Gene Surfing

Adventures in Family History

John Harington of Stepney

Farmer BullshotI have recently obtained a copy of Ruth Hughey’s book John Harington of Stepney: Tudor Gentleman, published in 1971. How does it compare to my own research and does it contain any other useful information?


I have deliberately avoided reading Ruth’s account of the life of John up to now so that I wouldn’t be influenced while I was doing my own research – this being the only book ever published about the life of John Harington of Stepney, my 11x great grandfather.

John Harington of StepneyRuth includes a portrait of John, clearly in his later years. This is held by the Victoria Gallery in Bath and although it has not been authenticated as being John Harington of Stepney it came originally from the Harington family portrait collection.

Generally I think we agree about John and the key events in his life and much of the generally available information about him clearly comes from this book or from the same sources that Ruth identifies.

That John is often confused with his cousin, Sir John of Exton, is also mentioned and the source of some of the confusion is identified, but this doesn’t prevent incorrect information still being circulated today and the publication by his son, Sir John of Kelston, Nugae Antiquae, doesn’t help.

This book does show up some issues with my current Harington tree which I will need to sort out, in particular the relationship with the Exton branch of the family, but mostly it supports my current research.

One thing that Ruth did point out was that John, unlike other poets and writers of the period [who’s works John collected], was prominent through the lives of four different monarchs – Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and then Elizabeth.

But first of all who was John Harington, son of Alexander, and why was he living in poverty in Stepney only a few years after his family were the most prominent family in the north of England?


Lost Fortunes


One of the family that was killed at the battle of Wakefield in 1460 was Sir John Harington of Hornby, the brother of Sir James of Brierley who later died at Bosworth in 1585 and to whom John Harington claimed kinship.

The Stanley family, despite desperate attempts by their Harington cousins, managed to gain the wardship of the two daughters [and heirs] of Sir John and married them into the Stanley family in an attempt to claim the Hornby estates.

But it was the defeat of Richard III at Bosworth – to whom the Haringtons had been loyal followers – that destroyed the family fortunes, with the remaining family members attainted and their properties forfeit, to the benefit of the Stanleys, who switched sides during the battle.

The Stanley family could be said to have created the Tudor dynasty by this single act of betrayal at Bosworth and at the same time destroyed their main rivals in the north and several of their allied families; they became one of the most powerful families in England and the Haringtons were reduced to poverty.

It is interesting, then, to see how John Harington of Stepney could have been so devoted to the Tudors that had destroyed his family, unless this was just an attempt to recover the lost family fortunes any way he could.

Despite being loyal to Elizabeth during the reign of her catholic sister, his involvement in the Lady Jane affair and his allegiance to Admiral Seymour, for which he ended up in the Tower of London several times, he managed to survive Tudor life and pass on a comfortable inheritance to his descendants – although perhaps not the inheritance he had hoped for.


Gentleman of the Chapel


John was perhaps born earlier than my previous estimate of 1525 as he seems to have been in the royal household in 1538. But, as a chorister my estimated age of 13 may not be too far from the truth, although Ruth suggests a year or two older.

In this year he was granted an annuity of twenty marks along with Avery Burnet, described as a “gentleman of the King’s Chapel”, although it seems this form of address did not apply to John himself.

An earlier birth date of 1517, suggested by the Dictionary of National Biography  and repeated in the History of Parliament and Wikipedia, would mean he was about 21 at this point, and surely entitled to be called a gentleman?

John Harington (or Harrington) (c.1517-1582) was an English official working for Henry VIII. [wikipedia]

But this may be due to the assumption that John was older in order to hold the position of treasurer under Henry VIII. That position was actually held by his distant cousin, Sir John Harington of Exton, who was about 20 years older, and even if John had been 21 this is still too young to have held such a responsible position.


thomas-tallisIn some commentaries John is said to have been organist at the chapel royal in 1540 [which would again imply that he was older than 13] but this is incorrect and it was Thomas Tallis who became organist at this time and John studied music under him.

Whether John was actually the organist for the chapel at any point is not recorded but he was “much skilled at musicke which was pleasing to the king” according to the writings of his son.

John’s father, Alexander, is said to have died in 1539, however Ruth identifies another record from 1544 regarding the purchase of “The Red Lion” by one Alexander Harington so is the earlier death record incorrect, or was there another son, Alexander, who either died in 1539 or was the one purchasing the property?

