John Harington, 1st Baron Harington of Exton

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For others with similar name, see John Harrington (disambiguation)
Lord Harington

John Harington (1539/40 – 23 August 1613, Worms, Germany) was an English courtier and politician.


Harington was the eldest son of Sir James Harington (c.1511–1592) of Exton Hall, Rutland, and his wife, Lucy Sidney (c.1520–c.1591), daughter of Sir William Sidney and his wife, Anne Pagenham. His family was said to have held 'the most extensive estates in Rutland during the late sixteenth century'.[1]


Harington was knighted in 1584.[2] He joined the Inner Temple in 1558, and was MP for Rutland in 1571.

He was commissioner of the peace for Kesteven from about 1559 to 1593, servant to Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester in the Netherlands 1585, keeper of Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire, for Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick (1588–90), Sheriff of Warwickshire (1582-3), and knight of the shire (MP) for Warwickshire in 1586. He accompanied Mary, Queen of Scots, through Warwickshire on her way to Fotheringhay in Northamptonshire 1586, MP for Rutland in 1593 and 1601, Deputy Lieutenant of Rutland and Warwickshire during the 1590s. He was also High Sheriff of Rutland in 1594,1598 and 1602.

Sir John Harington was created Baron Harington in July 1603 at the coronation of James I, the first Baron Harington of Exton, Rutland. He was made guardian of James' daughter, Elizabeth. The high cost of entertaining the Princess ruined him. As partial recompense Harington was granted a licence to mint the first copper farthings by the King. Princess Elizabeth married the Elector Palatine, Frederick V and Lord Harington accompanied her to the Electoral Palatine, but died on his way back in 1613. After his death, the Exton estate was sold to pay his creditors, being purchased by Sir Baptist Hicks.

Marriage and children[edit]

His wife was Anne, daughter of Robert Keilway, Surveyor of the Court of Wards and Liveries.

He was succeeded by his son John Harington, 2nd Baron Harington of Exton. Lucy Russell, Countess of Bedford was his daughter.


  • Jan Broadway, ‘Harington, John, first Baron Harington of Exton (1539/40–1613)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Aug 2005 accessed 15 Aug 2005
Political offices
Title last held by
The Earl of Huntingdon
Lord Lieutenant of Rutland
Succeeded by
John Harington, 2nd Baron Harington of Exton
Peerage of England
New creation Baron Harington of Exton
Succeeded by
John Harington