John Harington, 1st Baron Harington of Exton
- For others with similar name, see John Harrington (disambiguation)
He was the eldest son and heir of Sir James Harington (c. 1511–1592) of Exton, by his wife Lucy Sidney (c. 1520 – c. 1591), daughter of Sir William Sidney by his wife Anne Pagenham. His family was said to have held 'the most extensive estates in Rutland during the late sixteenth century'.
He was a Commissioner of the Peace for Kesteven from about 1559 to 1593, and was a servant to Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester in the Netherlands in 1585 and was Keeper of Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire (1588–1590) for Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick. He was appointed Sheriff of Warwickshire for 1582 and was knighted in 1584 by Sir Henry Sidney at Sir Thomas Henneage's house in London.
Harington was a Knight of the Shire (MP) for Warwickshire in 1586, when he accompanied Mary, Queen of Scots through Warwickshire on her way to Fotheringhay in Northamptonshire. He was again MP for Rutland in 1593 and 1601 and was made Deputy Lieutenant of Rutland and Warwickshire during the 1590s. He was also High Sheriff of Rutland for 1594, 1598 and 1602.
He was created Baron Harington of Exton in July 1603 at the coronation of King James I. He was made guardian of that king's daughter, Princess 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 Frederick V, Elector Palatine and Lord Harington accompanied her to the Electoral Palatinate, but died at Worms, Germany on his way home in 1613. After his death his estate at Exton was sold to pay his creditors, being purchased by Sir Baptist Hicks.
Marriage and progeny
- John Harington, 2nd Baron Harington of Exton (1592–1614), eldest son and heir;
- Lucy Harington (Lucy Russell, Countess of Bedford), wife of the Earl of Bedford.
- Frances Harington (d. 1615) (Lady Chichester), 1st wife of Sir Robert Chichester (1578–1627), Knight, of Raleigh, in the parish of Pilton in Devon. Her kneeling effigy survives Pilton Church. Her son was Sir John Chichester, 1st Baronet (1623–1667).
- Jan Broadway, ‘Harington, John, first Baron Harington of Exton (1539/40–1613)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, September 2004; online edn, August 2005 accessed 15 August 2005
Title last held byThe Earl of Huntingdon
| Lord Lieutenant of Rutland
John Harington, 2nd Baron Harington of Exton
|Peerage of England|
|New creation|| Baron Harington of Exton