Ruth also says that John had at least one other brother, Thomas, who is shown in records about this time, again in relation to property. Perhaps he had some sort of inheritance from their father, Alexander, if he had died 5 years earlier, although this disagrees with other accounts regarding the family’s poverty.

John was supposedly born in the prebend house in Stepney, which implies that his father, Alexander, may have been associated with the church.

Prebend: The portion of the revenues of a cathedral or collegiate church formerly granted to a canon or member of the chapter as his stipend.

Perhaps it was his father’s association with the church that helped John obtain his position in the Chapel Royal, rather than any family links with Sir John Harington of Exton or another [closer] cousin, James who was Clerk of the Bakehouse at court and who, in any case, had died by 1524?

It is possible the John only had access to this property later in life [or perhaps another close to St. Paul’s] and he may have lived elsewhere with his father, Alexander, and his mother in Stepney. There is some later mention of a garden and servants and of entertaining important and influential friends, which goes somewhat against the family’s claims of poverty.


Grant of Arms


Later in his life, John Harington and his son, Sir John of Kelston, spend much time and money trying to re-establish themselves as legitimate heirs to the Harington family ancestral lands of Brierley and Hornby but without success.

The granting of arms to John Harington of Stepney in 1568 is a bit vague about his pedigree saying only that he was descended from a younger son of the Brierley branch of the family.

John Harington of Kelston in the Countie of Somersett sonne of Alexander Harington descended of a younger brother of the Haringtons of Brierley in the Countie of Yorke …

This “younger brother” has been assumed to mean Sir James, Dean of York, but Ruth suggests that Alexander’s father may have been from a different branch of the family – or even a different family altogether, which is explored below.

Had the College of Arms been persuaded to grant these arms, against their better judgement, but would not go as far as identifying a direct pedigree? Or had they established a link to the family but had simply omitted some of the details, and if so then why would they do this?

The design of the arms granted had a checked border “for difference” around the Harington arms, which did not seem to please the family and both John and his son continued to force their claim and eventually were able to use the Brierley arms, although they never reclaimed the associated lands.

In 1635 the succeeding John Harington of Kelston surrendered to the king his interest in the manors of Brierley, co. York; Farleton in Lonsdale, co. Lans.; Farleton in Kendale, co. Westmorland; and in all other lands of Sir James Harington, attainted in 1485, which John Harington (of Stepney) had by grant from Queen Elizabeth in 1570. page


Alexander


The key to this mystery is the identity of John’s father, Alexander of Stepney, who is widely identified as the illegitimate son of Sir James Harington, Dean of York. But the identity of his mother could be equally as important.

The name Alexander is not used in the Harington family but is widely used in the Radcliffe family – who have close connections to the Haringtons – giving some weight to the theory, suggested to Ruth and repeated in her book, that Alexander may have been a member of the Radcliffe family and had changed his name.

As a natural son, Alexander would probably have taken his surname from his mother [perhaps Radcliffe], but it is possible for him to have been officially recognised by his father and then to have used the Harington name. However if his father was Sir James, Dean of York, he may not have wanted to acknowledge a illegitimate son or perhaps he simply died before this could be done?

James died on 1st December 1512, apparently naming his cousin James Harington, Clerk of the Bakehouse, as his sole heir in his will. According to Misc. Gen III. [and Ian Grimble in his book about the Harington family], this will was written on 2 Sep 1497 which would have been after the birth of any son – at least from my estimates. If he had intended to recognise a son and heir it would probably have been in his will.

But there are no references to this will elsewhere and Ruth states that he died intestate so perhaps this was based on information that came from James of the Bakehouse saying that he was the heir of James, Dean of York? Certainly he seemed to be the closest living member of the family who could make such a claim at the time.

To back up Ruth’s view there are records that it was the church that managed James’ estate and his debts after his death, and there seems to have been some provision made in the administration if an heir should appear about the next feast of St. Michael [29 September].

aliqui agnate consanguini seu affine ipsius Jacobi defuncti

I estimate that Alexander was born around 1595 when James would have still been a young man and he may have visited his father regularly at about this time of the year. He would have been about 21 when James died and he may then have used the Harington name whether entitled to do so or not.

Was Alexander his illegitimate son or did James take a young wife who died in childbirth? If so then the marriage is not recorded and I would go for the first theory, although neither could be the truth.


