DORRINGTON, John (1547-1604), of Spaldwick, Hunts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 1547, 1st s. of Richard Dorrington of Spaldwick by Mary, da. of Christopher ?Basford of London. educ. St. Catharine’s 1559, Caius, Camb. 1561. m. Magdalene, da. of John Gyll of Layston, Herts., at least 1da. suc. fa. 1573. Kntd. 1603.1

Offices Held

Gent. pens. 1573/7-d.; j.p. Hunts. from c.1579; keeper of bandogs and mastiffs 1598.2


Dorrington became junior knight of the shire in 1584 through the partiality of the sheriff, after a contest for the junior seat, the only one to take place in Huntingdonshire in this period. A complaint was made to the House of Commons, who appointed the recorder of London and the solicitor-general to investigate. Twelve of Dorrington’s supporters were prosecuted in Star Chamber for perjury concerning their freehold qualification. Any outcome of the case is unknown, but Dorrington retained his seat. No reference has been found to any activity in the House by Dorrington, but, as a knight of the shire, he could have attended the subsidy committee appointed 24 Feb. 1585.3

In February 1601 Dorrington wrote from the Tower, where he was in attendance on the imprisoned 5th Earl of Rutland, begging Cecil for a place vacated by any of the Essex rebels named on the list he enclosed; his own meagre estate had, he said, been expended in the royal service. In that March and May he applied to leave the country on some unspecified business. He made his will 8 June 1604, when he was ill, asking to be buried in Spaldwick church, close to his father. His wife was executrix and residuary legatee. He forgave the debts of his brother Robert, left £200 to his daughter Cordelia, and £5 to the poor of Spaldwick and Upthorpe. The will was proved before the end of 1604.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N.M.S.


  • 1. Harl. 890, f. 48.
  • 2. APC, xii. 296; E. K. Chambers, Eliz. Stage, ii. 450-1.
  • 3. D’Ewes, 337, 338, 344, 345; St. Ch. 5/A41/32; Neale, Commons, 49; Lansd. 43, anon. jnl. f. 171.
  • 4. APC, xxxi. 230, 271; HMC Hatfield, xi. 74; PCC 82 Harte.