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Manuscript Archive of Sir John Harington

Manuscript Archive of  Sir John Harington by HARINGTON, Sir John [1540-1613] (1606)

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Author: HARINGTON, Sir John [1540-1613]
Title: Manuscript Archive relating to Sir John Harington, First Baron Exton
Year: 1606
Publisher: Unpublished
Place: London and Rutland, Northamptonshire
Dust Jacket: No
Signed: No
Price: £1450
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Archival collection including four documents signed by the English courtier and politician John Harington, First Baron of Exton, together with a fine engraving on silk of his son, also John Harington, whose death in 1614 shortly after that of his great friend, Henry Prince of Wales, was mourned by John Donne in a funeral ode. Collected by several Harington descendants from around 1800 and augmented by the Reverend Richard Harington (Master of Brasenose College, Oxford) and his son Judge Sir Richard Harington, the archive is held in a folio manuscript book with 'Portal and Bridges' watermarks, marbled boards and green paper spine, torn, but 'Harington' visible in pen along the backstrip. Mounted window-style in the album are five leaves from Henry Holland's Heroologia Anglica (1620) which contain Abraham Holland's obituary poem on the second Baronet and several pages of manuscript family history notes from various sources, copied around 1800. The most valuable documents are all loosely laid into the book:

1 Equestrian portrait of Sir John Harington (2nd Baron Exton) printed on silk, 22x28cm by Renold Elstrack, 1570–1625, published by Henry Balaam, c 1612–1616 (artist and publisher from Yale Center British Art's catalogue entry for their engraving which is one third smaller than this). The engraving gives Harington's age as 22 which suggests that it too may have been issued shortly after his death as part of the outpouring of grief that seems to have greeted the young man's demise. WITH a note c1800 from 'a stranger to Mrs Harrington' presenting the engraving.

2 'To my Loving ffreinds and neighboures the [ ] of Manton &c.' 31 August, 1606, one page signed letter, on folded bifolium, ewer watermark, addressed to the inhabitants of the Rutland village of Manton demanding 30 sheaves of wheat as 'certayne duty yearly', signed 'Haryngton', old folds, seal mark and docket. (The first Baron Harington had acquired the estate in 1601.) WITH accompanying unsigned bifolium containing further details of Manton's payments to Hambleton church in corn, oats and bread.

3 'John Harington Baron' and William Magitt signed vellum land agreement, 1606, 32x20cm, signed 'Haryngton' and witnessed by Leonard Barry, Richard Bradfall etc

4 'Omnibus vui fidelibus', large vellum agreement with Robert Blakely, 1605, 48x26cm, signed 'Haryngton' and witnessed by Leonard Barry, Richard Rathbon, Job Williams etc

5 'This Indenture...' large vellum deed: 'Robert Blakely's Purchas deed of Ld Harryngton', 28 October 1605, 62x57cm, signed 'Haryngton' and witnessed by Leonard Barry etc

5 'James Harrington', loose engraving, 'P Lely pinxit', 1799.

6 'The Reverend Richard Harington, Wold Rectory, An Estimate from [printed] T. Atkins and Son. [manuscript] 1836 April 2nd', bifolium, detailed three pages estimate of the cost to Richard Harington (later Master of Brasenose Collge, Oxford) and his wife for a full clean and redecoration, room by room, of the Rectory at Wold in Northamptonshire.

7 Francis Townsend Windsor, ALS, 2pp, 1816: a letter from the College of Heralds regretting their inability to revive the 'Barony of Harington of Exton.'

8 Mezzotint of woman, 'J Russell fecit'

9 Manuscript pedigree on foolscape page, pp1, 'Eldred' to 'Robert de Harington'

10 'Extract from the English Baronetage. 1741' 2pp manuscript

11 Newspaper clipping re Sir Richard Harington's injunction against the Oxford and Cambridge Club, 1903, The Star. Sir Richard Harington was son of Reverend Richard Harington - see above.

Sir John Harington (1540-1613) served under Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester in the Netherlands in 1585 and was appointed Sheriff of Warwickshire for 1582 before being knighted in 1584 by Sir Henry Sidney. In 1586 he accompanied Mary, Queen of Scots through Warwickshire on her way to Fotheringhay in Northamptonshire close to his home in Rutland where he served as MP in 1593 and 1601 later to be High Sheriff of Rutland for 1594, 1598 and 1602. At the coronation of King James I he was created Baron Harington of Exton and made guardian of the king's daughter, Princess Elizabeth although the high cost of entertaining her almost ruined him, perhaps explaining the prudent financial transactions documented in this collection. In return Harington was granted a licence to mint the first copper farthings by the king and when Princess Elizabeth married Frederick V, Elector Palatine, Harington accompanied her to the Electoral Palatinate, dying on his way home in 1613. Harington claims common descendance with his namesake, the writer John Harington remembererd as Queen Elizabeth's 'saucy godson'. His son was educated with the Prince of Wales and they remained close friends until the prince's death in 1612. After his death two years later his contemporaries wrote of him in the highest terms with a funeral sermon preached by Richard Stock, pastor of All Hallows, Bread Street, and published as The Church's Lament for the Loss of the Godly and appended to this publication an epitaph and elegies by F. Herring and Sir Thomas Roe. At the same time a poem entitled "Sorrows Lenitive, written upon occasion of the death of that hopeful and noble young gentleman, &c.", was written by Abraham Jackson, and dedicated to Harington's mother and sister Lucy. John Donne's funeral ode appeared in his 1633 Poems and Thomas Gataker, in his Discours Apologetical, 1654, p. 36, styled him a 'mirror of nobility'.
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