HARRINGTON, Thomas (1635-at least 1690), of Boothby Pagnell, Lincs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

bap. 9 Dec. 1635, 1st s. of John Harrington of Boothby Pagnell by Esther, da. of Sir Henry Gibbs of Honington, Warws. educ. travelled abroad (France) 1655-7. m. by 1664, Eleanor, 1da. suc. fa. by 1657.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Lincs. (Kesteven) Sept. 1660-3, 1665-80, enclosures, Deeping fen 1665; receiver of taxes, Lincs. 1677-8, sheriff 1677-8, capt. of militia horse by 1680, dep. lt. 1680-9; alderman, Grantham 1685-Oct. 1688.2

Capt. indep. tp. 1685, 4 Dgn. Gds. 1687-Dec. 1688.


Harrington was the last of a family established in the East Midlands by the 14th century, first representing Rutland in 1384. His grandfather, a royalist commissioner of array, compounded for £463 on the Newark articles for his delinquency in the Civil War. Harrington and his brother contracted with a Roman Catholic officer in the Earl of Dumbarton’s regiment in 1676 ‘to raise twenty able and sufficient men to bear arms in the French king’s service and land them at Calais or Dieppe’. But ‘before they could get them near the sea-coast they quarrelled, mutinied, and ran away’. About the same time he presented a tankard to the corporation of Grantham, five miles from his home, with a promise ‘that he would at all times serve the corporation to the utmost of his power’. But when Sir William Thorold, whose grandson was married to Harrington’s daughter and heir, died early in the following year, the court candidate was Sir Robert Markham, and in 1680 he was arrested for debt by his uncle, a decayed London fishmonger. As a grand juryman in 1682, he assisted Markham in procuring a loyal address. His loyalty earned the commendation of the Earl of Lindsey (Robert Bertie I), and he was instrumental in the surrender of Grantham’s charter in 1684. The corporation thanked him for his ‘great trouble’ in obtaining a new charter, in which he was nominated alderman.3

Harrington was returned for Grantham with his kinsman (Sir) John Thorold as a Tory at the general election of 1685. A moderately active Member of James II’s Parliament, he was appointed to five committees, including those to report on expiring laws and to recommend expunctions from the Journals. On Monmouth’s landing Peregrine Bertie I wrote: ‘Tom Harrington has a troop given him, and many others of as little quality’. Nevertheless he was accepted for a permanent commission. He returned affirmative answers on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, and was ordered by Sunderland to stand for re-election in 1688.4

Harrington was a Jacobite after the Revolution, and on 19 May 1690 he was among those who had ‘listed themselves in several regiments under pretence of commissions from the late King James’, and were ordered by proclamation to give themselves up. The date of his death is unknown.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: J. S. Crossette


  • 1. Lincs. AO, Boothby Pagnell par. reg.; Lincs. Peds.(Harl. Soc. li), 462; Add. 34015, f. 101.
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. v. 616; G. H. Martin, Grantham Charters, 178, 226.
  • 3. HMC Buccleuch, i. 528; Cal. Comm. Comp. 1323; C10/201/38; C7/179/61; Lincs. AO, Monson mss, 7/11/37, 12/41; C7/544/52; CSP Dom. 1682, p. 138.
  • 4. Add. 38012, f. 5; CSP Dom. 1687-9, p. 275.
  • 5. CSP Dom. 1690-1, p. 23.