BARRINGTON, Sir John, 3rd Bt. (c.1615-83), of Barrington Hall, Hatfield Broad Oak, Essex.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



c. Nov. 1645

Family and Education

b. c.1615, 1st s. of Sir Thomas Barrington, 2nd Bt., of Barrington Hall by 1st w. Frances, da. and coh. of John Gobert of Coventry, Warws. educ. Trinity Coll. Camb. 1633; G. Inn 1635. m. c.1643, Dorothy, da. of Sir William Lytton of Knebworth, Herts., 3s. 5da. Kntd. 8 May 1638; suc. fa. 18 Sept. 1644.2

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Essex 1643-52, 1657, Jan. 1660-80, I.o.W. 1647-8, defence, eastern assoc. 1643, sequestrations, Essex 1643, levying of money 1643, j.p. 1644-53, 1656-70, commr. for new model ordinance 1645; alderman, Newtown c.1645-62; commr. for militia, Essex 1648, Mar. 1660, sheriff, Essex and Herts. 1654-5; commr. for recusants, Hants 1675.3

Commr. for exclusion from sacrament 1646, scandalous offences 1648; member, High Court of Justice 1649.


Barrington’s ancestors had held property in Essex since the early 13th century and from 1572 frequently represented the county in Parliament. The manor of Swainstone in the Isle of Wight, which had come into the family by marriage in the late 16th century, gave them an electoral influence in the borough of Newtown. His father, a relative by marriage of Oliver Cromwell, sat in both the Short and the Long Parliaments, opposed the Stuarts and dominated the county committee in the Civil War. Barrington, like his father a Presbyterian and a Parliamentarian, was a recruiter to the Long Parliament. He abstained from sitting after Pride’s Purge, and refused to act as one of the King’s judges, though he was not removed from the commission of the peace till 1653, when he was imprisoned in the Fleet for his father’s debts. He did not resume his seat with the other secluded Members in 1660, but was appointed to the militia commission.4

Barrington was returned to the Convention for Newtown, but was probably absent from the House throughout the first session. On 9 Nov. 1660 a correspondent wrote to him.

My desire in writing to you at present is not so much to continue a civility to you, as boldly to chide you for neglecting your public trust and absenting yourself when you might be most useful to your private relations. ... There is a bill brought in for the attainder of all those of the King’s judges that are dead before the Act of Oblivion passed, and of all those that have suffered, those that are condemned and those that are fled from justice. This day there was referred to that committee the petition of your cousin Bourchier [Barrington Bourchier] ... to the end the committee here should examine and report the merits of the children as well as the demerits of their father. This work will much concern you for to help your friends.

He seems to have heeded this summons since he was certainly in London by 26 Nov., when he was appointed to the committees on the Earl of Cleveland’s estate bill and the post office bill. His only other committee, three days later, was for the restoration of the dukedom of Norfolk, and he made no recorded speeches, but presumably voted with the Opposition.5

Barrington contested Essex unsuccessfully at the general election of 1661, but was returned again for Newtown. He was listed by Lord Wharton as a friend, but he was not active in the Cavalier Parliament. He was appointed to 15 committees, including in the first session those for the security bill, confirming public acts, restoring bishops to the House of Lords, and the corporations bill. He was added to the committee for regulating the press in 1666. He maintained an ejected Presbyterian minister as chaplain, and his removal from the bench in 1670 indicates that he retained dissenting sympathies. Although there is no evidence that he attended after 1667, he was marked ‘worthy’ on Shaftesbury’s list. On 18 Dec. 1678 he defaulted on a call of the House, probably because of bad health. He did not stand again, and died on 24 Mar. 1683. He was buried at Hatfield Broad Oak. His grandson and heir died soon after coming of age in 1691, but the 5th baronet sat for Essex in seven Parliaments as a Tory.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Paula Watson


  • 1. Abstained after Pride’s Purge, 6 Dec. 1648.
  • 2. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 343; Vis. Essex ed. Howard, 15.
  • 3. Hants Field Club Pprs. ii. 98.
  • 4. Morant, Essex, ii. 504-5; VCH Hants, v. 219; Keeler, Long Parl. 98; D. Underdown, Pride’s Purge, 188, 218, 313; G. E. Aylmer, State’s Servants, 389.
  • 5. Eg. 2650, f. 358; CJ, viii. 179.
  • 6. D. R. Lacey, Dissent and Parl. Pols. 377; Eg. 2650, f. 89.