John Harington (1589-1654)

John Harington, (1588/1589-1654), lawyer and diarist, was born at Kelston, Somerset, the eldest son of Sir John Harington (bap. 1560, d. 1612) and his wife, Mary (d. 1634), daughter of Sir George Rogers of Cannington, Somerset, the son of Edward Rogers. He matriculated from Trinity College, Oxford, on 7 December 1604, aged fifteen, and graduated from Cambridge.

Harington, John (1588/1589-1654), lawyer and diarist : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

of Somerset, militis fil. nat. max. Trinity Coll., matric. 7 Dec., 1604, aged 15; perhaps migrated to Cambridge 1607, bar.-at-law, Lincoln’s Inn, 1615, treasurer 1651 (as son and heir of Sir John, of Kelston, Somerset, kt.); M.P. Somerset Dec., 1645, till void April, 1646, re-elected July, 1646, until secluded, Dec., 1648; his will dated 21 April and proved 6 July, 1654; died before 31 May, 1654; father of John 1640. See Foster’s Judges and Barristers.

Alumni Oxonienses 1500-1714. Originally published by University of Oxford, Oxford, 1891.

Alumni cantabrigienses a biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge. Published 1922 by University Press in Cambridge.

He was a Member of Parliament for Kelston for many years before and during the English Civil War and kept a journal edited and published in 1977 by the Somerset Record Society as their publication volume for that year.

The diary of John Harington, M.P., 1646 – 1653

Although his father had been the old Queen’s godson, John Harington, M.P. was a Puritan and very much a Parliamentarian. The Puritan son, deeply preoccupied with religious questions, seems humorless and much less sympathetic to modern sensibilities than his brilliant father.


The old medieval St.Paul’s Cathedral was in a poor state by the 17th century. Money was raised and a new portico created for the west door, designed by Inigo Jones. The work began in 1633 and took ten years to complete, interrupted by the Civil War.

In the restoration of old St. Paul’s cathedral, Inigo Jones added to the west front a Roman portico, magnificent and beautiful indeed, but with no affinity with the ancient parts that remained, and made the Gothic appear ten times heavier.


John Harington married in 1613 Lady Dioness Ley [pronounced Lee] (1597-1674), daughter of James Ley, 1st Earl of Marlborough (d. 1628) by his first wife Mary Pettie, daughter of John Pettie (d. 1589) of Stoke Talmage, Oxfordshire

John and Lady Dioness (Ley) Harington had a large family, never left England, and were buried in St. Nicholas Church, Kelston. Their son and heir, Capt. John Harington, Esq. (1627-1700) married four times, and had children by each wife; the family suffered financially by having to provide lands and property for all the resulting children.

In 1766 Capt. Harington‘s youngest son had to sell the Kelston estate and move into Bath.

A very good book on the Harington family of Kelston is The Harington Family (1959) by Ian Grimble

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