Gene Surfing

Adventures in Family History


bullshot bulletThe is a lot of uncertainty surrounding some parts of the Harington family and this is my attempt to make some sense of it all, but it is likely to change as new information becomes available.

John Harington, who married Awdrey Malte the adopted daughter of Royal tailor John Malte, was the son of Alexander of Stepney and my 11th great-grandfather.

The name of his mother is unknown [possibly Hester] and the father of Alexander is uncertain – in fact very little is known about Alexander and he is often merged (as the father of John of Stepney) with his cousin Sir John of Exton (1503) as “John Alexander”.

John Harington of Stepney himself  is often confused with his son, Sir John “The Writer” of Kelston and his cousin Sir John “The Treasurer” of Exton – and there were several other John Haringtons of Exton, so these also get confused.

John Harington of Stepney

The confirmation of Arms in 1568 shows that John was unsure what arms he was entitled to use and although the resulting pedigree shows a connection to the Harington family of Yorkshire it is a bit vague in the identification of his grandfather.

And Whereas 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, by right …

It is thought that John’s father, Alexander could be the son of James Harrington, Dean of York, before he took holy orders.

The first Harington of Brierley was Sir Thomas who was born about 1400 in Hornby castle and died at the battle of Wakefield in 1460. He had three sons, John (1421), James (1435) and Robert (1458) – the dates definitely need to be confirmed.

The son of the eldest son, John was reputed to have been poisoned so the family ownership passed through his brother Robert and his son also named John. The younger brother of this John, James dean of York (?1480) could be the father of Alexander.

However if the pedigree refers to the older generation of Brierley brothers then Alexander could also be the son of John (1475)  – but if so then why not say so?

I have attached Alexander as the son of James for now, as it seems the most likely connection but there is certainly amount of mystery about the whole thing.

James Harington of Brierley = ?
.. Alexander Harington of Stepney = ?
…. John Harington of Stepney = Awdrey Malte
…… Hester Harington = William Stubbes
…….. Anne Stubbes = Robert Codrington

There does not seem to be a history of any other Alexander in the family so maybe the name came from his mother’s family – whoever she was?

John Harington of Stepney, known as “The Poet” to distinguish him from his son, married twice.

The first marriage was to Audrey (Etheldreda) the adopted daughter of John Malte was tailor to Henry VIII. Awdrey was probably the daughter of the king rather than John, but this has yet to be proved either way. page

This marriage was very profitable to John as Awdrey was heir to a lot of property, some of it granted specifically to her  by the king, but it was probably not a love match.

John and Awdrey had a daughter, Hester, but this was their only known child and Awdrey died some time before the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1553.

John married his second wife Isabella later the same year and they had a son and heir, John. The family settled at Kelston, near Bath in Somerset, one of the properties that John had gained from his first marriage.

Sir John Harington of Kelston

Sir John Harrington, Inventor of the first flushing toilet.John was the eldest son and heir of John Harington of Stepney and his second wife Isabella Markham.

He is known as “The Writer” and is best known for his work “Nugae antiquae” and as the inventor of the first flushing toilet.


Sir John Harington of Exton

John was Treasurer to King Henry VIII and a very distant cousin of John Harington of Stepney.

John Harington, 1st Baron Exton

John Harington 1st Baron ExtonThis John and his son were descendants of John “The Treasurer” Harington of Exton.

Sir John Harington of Exton = Elizabeth Moton
.. Sir James Harington  = Lucy Sidney
…. John Harington, 1st Baron Exton = Anne Keilway
…… John Harington, 2nd Baron Exton dsp.

John Harington, 2nd Baron Exton

John Harington 2nd Baron ExtonHe was the surviving son of John Harington, Baron Harington of Exton, and his wife, Anne Keilway, daughter of Robert Keilway, Surveyor of the Court of Wards and Liveries, and was born at Combe Abbey, near Coventry, Warwickshire, in April 1592.

Lord Harington of Exton died at Kew on 27 February 1614 and was buried at Exton.

This is an extract from Memoranda, historical and genealogical, relating to the parish of Kelston

by Francis John Poynton

Sir Robert Harington, attainted 1 Hen. VII of Baddesworth, co. York = Isabel Balderston
Sir James Harington, Dean of York. Will 2nd Sept 1497. Adm’on 26 April, 1513, at York
Alexander Harington, said to be the son of his marriage (but?) before he took Priest’s Orders; qui ob. 30 H. VIII (1538)
John Harington of Stepney, the Patentee of 12 Elizab. (25 Aug. 1570); qui ob. 1582 (as to his claim to descend through Alexander and from the Brierly Haringtons, see the Grant of Arms in “Misc. G. et H., Feb 1878.)
Sir John Harington of Kelston, who tried to recover lands under the Patent of his father, on
The death of Stephen Harington of Wolphege in Nov 1598; living 1598, obit 1612.

Brierley Estate

In 1564 queen Elizabeth, by letters patent, confirmed to Stephen, the only surviving son of Sir James Harington of Wolphege, his prospective inheritance under the grant from Henry VIII. But there are indications that about 1557 the claim of Stephen Harington to the estates was surrendered to the queen and in 1570 she granted to John Harington of Stepney the Crown’s reversion to him and his heirs male.
This John Harington seems to have descended from Sir James Harington, dean of York, attainted in 1485, being son of Sir Robert Harington, attainted in 1485, being brother of Sir James Harington of Brierley, co. York. On the death of Stephen Harington of Farleton in 1598, Sir John Harington of Kelston, co. Somerset, son of John Harington of Stepney, attempted to assert his title; but failed to do so.
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.
And the king then granted to him one-fifth of all profits from the premises so surrendered and appointed the remaining four-fifths for repairing the Cathedral of St. Paul, London.

Harington of Brierley

Sir Thomas of Brierley (1400-1460) = Elizabeth D'acre (1408-1485)
  John (1430-1460) = Joan Clifford (1442-1484)
    John ()
    Joan (1458-1529) = [?]
  James (b.1430)
  Robert of Badsworth (1458-1497) = Isabella Balderston
    James, Dean of York (1480-1530?) = [?]
      Alexander of Stepney (1496-1539) = [?]
        John of Stepney (1525-1582) = 1.Awdrey Malte (1518-1556) dau. John Malte or Henry VIII
          Hester (1553-1639) = William Stubbes (1550-1630)
            Anne (1575-1650) = Robert Codrington (1573-1618)
        2.Isabella Markham (1527-1579)
          Sir John of Kelston (1561-1612) = Mary Rogers (1565-1634) [3]
          Francis (1564-1639) = Joan Baylie
          Elizabeth (1559-1624) = Nicholas Wilbore


A Codrington Moment

John Still, future bishop of Bath and Wells, was the mentor of John Harington of Kelston.

He was also the grandfather of Anne Still who married John Codrington, the eldest son of Robert Codrington and Anne Stubbes – she was his second wife and mother of four daughters.

Anne Stubbes was the niece of Sir John Harington from his father’s first marriage to Awdrey Malte.

Farmer BullshotThis tree is not yet complete and some of the dates are a bit suspect, however I believe that the general layout of the tree is probably somewhere close to the truth.


 Chris Sidney 2014



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