According to Ruth one pedigree shows James having two sons, James and Alexander, which would probably best fit into a scenario where he had actually married, rather than having two illegitimate sons, but this could be a simple mistake where the name of his son and his own name were confused.

If he had married then I don’t think there would have been any controversy about the pedigree of John of Stepney, and his claims for the Brierley estate may have been more successful – even if official records had been lost there would still have been family members and other officials who had some recollection of the event.

Also according to Ruth at least two pedigrees show that another John Harington, the natural son of Sir James of Brierley, had a daughter, Anne, who may be another key player in this whole mystery.

This John had been officially recognised by his father as heir and is then said to have been poisoned by the Stanleys after his father was killed at Bosworth, to prevent any further claims on the estates that the Stanley family had inherited.

In printed pedigrees the death of John of Brierley was in 1510, some time after the death of his father and it may be that he just died of natural causes and the Stanley’s involvement was a malicious rumour. The source of this rumour seems to have been a letter written by one of the two Harington daughters that were married into the Stanley family.

harington pedigree 3

According to Ruth, Anne is shown in one pedigree as having married A. Radcliffe but also as having married James Harington, the son of Sir James, Dean of York.

Is it possible that Anne actually married Alexander Harington, the son of James, who would be a second cousin, and would also have been known as Alexander Radcliffe having taken his mother’s name due to his illegitimacy – assuming she was a Radcliffe?

If so then both pedigrees are correct and Anne Harington was the mother to John of Stepney thus bringing together two branches of the family and strengthening the later claims on the Brierley estates by John and his son.

Thomas = Elizabeth Dacre
  James of Brierley = Joan Neville
    John = ?
      Anne = Alexander Harington alias Radcliffe
  Robert = Isabella Balderston
    James, Dean of York = ? Radcliffe
      Alexander = Anne Harington

I think this is a good solution that fits in with most of the known facts and accounts for some of the differences – but could it be true?

Working back from the birth of John of Stepney in about 1521, I estimate that Anne was born about 1500 [assuming that her father died in 1510, as stated] and Alexander 5 or 10 years earlier when his father was still a young man and before he entered the church.

I do not have any evidence that Anne actually existed, other than the claims in Ruth’s book, but if she did [and was John of Stepney’s mother] it would help resolve several issues with regard to his claims on the Brierley estates.

And it would certainly go some way to explain the rather vague pedigree attached to the grant of arms, with neither parent being entirely legitimate or entitled to inherit.

Possibly Anne, daughter of John who died in 1510, may have been mixed up with Anne, daughter of Sir John, who was killed at Wakefield in 1460 and who was one of the two sisters married into the Stanley family.


Radcliffe


Another possibility, suggested earlier, was that Alexander was never a Harington, but simply changed his name – but he must have had a very close relationship with the Harington family for any chance of the grant of arms to his son, John, to be successful.

If Alexander had married Anne Harington, daughter of the poisoned John, then there may have been a family effort to regain the estates and changing his name to that of his wife may have been a part of that process.

One possible candidate is Alexander, the second son of Sir Alexander Radcliffe of Ordsall (1476-1548)  who’s grandmother was Agnes, daughter of Sir William Harington of Hornby. page

If correct then this Alexander was born about 1502 and that little is known about him makes sense if he changed his name. Personally I think he may not fit with other events, but it is chronologically possible for him to have married Anne, born about the same time, changed his name to Harington and had a son, John, by about 1521.

Another source, A Catalogue of Books Printed in the Fifteenth Century held in the Bodleian Library, shows Alexander, from this family, deceased in 1570, which indicates that he had not changed his name and cannot be the same Alexander who died in 1539, unless, of course, this record is incorrect.

alexander radcliffe

But if not this Alexander then perhaps another member of the family – or perhaps not a Radcliffe at all!


Another possibility is yet another Alexander Radcliffe, the third son of Alexander Radcliffe and Agnes Harington [and uncle to the Alexander mentioned above].

Pedigrees show that he married Anne Travers and became the ancestor of a line of Radcliffes settled in the counties of Buckingham and Middlesex.

He would have been born about 1440 so is unlikely to have been the father of John Harington, but he could have had a son – or even a grandson – Alexander who could have married Anne Harington.

radcliffe 3

The fact that the family were associated with Middlesex and the close family associations with the Haringtons helps to place him into this story but I think the arguments for this are very weak.

