HARINGTON, James I (by 1517-92), of Exton, Rutland.

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



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1517, 1st s. of (Sir) John Harington of Exton and bro. of Edward Harington. educ. I. Temple 1536. m. by 1539, Lucy, da. of Sir William Sidney of Penshurst, Kent, at least 7s. inc. John II and James Harington II 8da., 3 other ch. suc. fa. 25 Aug. 1553. Kntd. June 1565.1

Offices Held

J.p. Lincs, (Kesteven) 1547, Rutland from c.1559; sheriff, Rutland Aug.-Nov. 1553, 1560-1, 1566-7, 1578-9, 1586-7; commr. musters, Rutland and Leics. by 1569.2


The Haringtons were the leading landowners in Rutland, and Harington himself added considerably by purchase to the family lands there and in Leicestershire. He built the great hall at Exton, the ruins of which are still standing. Through his brother-in-law Sir Henry Sidney he was connected with the Dudleys, and it was the Earl of Leicester who knighted him in 1565. Like them he was inclined to puritanism, being described as ‘an earnest furtherer of religion’ by the bishop of Lincoln in 1564, but he is not known to have taken part in any parliamentary debates on religion. His name is not mentioned in the records of the House for the 1559, 1586 or 1589 Parliaments. During the course of the 1572 Parliament he was named to committees on a private bill for Lord Stourton (13 Mar. 1576), the Queen’s safety (25 Jan. 1581), the sowing of linseed in Hertfordshire (23 Feb. 1581) and wool (23 Feb. 1581). By virtue of his position as first knight of the shire he could have attended the subsidy committees on 22 Feb. 1587 and 11 Feb. 1589.3

Near the end of his life Harington was noted by Lord Burghley as a ‘knight of great possessions’, fit to be made a baron. His will, dated 7 Apr. 1591, made generous provision for his servants and friends. Nearly all his lands went to his eldest son, John, who received a barony in 1603. One manor, certain leases and tenements were divided between his younger sons Henry and James, whom he made joint executors. Subsequently, by a codicil dated 22 Jan. 1592, just before his death, he appointed James sole executor and it was he who proved the will four days later, afterwards erecting at Exton a fine monument to his parents.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. C142/101/68; Vis. Rutland (Harl. Soc. iii), 38-9; I. Grimble, Harington Fam. 73-4. His M.I. gives his age at death as 80 but the other authorities cited make him several years younger.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 342; Lansd. 56, f. 168 seq.
  • 3. CPR, 1554-5, p. 249; 1555-7, p. 244; 1560-3, pp. 90, 392; Lansd. 104, f. 51 seq; CP; Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 37; D’Ewes, 262, 288, 300, 409, 431; LJ, i. 115, 119, 129.
  • 4. PCC 1 Harrington; Grimble, 74.