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

Sir John Harington (1561-1612)

scholar, poet, translator, courtier, soldier, letter-writer, and epigrammatist

Sir John Harington

Sir John Harington (1561-1612) of Kelston came of an old and distinguished family.

The name is derived from Haverington, in Cumberland, where the Haringtons were barons from the earliest days. Their chief seat was at Aldingham, in Lancashire, where they resided from Edward I’s time.

The last Baron Harington fell at the battle of Wakefield (1460) .1 Two representatives of the family, Sir Robert and Sir James Harington, for bearing arms at the battle of Towton (1461) and for taking Henry VI prisoner, were attainted by Henry VII, and twenty five large manors were forfeited to the crown. 2 Sir James Harington, of Brierley, in Felkirk, Yorkshire, subsequently entered the Church, and died Dean of York.

John Harington, father of the epigrammatist, was the son of Alexander Harington, and grandson of Sir James Harington, of Brierley. 3

Large estates in Rutland and Lincolnshire were owned by another branch of the family, from which was descended John Lord Harington of Exton. 4

John Harington, father of our writer, restored the fortunes of his branch of the family. He held, under Henry VIII, several important offices.

1. William Dugdale, The Baronage of England, 2 vols., 1675-1676, II, 99-100; 416. Nugae Antiquae, 1119, III, 306-312.

2. Harleian MSS. 1549; John Collinson, The History of Somersetshire, 3 vols., Bath, 1791, I, 128.

3. Grants of Arms named in Docquets and Patents to the End of the Seventeenth Century, ed. W. H. Rylands. Harleian Society, LXVI (London, 1915), 115. See also Notes and Queries for Somerset and Dorset, IV, 155. Sir James Harington is mentioned by the epigrammatist as his great-grandfather. Nugae Antiquae, 1779, II, 143-144. Cf. Letter 54, infra.

4. Collinson, op. cit., I, 128

via Full text of “Letters and epigrams of Sir John Harington, together with The prayse of private life”.

Edited with an Introduction by Norman Egbert McClure, Professor of English, Ursinus College.

Harington’s letters are here for the first time collected and edited. Of the sixty-two letters in this volume, nineteen were printed in Henry Harington’s Nugae Antiquae (1779, 1804), and a few others have appeared elsewhere.

Harington made little way in the favor of King James; and died in 1612, remembered perhaps chiefly by his ageing fellow-“servants,” as the old word went, in the vanished Court of Queen Elizabeth.


Sir John Harington, the inventor of the first toilet, who lived in the 16th Century, composed epigrams about life at the time which Mr Standage said bear some resemblance to the brief Tweets of today.

Henry Harington (1727-1816)

Henry Harginton MDMusician and author, born at Kelston, Somersetshire, in September 1727, was the son of Henry Harington of that place.

Sir John Harington was an ancestor.

On 17 Dec. 1745 he matriculated at Queen’s College, Oxford, and graduated B.A. in 1749, M.A. in 1752 (Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1715-1886, ii. 608). While residing at Oxford he joined an amateur musical society, established by Dr. William Hayes (1708-1777) , to which those only were admitted who were able to play and sing at sight.

Abandoning his intention of taking orders he commenced the study of medicine, and in 1753 established himself as a physician at Wells. He accumulated his degrees in medicine in 1762.

In 1771 he removed to Bath, where he devoted his leisure to composition, and founded the Bath Harmonic Society. The Duke of York appointed him his physician. He was also an alderman and magistrate of Bath, and served the office of mayor. Harington died on 15 Jan. 1816, and was buried in Bath Abbey.

Two sons by his wife, Miss Musgrave—Sir Edward Harington and Henry Harington, D.D.—are separately noticed.

via Harington, Henry (1727-1816) (DNB00) – Wikisource, the free online library.

Isaac Johnson

Johnson, Isaac (bap. 1601, d. 1630), colonist in America, was baptized at St John’s, Stamford, Lincolnshire, the eldest son of Abraham Johnson (1577-1649), gentleman, of South Luffenham, Rutland, and Anne (née Meadows) (c.1583-c.1602).

via Johnson, Isaac (bap. 1601, d. 1630), colonist in America : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography – oi.

On his marriage in 1623 to Arbella, a daughter of Thomas, 3rd Earl of Lincoln, his grandfather settled on him the manor of Clipsham.

Isaac was the largest shareholder of the Massachusetts Bay Company and was one of the twelve men to sign the Cambridge Agreement on 29 August 1629. In 1630 he sailed in the Winthrop Fleet to America, arriving at Salem on 12 June, and was one of the four who founded the first church at Charlestown on 30 July. The want of good water at Charlestown obliged them, on 7 September, to move to Shawmut, now Boston, which was settled under Johnson’s supervision. He died at Boston on 30 September 1630, the richest man in the colony.

Isaac was grandson of Robert Johnson (1540/1541-1625), a Puritan rector of North Luffenham, Rutland, for 51 years, from 1574 until his death. Robert Johnson enjoyed the patronage of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley and was a Canon of Windsor (1572 to 1625) and Archdeacon of Leicester (1591 to 1625).

Using the income from these and other church posts, Robert founded free grammar schools in Oakham and Uppingham in 1584, as well as other charitable institutions. He placed great importance on education, because of his Puritan beliefs. The grammar schools taught Hebrew, Greek and Latin in to those who were too poor to pay for schooling.

Among other endowments and foundations, Archdeacon Johnson founded Hospitals of Christ in Oakham and Uppingham, and re-founded and endowed the old hospital of Saint John the Evangelist and Saint Anne in Oakham. The schools and hospitals received their charter from Queen Elizabeth I in 1587. He was also one of the eight founding fellows of Jesus College, Oxford.

Capt. Myles (Miles) Standish

Signer of Mayflower Compact


Myles is a character in Grandma Rebecka and the Witches’ Tree.

Rebecka Nurse, nee Towne and Roger Conant, her second cousin and founder of Salem were related to Myles Standish.

Myles Standish of Plymouth in Massachusetts Bay Colony and Roger Conant, first governor of Salem were known for an infamous row created by a difference in vision about strictness, severity, cruelty in governance and enforcement of law in Plymouth.