Two descendants, Dorothy and Edward [shown above], married into the Gerard family of Harrow on the hill, a family with strong business connections to William Stubbes who married Hester Harington the son of John of Stepney and Awdrey Malte.


Standish


Sir James Harington, of Wolphege Manor, Brixworth [1443-1497] was another cousin from a relatively unremarkable branch of the family – so unremarkable that Ian Grimble, in this definitive work on the Harington Family, doesn’t mention them at all!

This Sir James, who was apparently knighted at the coronation of Henry VII, was a cousin to both Sir James, Dean of York and Sir James who died at Bosworth, the father of poisoned John and also of James Clerk of the Bakehouse [who’s son Stephen, was the last heir to the Harington estates with a documented pedigree, and who held the reversion of the Brierley estates]. page

Sir James married Isabella, the daughter of Alexander Radcliffe of Ordsall [and sister of Alexander, mentioned above] although Isabella is shown as Anne in the pedigree below, and this pedigree does not entirely agree with that in Ruth’s book or Ian Grimble’s history of the Haringtons.

harrington 1

The inquisition after his death shows that this James Harington left ten daughters – Agnes, Elizabeth, Alice [Alicia], Margaret, Isabella, Allianore, Joan [Johanna], Anne, Clemence and Katherine.

There was also a son, William, who drowned crossing the river Mersey at Northenden along with his wife “submersus cum uxore” on the day they were married in 1490. page

Strangely this was also the fate of William Tatton, of Northenden, in 1616 who’s father Robert, is mentioned in several of my other writings, and it sounds as if both Williams may have drowned at exactly the same place, close to a weir owned by the Tatton family. page

One of these daughters, Alice, was married to Ralph Standish and they had a son Alexander, possibly named after his maternal [Radcliffe] grandfather, but this was also a common name in the Standish family.

Alexander Standish was born about 1503, the son of Ralph and Alice, and died, [coincidentally?], on 17 June 1539, the same year as the death of John of Stepney’s father.

According to some pedigrees he married Anne, the daughter of William Molyneaux of Sefton and had several daughters, but could he also be the father of a son born about 1521?

This partial pedigree shows just how closely the Radcliffe, Standish and Harington families were related over several generations.

John Radcliffe = Clemence Standish
Alexander Radcliffe = Agnes Harington dau. William
James Harington = Isabella Radcliffe
Ralph Standish = Alice Harington
Alexander Standish = Anne Molyneux?

Some records show that Alexander and Anne Molyneux were married in 1518 but most show that Anne was born in 1509, so would have only been 9 years old when married and could not have had any children until about 1525, even if this date is correct.

Could John have been Alexander’s son, born before he married Anne, or perhaps even the son from a previous marriage?

If so then John’s mother could have been Anne, the daughter of the poisoned John Harington, mentioned above, which would also have strengthened his claims on the Brierley arms and estates.

And could the record of Alexander’s death therefore actually be correct, but the name of Standish forgotten – or ignored? Could he have actually have married Anne Harington and not Anne Molineaux?

The record of Alexander Harington alive in 1544, mentioned by Ruth, could be unrelated and where does the death record for John’s father in 1539 come from anyway? This date may have been assumed from a poem written by John for his mother in 1540, presumed to be about the death of his father.

But if John’s father was Alexander Standish then what about his brother, Thomas? Why would he take the Harington name just because his brother had done so, unless this is yet another assumed relationship and Thomas was not his brother at all?

Although the dates for Alexander Standish match [almost perfectly] to John’s father, his mother must have been a Harington otherwise there could be no claim on either the Brierley or Hornby estates.

The only other surviving branch of the family was that of another James, know as James Generosus who was Clerk of the Bakehouse in the royal household, and he held the reversion to the family estates which was passed to his son Stephen when he died in 1524.

At some point John Harington of Stepney acquired these rights from Stephen, perhaps in exchange for paying his debt, but the Brierley and Hornby estates were never recovered by his family, possibly because John [unlike Stephen] could not prove his direct lineage and therefore his entitlement.


Some ancestral trees show several children to Alexander Standish and Anne – although none of them are consistent – and Alexander is shown to have died in Standish, but again this may have been assumed.

The History of the County, Palatine and Duchy of Lancaster, Volume 4, through the ownership of the manor of Clifton, shows that Ann Molineux had actually married someone else.

