Harington, John (d.1613) (DNB00)

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HARINGTON, JOHN, first Lord Harington of Exton (d. 1613), was the eldest son of Sir James Harington, kt., of Exton Hall, Rutlandshire, by Lucy, daughter of Sir "William Sidney, and a cousin of Sir John Harington, the writer (1561-1612) [q. v.] His younger brother, Sir James Harington, was grandfather of James Harrington or Harington [q. v.], the author of 'Oceana.' His descent, in the female line, from the Bruces first brought him under the notice of James I. He entertained the king at Burley-on-the-Hill, Rutlandshire, on the royal progress from 'Scotland (April 1603) ; and (in June) received Princess Elizabeth for a few days at Combe Abbey, near Coventry, Warwickshire, Lady Harington's inheritance. At the coronation (21 July 1603) Harington was created baron Harington of Exton, an honour which gave great offence to the catholics. By privy seal order, dated 19 Oct. 1603, he received the charge of the Princess Elizabeth, with an annual pension of 1,500l. A (afterwards increased to 2,500l.) for her diet, a sum which proved inadequate. Harington established Elizabeth with his wife and family at Combe Abbey, and retired from parliament and public life in order to devote himself wholly to her. He was present at the creation of Henry as prince of Wales, and in 1605 attended the king at Oxford. The conspirators of the gunpowder plot planned to abduct Elizabeth and proclaim her queen, but Harington escaped with his charge to Coventry (7 Nov. 1605) two hours before the rebels arrived. Here he left her to be guarded by the citizens, while he and Sir Fulke Greville besieged Catesby at Holbeach. On 6 Jan. 1606 he writes from Combe to his cousin, Sir John, that he has not yet recovered from the fever caused by these disturbances, when he was 'out five days in peril of death and fear for the great charge I left at home' (Nugce Antiques, i. 370). In 1608 Elizabeth was given an establishment of her own at Kew, the Haringtons receiving the first places in her household. Her guardian continued to control her movements and expenditure, and had to buy her bridal trousseau and arrange the expenses of her wedding. On 13 Feb. 1613 he preceded the princess in the wedding procession to Whitehall, and received a gift of plate, valued at 2,000l., from the prince palatine in recognition of his services. By the princess's extravagance her current expenses for one year alone (1612-1613) had involved Harington 3,500l. in debt, and he was reduced to beg a royal patent (granted May 1613) for the sole privilege of coining brass farthings for three years, 1 a thing that brought with it some discredit though lawful ' (Somers Tracts, ii. 294). The coins were called Haringtons (see Nares, Glossary).

Lord and Lady Harington escorted the royal couple abroad (April 1613), he being deputed to settle the princess's jointure. Though Harington was made a royal commissioner and given the title of ambassador, none of the expenses of this journey were paid, and his money difficulties increased. At Heidelberg the Haringtons remained four months in Elizabeth's household, Harington having to arrange her money affairs and to arbitrate in quarrels among her attendants. Worn out by these cares he died of fever at Worms (23 Aug. 1613), on the journey home. He was buried at Exton, where his daughter Lucy afterwards raised a tomb, by Nicholas Stone, costing 1,020l., over the family vault. Harington was of firm and independent character, 'thoughtful and devout,' and 'showed his appreciation of education' by the care he bestowed on his son, as well as on the princess. His wife, Anne, daughter and heiress of Sir Robert Kelway, surveyor of the courts of wards and liveries to Queen Elizabeth, was distinguished by her gentleness and refinement; she lived in great poverty after her husband's and son's deaths, and went back for a time as lady-in-waiting to Princess Elizabeth. Their elder son, Kelway, died in infancy; the second, John [q. v.], succeeded his father. Of the two daughters, Lucy, 'the favourite of the muses,' married Edward Russell, third earl of Bedford, and was renowned as a patroness of arts and learning. She died without issue in 1628. Frances married Sir Robert Chichester, and her daughter Anne, the sole survivor of the Haringtons of Exton, married Thomas, lord Bruce. A portrait of Harington is engraved in Holland's 'Herwologia Anglica,' ed. 1620.

[Dugdale's Baronage, ii. 416; Harington's Nugæ Antiquæ, ed. 1804, i. 353, 371, ii. 411; Stow's Chronicle, p. 918; Nichols's Progresses of James I, i. 93, 174, 429, 587, ii. 68, 1089; Cal. of State Papers, Dom. 1603-11, 1611-18; Fuller's Worthies, Warwickshire, p. 130; Wright's History of Rutland, p. 48; Laird's Rutland, p. 86; Mrs. Green's Lives of the Princesses, Life of Princess Elizabeth; Ellis's Letters, 2nd ser. iii. 82; Lodge's Illustrations, iii. 204; Lansd. MSS. 90, art. 77; letter from Lord Harington to Mr. Newton.]

E. T. B.