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Medieval BERRINGTON / BERINGTON families across England

This page gives genealogy data on Berrington families (and their spelling variants) in England during the late medieval period. The data was researched in the hope of providing a base for exploring the ancestry of Neil's Berrington ancestors who seem to have arrived in Datchet, Buckinghamshire, not long before the birth of Thomas Berrington (c1538 - 1603). The research, which is still very much in progress, has thrown up various possibilities, but none is so far confirmed. There are three sections to the page: by county, by place-names and by miscellaneous notes.

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Note on the spelling and origin of the Barrington / Berrington name

Spelling variations include: Barrington, Berrington, Berington, Barentin, Berinton, Barenten, Barenton, Barentine, Barentyn, Barrinton, Barringston, to name but a few. For example, according to a letter in the Hereford Archives from Mr Temple Morris of Shrewsbury to Henry M Hawkins Esq dated 13 March 1858:

In Doomsday, Berington co Salop is written "Beritune". In the Hundred Roles of 1255 and 1774, it is written "Biriton" and the name of Nicholas de Berrington is also written "Biriton". Various members of the family are in the early records of this town; and thereon during the reigns of Edward 2nd and 3rd, I find the name written "de Biryton", "de Byriton" and "de Byryton".

During the Medieval period there was no consistency in spelling. What mattered was that the spelling enabled a word to sound right when it was read aloud and to be interpreted correctly by others.

The consensus of secondary sources seems to be that the Barrington / Berrington name derives from those supporters of William of Normandy who came to England from Barentin in Normandy for or shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The early records accordingly preface the name with the French 'de', i.e. 'de Barentin' translated 'of Barentin'. William rewarded his Norman supporters, including the de Barentins, with various manors across England.

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Berrington(and variants mentions by country and isle

Medieval Berrington records have so far been located in the English counties and islands listed below. The data is based largely on the heraldic visitation records*, which sadly do not give dates in their pedigree trees. Where possible dates have been added or estimated from other sources, but this has been a somewhat random process because the variations in the spellings of the Berrington surname have meant that potentially useful on-line sources do not always turn up in searches.

Berkshire

Coat 
      of arms of the Berington family of Streatley, Buckinghamshire

"Coat of arms of the Berington family of Streatley, Buckinghamshire, presumably inherited from the Barrington family of Hereford - from the 1566 Herald's Visitation of Berkshire.

During the sixteenth century, there was a Berington family in Berkshire: in Streatley, near Reading. This family descended from the Berringtons / Beringtons of Herefordshire. For further information on both, see the Berringtons of Herefordshire page. Their coat of arms, three collared greyhounds, is shown on the right.

Incidentally, Datchet, where Neil's Berringtons were based, is on the borders of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. Somewhat confusingly, it is now located in Berkshire although in the time of Neil's Berringtons it was formally in Buckinghamshire. So far, no link between the Datchet and Streatley Berringtons / Beringtons has been established.

Buckinghamshire

As argued on the Berringtons of Datchet, Buckinghamshire page, no Berringtons seem to have been there before the early sixteenth century.

Cheshire

Arms of the Berrington family of Bradwall, Cheshire.

Arms of the Berrington family of Bradwall, Cheshire. Note the three greyounds which also appear in the arms of the Berrington family of Hereford.

The 1580 Visitation of Cheshire has an entry for the Berington [sic] family of Bradwall, Cheshire. The crest includes among other things the same three greyhounds as the Hereford and Berkshire Berringtons.

The pedigree starts with Radoll Berington and goes ten generations to Elenor Berington who was living at the time of the Visitation in 1580.  On the estimate of 30 years per generation, this would suggest that the following individuals in the tree were alive sometime around the dates given in brackets below. The reason for the revised dates is given in the Note below.

Note on dates: A record held in the Vernon Collection at the Cheshire and Chester Archives registers a claim made by a William de Berington regarding land in the manor of Bradwall. It is dated 'Ao 15 Edw. III'. Edward III reigned during the 50-year period of 1327-77. So the William concerned is probably the one above originally estimated at c1390. Consequently the estimated dates have been revised earlier. Further evidence on which to estimate dates comes from the 1613 Visitation of Cheshire which gives some annotations. Although it does not have a Berington pedigree, some dates occur in Berington mentions in other pedigrees.

The other branch to the tree in the Visitation is via Adam, the second son of Randoll (there called Randall):

The 1613 Visitation of Cheshire gives some descendants of John, the first son of William Berington (c1390) [1370 revised] of Bradwall and Margery:

There is clearly some confusion between the 1580 and the 1613 Visitation as the same names appear to come down through different sons of William Berington (c1390) [1370 revised] of Bradwall and Margery: Henry in the 1560 Visitation and John in the 1613 Visitation.

Male Berrington from a 1658 stained glass window in Farndon Church
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A male Berrington from a 1658 stained glass window in Farndon Church. Note the three greyhounds on the shield.

A number of other Berrington records are held in the Cheshire and Chester Archives from the 1600s onwards but they are outside the scope of this study. They do, however, show that Beringtons / Berringtons were in Cheshire long after the Visitations. Furthermore, the given names of John, William, Thomas and Robert continued to be perpetuated as was the case with the Datchet Berringtons. One unnamed Cheshire Berrington is depicted with others in a small stained glass window dated 1658 in the church at Farndon which is just outside Chester. Although the individuals in the window are not labelled, documents in the archives identify the one shown in the photograph as a 'Berrington' (with two Rs), the standard bearer. The identification comes from the shield showing three greyhounds, which in turn suggests that the Berrington line originally came from Herefordshire - see below. Neil and I took the photograph on a visit to the church.