Elizabeth Clifton the heir of Cuthbert Clifton, who died 1512, had married, as her second husband, Sir William Molineux of Sefton who died in 1548.

Ann Molineux, his daughter, heiress of her brother Thomas, who inhabited Clifton, conveyed the manor in marriage to Henry Halsall, of Halsall.

Perhaps this Anne was a previous generation or a cousin, but if Alexander Standish did not marry Ann Molineux then who did he marry?


Subterfuge


In order to improve his chances of a claim on the Brierley estates it may have been necessary for John of Stepney to fabricate [or at least suggest] a male Harington ancestor and it is easy to see why Sir James, Dean of York would have been chosen for this subterfuge having never married, or had any known children, and who died without making a will.

Perhaps John was deliberately vague about his pedigree when he applied for a grant of arms in order to help create the impression that his father, Alexander, was the natural son of James with little knowledge of his father?

Later claims by Sir John Harington, that he was directly descended from Sir James of Brierley, may therefore be more accurate than previously thought if his mother was Anne, daughter of James’ son John.

In this case Alexander’s son, John of Stepney – who may have been named after his maternal grandfather – was descended from a younger son of the Brierley branch of the family, as mentioned in the grant of arms, but I doubt this helped his claim on the Brierley and Hornby estates not being a direct male descendant.

And this proved to be the case, so perhaps we are not too far from the real story here.


More Illegitimacy


Awdrey Malte, John Harington’s first wife, had previously been engaged to an illegitimate son of Sir Richard Southwell, Richard Darcy [his mothers name], according to the history of parliament, probably based on the following extract from the will of  her father and royal tailor, John Malte written in September 1546.

And all suche other manours landes tenement[es] and hereditament[es] as I have to her lymyted gyven assigned and appoynted in as full ample and large maner as is declared and comprised in a pair of indentures made betwene me and sir Richard Sothewell1 knyght and other concernyng the mariage of the said Audrey …

This has been interpreted as an arrangement between John Malte and his good friend Richard Southwell for the marriage of Awdrey with Richard’s son and perhaps other documents support this that I have not seen?
John Malte died shortly after making his will, and was replaced as royal tailor in December 1546 but probate was not granted until June of the following year.
Royal InheritanceI think it unlikely that the King had already matched his darling daughter with John Harington at this point and her marriage was not arranged until after the king’s death in January 1547 and the rise of the Seymours during the reign of Edward VI. But it was certainly what was believed by later generations of the Harington and Markham families.
For a more romantic interpretation of this story I can recommend Royal Inheritance by Kate Emerson.

Incidentally Sir Richard Southwell sat on the commission that finally released John Harington from the Tower in January 1555. John had spent £1000 to secure his release, according to his son, although the official amount on his release was £100 …

Bound for their good abearing, order and fine at Pleasure.

Does this show an element of exaggeration on the part of Sir John or did his father have to spend more money in order to get to the point of being considered for release, or just for the general cost of being confined?

This is another point that Ruth and I agree on; the unreliability of Sir John Harington of Kelston when it comes to information about his father and the earlier periods of his life, and in particular his first wife.


Brierley Arms


Harrington KnotRuth noted that it was not until 1597 that Sir John Harington was finally granted the right to use the arms of the Brierley branch of the family  – the single fret design.

This is perhaps why the older arms of the Harington family are shown on the Codrington memorial in Bristol cathedral and had, until recently, been unidentified.

The marriage between Robert Codrington and Anne Stubbes was in 1595, just a few years before the final grant of the Brierley arms.

Anne Stubbes was the eldest daughter of Hester Harington, the daughter of John and Awdrey, who had married William Stubbes, an agent of Sir Francis Walsingham, when she was about twenty years old.

Clearly Anne was proud of both her Stubbes and Harington pedigrees as both designs were included on the memorial, which she had commissioned after the death of her husband, Robert Codrington, in February 1618 [1619].

The fretty design used on the memorial is also reflected in the dress worn by Mary Rogers, the wife of Sir John of Kelston, in a portrait which was painted in 1592 a few years before the final grant to use the Brierley arms, although these are represented by the single knot design that she is holding in her left hand. page


Hester


There is some mention of Awdrey Malte in Ruth’s book, although little about her daughter Hester, but I think I have been able to fill in some of the gaps in my other writings. page

… in 1568, Hester, Harington’s daughter by Ethelreda, who had probably just come of age, passed her rights to the manor of Watchyngfeld, and other lands there, to her father. This appears to be the last reference to Hester.

