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

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1517, 1st s. of (Sir) John Harington of Exton by Elizabeth, da. and h. of Robert Moton of Peckleton Leics.; bro. of Edward. educ. 1. Temple, adm. 10 Feb. 1536. m. by 1539, Lucy, da. of Sir William Sidney of Penshurst, Kent, at least 7s. inc. James and John 8da., 3 other ch. suc. fa. as Aug. 1553. Kntd. June 1565.1

Offices Held

J.p. Lincs. (Kesteven) 1547, Rutland 1558/59-d.; commr. relief, Lincs. (Kesteven) 1550, sewers, Cambs. Hunts., Lincs., Northants., Notts. and Isle of Ely 1555, musters, Rutland and Leics. by 1569; sheriff, Rutland Aug.-Nov. 1553, 1560-1, 1566-7, 1578-9, 1586-7; collector for loan, Rutland 1562.2


James Harington’s patrimony made him the leading landowner in Rutland and he was to add considerably to the family’s lands there and in neighbouring counties. Shortly before his death Lord Burghley included him in a list of ‘knights of great possessions’ who were fit to be made barons and his eldest son John was created one in 1603. From the time he became head of the family Harington could secure the knighthood of the shire almost as a matter of course. The Protestant leaning which may have kept him off the commission of the peace proved no bar to his election to the last three Marian Parliaments and it was not so pronounced as to cause him to oppose one of the government’s bills in 1555. Although he was to sit in four further Parliaments and to be active in county administration, his failure to take advantage of his powerful connexions in Elizabeth’s reign suggests that he was content with the life of a country gentleman. He died on 24 Jan. 1592.3

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: S. M. Thorpe


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age (variously given) at fa.’s i.p.ms, C142/101/68, 101. Vis. Rutland (Harl. Soc. iii), 38-39; I. Grimble, Harington Fam. 73-74; VCH Rutland, ii. 129.
  • 2. CPR, 1547-8, p. 86; 1553, p. 355; 1554-5, p. 109; Lansd. 56, f. 168 seq.; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 342; Osborn coll. Yale Univ. Lib. 71.6.41.
  • 3. CPR, 1554-5, p. 249; 1555-7, p. 244; 1560-3, pp. 90, 392; Lansd. 104, f. 51; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 37; Pevsner, Leics. and Rutland, 297.