HARINGTON, James II (d.1614), of Ridlington, Rutland.

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

3rd s. of James Harington I of Exton and bro. of John II. educ. Shrewsbury 1564; King’s, Camb. 1570-1, m. (1) Frances (d.1599), da. and coh. of Robert Sapcote (Sapcotts) of Elton, Hunts., 8s. 5da.; (2) 24 Sept. 1601, Anne, da. of Francis Barnard of Abington, Northants., wid. of John Doyley of Merton, Oxon., ?s.p. Kntd. 1603; cr. Bt. 1611.

Offices Held

J.p. Rutland from c.1591, sheriff 1593-4, 1601-2; j.p. Oxon. 1602, sheriff 1606.2


As a third son, Harington did not inherit a great estate: instead he built up one for himself, acquiring by his first marriage the manor of Gunthorpe, Rutland, by an indenture dated 19 Feb. 1596, the manor of Ridlington, Rutland from his elder brother, and perhaps at the same time, Knossington manor and Ouston rectory, Leicestershire. He also purchased the Gloucestershire manors of Thornbury Park and Oldebury, and gained the manors of Sugworth, Berkshire and Merton, Oxfordshire, through his second marriage.3

Harington’s election as knight of the shire can be seen as a move by his family to maintain its lien on the county seat during the illness of his eldest brother John. He stood again, at a by-election in 1601, after the election of the sheriff, Sir Andrew Noel, had been declared invalid. But he was a reluctant candidate, induced to stand because his brother, the senior Member, objected to the sheriff’s wish to bring in his son Edward, a minor. In the event Harington was defeated, possibly because of malpractices by the sheriff or because the Rutland gentry objected to the Haringtons’ monopolizing the county representation. Harington was named to two committees in 1597, the first on a private bill concerning the will of George Durant (8 Nov.), the second on the poor law (22 Nov.). As knight for Rutland he may have attended also the committees on enclosures (5 Nov.), the poor law (5, 22 Nov.), penal laws (8 Nov.), armour and weapons (8 Nov.), monopolies (10 Nov.) and the subsidy (15 Nov.). On 1 Dec. he was licensed to depart, and neglected to leave the usual sums for the poor and for the minister. He was back by 26 Jan. 1598.4

Early in 1603 he travelled north with his brother to meet the new King, who knighted him at Grimston in Yorkshire, and he was among the first baronets, paying a first instalment of £360. He died 2 Feb. 1614 and was buried at Ridlington, where he had already erected a monument to himself and his wife. Calling himself ‘a worm and no man, clothed with earth, full of sin’, he asked to be buried with ‘as little cost as may be’. Though wealthy he left only 40s. to the poor of Ridlington and a similar sum to those of Merton. Having assured his principal estates to his son Edward, he bequeathed a life interest in Thornbury and Morton to his wife, together with household stuff. He provided annuities for his wife and four of his younger sons, and left Gunthorpe, Knossington, Oldebury and a few small properties, in all worth £10,000, to his executors, his sons Edward and Sapcote, to pay his debts and legacies. These included £2,000 to one daughter, £1,000 to another, £500 to his second son, and £1,500 to his five youngest sons. He left a colt to his nephew Lord Harington and nominated him supervisor of the will.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: R.C.G.


  • 1. Folger V. b. 298.
  • 2. GEC Baronetage, i. 53; Vis. Rutland (Harl. Soc. iii), 38-9; VCH Rutland, ii. 17; PRO Index 4208, p. 265.
  • 3. VCH Rutland, ii. 93; C142/342/105; Nichols, Leics. ii. 656-8, 760; Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. xvii. 163, 199.
  • 4. EHR, lxi. 32-44; D’Ewes, 552, 553, 555, 557, 561, 566.
  • 5. I. Grimble, Harington Fam. 145, 165; Lansd. 152, ff. 16-17; VCH Rutland, ii. 94; PCC 9 Lawe; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 405.