There is a mention of a portrait of Hester, but not of her mother as in other references. The description of the sitter differs from another comments but could still be the same little girl, just a different interpretation.

A portrait … is traditionally held to be a contemporary painting of Hester as a child of eight or nine. It shows a pathetic little girl with a sad expression, much beyond her years.

If Hester was born in late 1554 then she would certainly have been under 5 years of age when her mother died sometime before 1559 [probably by 1556], and perhaps this reflects her sad appearance several years later.

If there is a portrait of Awdrey then it cannot be contemporary with the one of her daughter described above.

John and Awdrey were married for about 7 years before the birth of Hester, but whether there had been any other children is not known – certainly Hester is the only one that survived.

Hester married William Stubbes, an agent and receiver of Sir Francis Walsingham, in 1573, had three daughters that survived [a son “Harington” and several other daughters did not] and died in 1639 at the age of 85 in Watchfield, Berkshire.


John Malte


It seems as if Ruth had not seen a full transcription of the will of John Malte as she references only an extract in her book.

In particular she quotes later writings by Sir John Harington in regard to King Henry himself being involved in matching his daughter Etheldreda with John of Stepney.

However the will appears to show that Awdrey was engaged to a son of Sir Richard Southwell, and it was only after the Seymours came to power, following the death of Henry, that John and Awdrey were married.

John Harington was part of the household of Thomas Seymour, the younger of king Edward’s two uncles, and they had prominent positions at court during the early years of his reign.

And although John Harington had been well established in Henry’s court it is unlikely that he was personally known to the king other than through Henry appreciating his music, in particular his Black Sanctus, written while studying under Thomas Tallis.

At one point, in the writings of Sir John Harington, he refers to his father’s first wife as Hester instead of Awdrey or Ethelreda.

My father is wont to say, that Kynge Henry was used in pleasant mood to sing this verse; and my father, who had his good countenance, and a goodlie office in his Courte, and also his goodlie Esther to wife, did sometyme receive the honour of hearing his own songe … having been much skilled in musicke which was pleasing to the king, and which he learnt in the fellowship of good Maister Tallis, when a young man.

Personally, and based on other writings of Sir John regarding his father and his first wife, I think this is more likely to be a misremembrance, and perhaps shows that John Harington  senior did not pass accurate information about his first wife to his later family.

Or perhaps Sir John was just a bit confused with what he had been told.


Branches


One thing that is not quite right in my previous writing is the relationship between the Exton and Brierley branches of the family.

John Harington of Stepney is often confused with his distant cousin John Harington, of Exton who was treasurer to Henry VIII and a generation older.

Like the two branches of the Codrington family, that descended from two of the sons of John Codrington, standard bearer to Henry V at Agincourt [a position also said to be held by Sir William Harington] page, the Harington dynasty started with John, the first Baron who died in 1359.

According to Ruth the branch of the family that lived at Brierley, Farleton and Hornby started with Sir John, the second son of the first baron. And the Fleet [Lincolnshire] and Exton [Rutland] branch descended from a grandson of the first Baron, Sir Robert Harington, who was the younger brother of John the second Baron.

This sounds a bit confused but clearly there are quite a number of generations between John of Stepney and John of Exton, treasurer to Henry VIII and they were only very distant cousins.


Pedigrees


I  also now have a copy of The Harington Family, by Ian Grimble so perhaps this is a good time to make some sense of the pedigrees of the various branches of the Harington in this story.

1. The Haringtons of Brierley

John, first Baron Harington d.1347
  Sir John of Farleton d.1359
    Sir Nicholas of Farleton d.1403
      Sir William of Hornby d.1440
        Sir Thomas of Hornby d.1461 at Wakefield
          Sir James of Brierley d.1485 at Bosworth
            John d.1510 [poisoned?]
              Anne = Alexander Radcliffe?

