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Barrington Genealogy in Publicly Available Documents

Our Barrington ancestors have died out (in the male line) and there seems to be no-one taking an interest in them now. I have found no more than half a dozen people who claim some descent from the Essex Barringtons, though I have read of a few more. Because their genealogy takes up so much of our ancestry, I have made considerable efforts to find out what I can.

Only in March 2000 I found the best research yet on this family: it was done by a William Clayton and edited and published after Clayton's death by G Alan Lowndes in 1878 in two successive issues of the Transactions of the Essex Archaeology Society (T.E.A.S.). I found these in Colchester Public Library after a hint from Stewart Raymond in his booklet "Essex: The Genealogist's Library Guide".

The strength of these articles is that they were compiled from the vast collection of deeds and other documents of the Barrington family, then in the possession of G Alan Lowndes. The documents certainly went back to the twelfth century, if not slightly earlier. Where the documents are now, I do not know, though Searle in his "Barrington Family Letters" gives some information on pages 21 and 22.

As an aside, I had been wondering how Clayton and Lowndes got involved in Barrington Hall (it is fortunate that they did as they were both scholarly enough to handle the old deeds). At last I realised that Burke's Landed Gentry might provide an answer and so it did. William Clayton was the father of G Alan Lowndes. G A Lowndes had inherited Barrington Hall, under a name and arms clause, from his maternal first cousin once removed, Thomas Lowndes. Burke has nothing to indicate how Thomas Lowndes himself got hold of the property, nor does Burke show any relationship to the Lowndes of Whaddon and Chesham who would indeed have inherited it when the male Barrington line expired in 1832. Perhaps the Whaddon or Chesham Lowndes sold it to Thomas Lowndes?

August 2004: Two articles have resolved the Lowndes connection. J R Round in the Essex Review, Vol XXXI of January 1922 and Victoria County History for Essex, Vol VIII, pp. 166-7 both explain that Barrington Hall went to William Lowndes of Chesham in the 1836 partition with William Selby Lowndes of Haddon Hall following the death of Sir Fitzwilliam Barrington in 1832. This William Lowndes of Chesham then sold his share to a totally unrelated Thomas Lowndes. From Thomas Lowndes it passed eventually to his sister's great grandson, G A Clayton who took the name of Lowndes on inheriting the property.

Related to the Barringtons are other articles in the T.E.A.S. journal and I'm in the slow process of typing these out as well:

  • The history of Hatfield Broad Oak, the village where the Barringtons lived, or had their main house, from c.1250 to 1836.
  • Excerpts from ancient wills, giving the lineage of Thomasine Barrington. (Done)
  • The family of Bourchier, that of Oliver Cromwell's wife. (Done) (Francis Barrington married Joan Cromwell, aunt of Oliver Cromwell.)
  • An inventory of Sir Thomas Barrington's household goods at Hatfield Priory in 1626. (Not done)
  • Note on tombs and memorial tablets of Barringtons in the parish church of Hatfield Braod Oak. (Not done)
  • The history of the parish church and priory of Hatfield Broad Oak. (Not done)
Here's the downloads:

StatusGedcom 4.0Gedcom 5.5HTML filePDF fileText File
Barrington Family TreeOKClick here (33k)Click here (33k)nanana
Barrington HistoryOKClick here (188k)Click here (350k)
Thomasine BarringtonOKClick here (12k)Click here (38k)
Bourchier HistoryOKClick here (12k)Click here (34k)
Bourchier TreeOKClick here (24k)Click here (10k)Click here (7k)
Barrington InventoryNot yet available
Hatfield Broad Oak villageNot yet available
Hatfield MemorialsNot yet available
Hatfield Church & PrioryNot yet available

The sources I have found for the Essex Barringtons are:

  • Mark Noble's "Memoirs of the Protectorate House of Cromwell". Published in 1784. I found a copy in the London Society of Genealogists - and have since acquired one of my own.
  • William Clayton's "History of the Barrington Family", published from 1878 to 1884 in the Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society. Plus other short articles in the same journal.
  • Arthur Searle's edition of "The Barrington Family Letters, 1628-1632", published by The Royal Historical Society in 1983. This is still in print and Heraldry Today,, had a copy on my last visit.
  • G E CocKayne's "Baronetage" in five volumes, 1901-1909.
  • Betham's "Baronetage of England" published in 1801. I found a copy in the London Society of Genealogists.
  • Burke's Extinct Baronetcies, which lists the daughters of the last baronet, though also includes an Irish family linked to early 17th century Barringtons for which no evidence has been found.
  • Ruvigny's "Plantagenet Roll, Clarence Volume", published 1905 and reprinted by the Genealogical Publishing Co in 1984, about a tenth of which is the descendants of post-medieval Barringtons.
The GedComs contain notes from all of these.

I have made the following changes to my files after studying Clayton:

  • That the Amicia Mandevill married by Humphrey de Barenton was the possibly illegitimate daughter of the eventual third earl of Essex rather than something like the great-granddaughter of the first earl. Accordingly we can no longer bear the Mandevill arms.
  • The descent to Tomasine Barrington, heiress, who died around 1470 is different to that in the 1558 Visitation.

In the course of adding in the information to my files, I came across some probable mistakes in Clayton's articles. My view currently is that these are entries inserted by G A Lowndes from his memory of the family and not from documents in his possession.  Instances are:
  • The children of the last Barrington, Fitzwilliam. These have the names confused; at the very least I know (from a memorial in Whitchurch-on-Thames Church, not to mention our own family records) that the third daughter was Julia and not the second daughter "Elizabeth Julia".

    Later note: Earlier in 2002 I got a researcher in the Isle of Wight to dig out the parish records for the last Barrington family there. They found that this has consisted of one boy and six girls, with the boy and one of the girls dying in childhood. I also found among our family papers a copy of a note from Elizabeth Barrington, the longest living of the six daughters, in which she listed all her siblings. Clayton or Lowndes had it very wrong.

  • Clayton has "John Barrington married Elizabeth, the daughter of his guardian Thomas Bonham, and his wife Catherine, sister and heir of Henry Lord Marney, Knight of the Garter." Other records show that Catherine was the daughter of Henry KG and that her brother was John. This was around 1520.

    Later note (2001): CP is clear that Catherine Marney was the daughter of Henry, Lord Marney. See my main database of people.

    Even later note (Dec 2002): The Barrington Family History referred to Elizabeth Bonham as the heir of her brother Sir Walter. But the various Essex visitations show there were other brothers with some generations of issue, so Elizabeth could NOT have been the heir in any genetic sense.

  • For much the same time, Clayton has Thomas Barrington, son of this John, marrying Alice Parker daughter of Lord Morley. This is a curious one: the visitation records show that Alice's father Henry could not have been baron as he predeceased his father, another Henry, while the Dictionary of National Biography says that one Henry succeeded the other. Must look up CP?

    Later note: CP does not tie this one up as they do not include daughters. See the discussion on Alice in my main database of people.

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