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March and April '00: At last I have obtained what looks like a scholarly account of the Barringtons from the earliest times. Hitherto I only had information from the following sources: While the Lowndes peerage claim brought in solid information, it did not include early information of the family or any information on the branches we are descended from. CocKayne dwelt solely on the holders of the baronetcy from 1611 to 1836. Regrettably Noble and Betham are not everyone's favourite researchers these days.

However I had obtained Stuart Raymond's booklet on sources for Essex people and found in it a reference to the history of the Barrington family by G A Lowndes, published in the Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society (TEAS). An internet query to the Essex Library service brought the helpful response that there was a full set of the TEAS in Colchester library. So to Colchester I eventually went. While waiting for an opportunity for this journey, I found an index to all Barrington entries in this series in the library of the Society of Genealogists.

The reported article was in fact spread over two volumes, I and 2 of the new Series. It soon became obvious that the master index was totally confused between the old and the new series of the TEAS and that all Barrington information was in fact in the new series.

Further it turned out that the author of the history was one William Clayton and that G Alan Lowndes MA was merely the editor, much as he was also a senior heir to the Essex Barringtons as all male lines were claimed to have died out (I cannot reconcile this with the lines shown in Ruvigny's Clarence volume... More investigation needed.), not to mention also the owner of a vast collection, some 1000 such, of ancient manuscripts, deeds and charters that Clayton had worked from.

G A Lowndes was president of the TEAS at the time of the publication of the report, and for some years afterwards, and as such was part of a serious scholarly society that was trying to accumulate evidence of the past. So I believe he would have encouraged Clayton to work only from visible and contemporary sources. The text certainly gives the impression that that is what Clayton did and any family tradition that did not have solid backing he either omitted or said it lacked such. Regrettably, though, he did not give formal reference to the individual manuscripts much as he quoted a few verbatim.

Since that time the collection has been split up and it may be impossible to repeat this research easily. Arthur Searle did his very limited research, published in 1983, on the correspondence with Lady Joan Barrington, née Cromwell; but he commented on the different locations the various manuscripts had got to. More interesting it seems that Searle either did not see, or deliberately left out, the most expressive letters of that time, some of which are quoted by Clayton.

Anyhow the upshot is that I think I now have the very best account of the Barringtons from saxon times to the death of the last male Barrington (my 4 times great-grandfather) in 1836. The most regrettable thing is that there is no doubt but that the second article gets wrong the list of the daughters of FitzWilliam Barrington; I suspect Clayton or Lowndes were no longer relying on contemporary evidence but trying to remember what they had been told a few years previously, possibly second or third hand.

The major changes to the Barrington descent that I have made following reading these two articles are:

The good news is that I have now typed in Clayton's two articles and put them on this site. The even better news will be when I have also typed in the other, shorter articles from the TEAS that are also related to the Barringtons.
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