2. The Haringtons of Hornby

John, first Baron Harington d.1347
  Sir John of Farleton d.1359
    Sir Nicholas of Farleton d.1403
      Sir William of Hornby d.1440
        Sir Thomas of Hornby d.1461 at Wakefield
          Sir Robert of Hornby d.1490?
           Sir James, Dean of York d.1512

3. The Haringtons of Farleton

John, first Baron Harington d.1347
  Sir John of Farleton d.1359
    Sir Nicholas of Farleton d.1403
      Sir James of Farleton d.1417
        Sir Richard d.1467
          Sir William d.1488
            Nicholas of Westleigh d.1497
              James, Generosus, Clerk of the Bakehouse d.1524
                Stephen

The term Generosus – meaning of noble birth – is used by Ian Grimble in his book to identify James, who held the position of Clerk of the Bakehouse in the royal court.

4. The Haringtons of Wolphege (Brixworth)

John, first Baron Harington d.1347
  Sir John of Farleton d.1359
    Sir Nicholas of Farleton d.1403
      Sir James of Farleton d.1417
        Sir Richard d.1467
          Sir William d.1488
            Sir James of Brixworth d.1497
              Alice = Ralph Standish

5. The Haringtons of Exton

John, first Baron Harington d.1347
  Sir Robert of Aldingham d.1334?
    Sir Robert of Fleet d.1399
      John Harington of Fleet d.1401
        Robert of Fleet d.1419
          John of Fleet d.1460?
            Robert of Exton d. 1501
              Sir John of Exton d.1524
                Sir John of Exton d.1553, Treasurer

Most of these are based on the pedigrees from The Harington Family, by Ian Grimble with additional informations from Ruth’s book and other published pedigrees available on-line.


Conclusion


Having read Ruth’s book I think that I now have a better understanding as to what may have been going on here.

She has opened up some new possibilities in the challenge to identify the pedigree of John Harington of Stepney – in particular the suggested connection with the Radcliffe family has proved extremely interesting.

The suggested links to the Standish family are my own although the death of Alexander Standish in 1539 was noted [and dismissed] in Ruth’s book.

It is possible that Alexander, the father of John of Stepney, was a member of the Radcliffe family who married Anne, the daughter of John Harington [who was poisoned by the Stanleys] and the grandson of Sir James of Brierley.

If this is the case then James, Dean of York was involved in this only as part of the subterfuge by John Harington in his attempt to try and recover the Brierley and Hornby estates, by suggesting a more direct male connection.

But this connection may also have been added later by further attempts to establish the Harington claims to the lost estates, or at least to establish their pedigree.

Alexander could have been the natural son of James, Dean of York, raised by a Radcliffe mother and changed his name to that of his father after he died. He may also have married Anne, daughter of John of Brierley, strengthening his claim to those estates.

Or perhaps he was the son of Ralph Standish and Alice Harington – illegitimate or not. But the claim to the Brierley estates would have been fairly weak unless he had also married [or had a child with] Anne Harington, daughter of poisoned John – if she actually existed.

Ruth did appear to be thinking along these lines, but it seems she did not want to commit herself to one particular version of events in her book.

In 12 July 1565 John Harington appointed his  young nephew Thomas Harington – son of his brother Thomas – to the living of St. Mary the Virgin at Kelston [Misc. Gen. IV]. I think it is therefore unlikely that both brothers would have adopted the Harington name if their father, Alexander, was named either Radcliffe or Standish.

It is not unheard of for a son to take the name of his mother’s family in order to satisfy the conditions of an inheritance. But does this make it more likely that Alexander was the son of Sir James, Dean of York over any other theory?

I think that important evidence is missing from all of these suggestions, but whether any evidence actually exists is another matter. Some evidence to the existence of Anne as daughter of John Harington of Brierley would be useful to all of the theories.

The strange thing is that one of these options is probably close to the truth.


Nothing in the pedigree of John Harington of Stepney seems to be entirely genuine and he could have been the son of either Alexander Standish and Alice Harington or Alexander Radcliffe and Anne Harington.

But even if he was only descended from the female Harington line John may have felt that he had a genuine claim to at least some of the twenty five estates lost by his ancestors.

Whatever his plan – if, indeed there was a plan – John did manage to restore the family fortunes, but only through his loyalties to Henry VIII, Admiral Seymour and princess Elizabeth and, of course, his marriage to Awdrey Malte which gave him the foundations on which to build a new Harington dynasty.


Farmer BullshotHere are some of the incorrect facts that are commonly published about John Harington of Stepney. Most of them originated from the brief introduction to Nugae Antiquae, published by his son, Sir John Harington of Kelston.

