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:
Here's the downloads:
- 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.
- 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
The sources I have found for the Essex Barringtons are:
The GedComs contain notes from all of these.
- 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, http://www.heraldrytoday.co.uk, had a copy on my last
- 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.
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
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
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.