John Harington (treasurer)

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John Harington (or Harrington) (c.1517-1582) was an English official working for Henry VIII.


Harington lived at Stepney, and filled the post of treasurer to the king's camps and buildings. While holding that office Harington employed John Bradford. Accounts differ on their professional relationship: it is said by Bradford's biographers that he compelled Harington about 1549 to make a restitution to the crown of a sum of money which Harington had misappropriated. John Strype, however, represents that Bradford was himself guilty of misappropriating public moneys, which Harington made good to shield his clerk from punishment.

Harington married Etheldreda Malte (Audrey), an illegitimate daughter of John Malte by Joan Dingley, who was the king's tailor.[1] In 1546, John Malte had purchased the manor of Kelston in Somerset on behalf of himself and Etheldreda (Audrey) alias Digneley, ‘bastard daughter of the said John Digneley alias Dobson’, and on to Sept. 1546 he made Etheldreda (Audrey), ‘my bastard daughter begotten upon the body of Joan Digneley’, his chief legatee and recipient of all his property in Berkshire, Hertfordshire and Somerset.[1] Etheldreda later died around 1556, leaving behind her husband and daughter Hester. Hester died in 1568, and her lands went to Harington.

Harington entered the service of Princess Elizabeth. He was a cultivated man and a poet, who in his visits to Elizabeth at Hatfield turned his talents to the praises of her six gentlewomen, but soon singled out among them Isabella Markham, daughter of Sir John Markham of Gotham. He married her early in 1559. Five years before their marriage he was imprisoned in the Tower at the same time as the Princess Elizabeth; his first wife and Isabella, both being her Ladies-in-Waiting, had accompanied the princess. In 1561 their son John was born, and Elizabeth, who had now ascended the throne, repaid their loyalty by acting as his godmother. He later became known as a writer at her court, where he was often in trouble. Queen Elizabeth I also granted him the Stoughton Grange Estate in Leicestershire.


  1. 1.0 1.1 The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982. History of Parliament: HARINGTON (HERYNTON), John II (by 1517-82), of Stepney, Mdx.; Kelston, Som. and Cheshunt, Herts.


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