1. He was treasurer to Henry VIII.

No, he was much too young and a member of the Chapel Royal, probably as a chorister, in Henry’s court. His distant cousin, another John Harington, from the Exton branch of the family, and a generation older, was treasurer. John of Stepney was known to the King, but only for his music and poetry.

2. The king arranged for John’s marriage to his darling daughter Etheldreda.

This is highly unlikely as Awdrey was engaged to be married to the son of Richard Southwell when the king died in January 1547, as shown in the will of Awdrey’s father, John Malte, who died only a few months before Henry.

Richard Southwell was close to the king and was left money in his will, so perhaps the grants of land were directed at Awdrey with the intention of them being passed to the Southwell family through marriage?

It was probably the Seymours who arranged the marriage of John and Awdrey during the early reign of Edward VI – John Harington was one of Thomas Seymour’s men. This arrangement was probably more about the estates that had been left to Awdrey by her father, rather than any romantic match-making.

John was probably about 25 years old when he married Awdrey, sometime in 1547, and she would have been fifteen having been shown as under this age in her father’s will dated September 1546. [She may have been born in June 1532 if named after St. Etheldreda].

3. John Harington paid £1000 to secure his release from the tower.

John was in the tower for about 11 months in 1554, and the fine he paid on his release was £100. This does not mean that it didn’t cost him £1000 in expenses during his confinement, or that he hadn’t paid out money in bribes to try and get released earlier, but if this was the case then it didn’t seem to have helped.

4. John was in the Tower of London with his wife, Isabella Markham.

There is documentary evidence that John was still married to his first wife, Awdrey, until at least 1555 although she is thought to have been ill, probably after the birth of daughter Hester, and may have died soon after at the age of just 23.

Isabella may have been in the tower as one of the attendants of princess Elizabeth, who was there for several months at the same time as John. But her father, Sir John Markham, was Lieutenant of the Tower at the time and it may have been seen as inappropriate for her to be there as an attendant to Elizabeth.

The comment that John made about his wife, whilst confined in the tower, was certainly about Awdrey and not Isabella Markham, who he married in June 1559.

My wife ys her servant, and dothe but rejoice in thys, our miserie, when we looke with whom we are holden in bondage.

I estimate that their daughter, Hester, was born in late 1554 and it is likely that she was therefore conceived in the tower when both her parents were there together earlier that year. This is based on Hester being fourteen [of legal age] in the autumn of 1568 when she and her father were involved in the recovery of the manor of Watchfield. page

Perhaps the reason that Awdrey is not shown as Elizabeth’s attendant after she was released from the tower was because of her pregnancy and subsequent illness and she may have retired to St. Catherine’s court in Somerset and, perhaps, died there, probably about 1556.

I would like to think that John had some affection for his first wife and that he did not start pursuing Isabella until after her death, but the first poem written about Isabella dates from about 1549 only a few years after he married Awdrey and before the birth of their daughter.

This indicates more than anything that John married Awdrey for the benefits it brought him in restoring the family fortunes and not for any romantic notion of marrying the King’s daughter, although that may have appealed to his poetic nature.

If Awdrey was not the King’s daughter then it would be difficult to see why John would have had much interest in her at all and I would have thought that he had much bigger ambitions for his marriage than the daughter of a tailor and a servant – even a rich one.


Farmer BullshotIn a  previous post I have questioned why Awdrey held a position as an attendant to princess Elizabeth, and concluded that it could only be because she was the daughter of the king and the half-sister of Elizabeth.

But it may also have been through the influence of her husband, who was devoted to Elizabeth, having been imprisoned in the tower for carrying messages to her in the first place. Possibly she was there in place of Isabella Markham who does not appear to have been in the tower with Elizabeth in 1554.

Perhaps this does weaken the claim that Awdrey was the natural daughter of Henry VIII if she was an attendant to the princess simply because she the wife of John Harington and just filling in for someone else.

But I am still confident that Awdrey is more likely to be the daughter of Henry VIII than not, as it would be difficult to explain some of the other events in her life – in particular the grants of land [whoever they were intended for] – if she was just the natural daughter of John Malte and Joanne Dingley.


speech50One thing that is cleared up in the book is the names of the two Gloucestershire manors – Bibury and Alrington – that John purchased in 1547 in exchange for his annuity from the lordship of Denbigh that he had been granted nine years earlier.


 Chris Sidney 2016

 

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