ESSINGTON, John (c.1667-1740), of Gossington Hall, Slimbridge, Glos.
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Family and Education
b. c.1667, 2nd s. of John Essington of Gossington Hall by Elizabeth, da. of Francis Haslewood of Uphenham, Worcs. educ. L. Inn 1691. m. (1) 14 Aug. 1697, Margaret (d. 1702), da. and coh. of John Godfrey, clerk of Mercers’ Co., and h. to her bro. Thomas Godfrey, 1da.; (2) aft. 1702, Mary (d. 1763), s.p. suc. bro. 1703.1
Clerk of Mercers’ Co. ?1697–d.; gov. St. Thomas’ Hosp. 1719.2
Essington’s grandfather (d. 1680) purchased Gossington Hall, Gloucestershire. His father served briefly as an alderman of Gloucester (1687–9), suggesting strong Toryism, and was probably the man who subscribed £3,000 to the land bank. Essington himself gave his age as 30 and his address as of Lincoln’s Inn on his marriage licence of August 1697: in fact he was residing with John Godfrey at Mercers’ Hall, whose will of that year described him as ‘now dwelling with me’. He married Godfrey’s daughter seven weeks after her father’s death. Through his marriage Essington acquired London property, and in May his wife inherited at least £4,000 from her brother, Thomas. Essington’s wife died in March 1702, leaving him by her will of December 1697 her Bedfordshire estates and probably much else besides. Further additions to his estate no doubt followed the death of his father (?1701) and his brother, William, in 1703.3
At some point, possibly as early as 1697 in succession to Godfrey, Essington became clerk of the Mercers’ Company. He had property at Chesham and this, combined with his Toryism, made him a credible torch-carrier for the interest of Sir John Pakington, 4th Bt., in Aylesbury. Although defeated in 1708, he was marked as a Tory on a list of early 1708 which detailed the returns of the general election, even to the extent of revealing the size of his vote. He was successful in 1710 and classed as a Tory on the ‘Hanover list’ and as one of the ‘worthy patriots’ who in the 1710–11 session detected the mismanagements of the previous administration. His one appointment of note was on 22 Mar. 1712 to draft the Aylesbury to Bicester highway bill. Introduced by Lord Cheyne (Hon. William*), he presented in July of that year the Aylesbury address in favour of peace. He was re-elected in 1713 and was classed as a Tory in the Worsley list. He did not stand in 1715, but was a signatory to the attempted compromise for the shire seats in Buckinghamshire. However, he retained his seat on the Gloucestershire bench.4
Essington was clearly a wealthy man, although he may on occasion be mistaken for John Essington of Wandsworth (d. 1729), sheriff of Surrey in 1724, who was involved in copper manufacture. In 1710 a John Essington owned ten shares in the East India Company and stock worth between £500 and £2,000 in the Bank of England. On the marriage of Essington’s only daughter to the Irish peer Lord Kinsale in 1725, Hearne wrote that she ‘will be a fortune of £100,000’, and considered Essington himself to be ‘a gentleman that bears a very good character’. At this point Essington appears to have been resident in his property at Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, where his wife continued to live after his death. He died on 21 Oct. 1740, ‘suddenly, after eating grapes’, leaving a considerable fortune to his daughter and instructions that his wife should complete ‘my house, outhousing, garden walls, planting and any other conveniency or ornaments at Gossington Hall’. His will mentioned lands in Buckinghamshire, Cheshire, Devon and Hertfordshire as well as houses in London.5