was ordered by the Privy Council to ‘repair forthwith to the town of Stamford or thereabouts for her Majesty’s service’. In the second session he was appointed to a legal committee (24 Feb. 1576) and in 1581 to another legal committee (10 Mar,) and a private committee concerning Lord Zouche (14 Mar.).

Harington may have been the ‘Master Harington’ chosen by the Great Grimsby electors for the 1559 Parliament before a tardy intervention by Lord Clinton.

Harington died in 1595, leaving a will dated 9 May of that year which, after reserving a life interest for his wife, divided his lands between his two sons. There were also bequests to his daughters and other relatives, including his brother James, cousin John, and son-in-law Sir William Bodenham, who were appointed as overseers to assist his son Thomas, the sole executor.

Lincs, Peds. (Harl. Soc. li), 462; Lansd. 41, f. 169; 53, f. 188; 54, ff. 178-9; 68, f. 112; CPR, 1555-7, p. 87; 1560-3, p. 23; 1563-6, p. 40; Recs. Commrs. of Sewers (Lincoln Rec. Soc. liv), lxiii; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 409; 1581-90, p. 257; APC, xxiii. 259; HMC Ancaster, 9; HMC Rutland, i. 263-4; HMC Hatfield, ii. 52-3; HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 255, 276; E371/402(1); CJ, i. 96, 108, 133; D’Ewes, 212, 213, 305; PCC 29 Welles, 53 Scott.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Roger Virgoe