There are a number of 'loose ends' in terms of male Berringtons of Cheshire, who could conceivably have gone on to have a son, grandson or great grandson who was Thomas of Datchet (before ;1538 - 1603).

Devonshire

The late Medieval records in the IGI flag Burringtons [sic] in Devonshire. Yet the Visitation of 1654 gives no mention of the family. 

Coat of arms of the Berington family of Streatley, Buckinghamshire

Coat of arms of the Berington family of Streatley, Buckinghamshire, presumably inherited from the Barrington family of Hereford - from the 1566 Herald's Visitation of Berkshire.

Herefordshire

For reasons argued on the Berringtons of Herefordshire page, this was the county that seemed to be the most likely one for starting to look for Neil's Berrington ancestors. However, as explained on that page, the research drew a blank. The Visitation of Berkshire shows that some Herefordshire Berringtons spread out into Berkshire, but no doubt they also spread elsewhere.

Jersey

In the fourteenth century, according to Balleine's Biographical Dictionary of Jersey, the de Barentins held the following manors in Jersey: Rozel. Samares, Longueville. Dielament, La Hougue Boete, Houmet, La Fosse and Paisne. For a hundred years they were one of the most important families in the Island. The founder was Drogo De Barentin (also written as Drouet, Drui and Drew) who died about 1265.**

Norfolk

According to the Victoria History of Norfolk, a chapel was founded in Ickburgh, Norfolk by William De Barentin under King Edward I (1272 - 1307). It later became a leper hospital. No Barentin / Berrington lines are listed in the 1563 and 1613 Visitation of Norfolk.

Northumberland (north of England/Yorkshire)

Various records put a Berrington family in the North of England. However no Berrington references by any spelling variation showed up in Visitations of the north, or some early heraldic visitations of, and collections of pedigrees relating to, the north of England, Parts 1-4. (Bob Boynton, University of Iowa).

Oxfordshire

The Pedigree Resource File of the Latter Day Saints indicates that a John Barrington / Berentyne was born about 1426 in Haseley Parva, Oxfordshire. So there were 'Berringtons' in Oxfordshire in the late Medieval period.

Entries in the 1566 and 1634 Visitation of Oxfordshire show that Elizabeth, widow of Francis Barrantyne, son and heir of Wm. Barantine of Hasley in Oxon, Knight, married R. Fynes of Broughton in Oxon. There was no issue. So this would seem an unlikely ancestor of Thomas of Datchet.

Also Anne daughter of Sir Nicholas Barrington, Knight married John Anne (an unusual surname) of North Aston - but this almost certainly links with the other line of Essex Barringtons.

A note in the Visitation reads: The above are the quarterings of Sir William Barrentyne over the belfry door on the north side of the church at Churchill [where quarterings is a term from heraldry indicating pedigree]: "Three eagles (Barrentyne)". The other quarters are from the Drayton, Popham and Malyns families. Sir William Barrentyne was lord of Churchill after the de Noers in 1447.

Research by W. D. Macray *** on the Charters relating to Chalgrove and other various other documents held in Magdalen College, Oxford, has traced their descent to the year 1485. He starts with a note dated 27 December 1233 in the Royal letters of Henry III: 

"Drogo de Barentyne. Grant to him by Henry III of half the manor of Chaugave [sic] until the King or his heirs shall restore the manor, formerly belonging to Hugh de Malo Alneto, to the right heirs ..."

The pedigree, however, begins later with Sir William de Barentyne, Knight (c1290 - 1300) who married an unnamed daughter of the lord of the manor of Chalgrove. (The meaning of the dates is uncertain and probably refers to the range of dates covered by the original documents that Macray examined.) The couple's son was another Drogo, Sir Drogo, Knight (1290 - 1320). Hovering beside him on the chart with no parents or descendants is Hugo de Barentyne 1284.

Next comes a Thomas Barantyne of Henton (1333 - 1364), whose parents are not shown. He married an Elizabeth and two children are noted: Drugo [sic] 1346 and Thomas 1368 - 1399 who may married Elizabeth Malus and then possibly a Joan.

A son (presumably the eldest surviving son) of Thomas and Elizabeth Malus was Reginald (1394 - 1429) who married first another Elizabeth and then Joan, daughter of John James of Wallingford. Reginald is noted with Arms of three eagles.

Reginald and Joan had a son named Drogo who was upwards of 40 years old in 1441 and who married a Beatrix and then a Joan.

Drogo and Joan had a son John who was upwards of 16 years old in 1453. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Stephen Popham, Knight.

Their son John is the last entry in the pedigree and is described as "of Little Hasely, upwards of 15 years old in 1474". Interestingly he disposed of all his interests in the manors of Goldore, Rufford and Chalgrove in 1485. He died in December of that year. A wife Mary is noted, but no children - presumably because the research related to Chalgrove and they had moved on. However, if there were children, this John is a candidate for being the grandfather of Thomas of Datchet. The names of Thomas and John were certainly in the families of both of them. However, such speculation comes nowhere near proof.

Shropshire (also known as Salop)

Shopshire is the home of the village of Berrington which is 5 miles to the S.E. of the town Shrewsbury on the banks of the River Severn. As mentioned above, according to the pre-1858 research of Mr Temple Morris of Shrewsbury various members of the family Berrington are in its early records.

The 1623 Visitation of Shropshire (which includes pedigrees from the earlier 1241 and 1396 Visitations) shows a pedigree for Berington of Shrewsbury and Moat Hall. It goes back via the female line to Edward I of England, the Plantaganet King known as Edward Longshanks (1272-1307). However, it is some four generations later that a Berington enters pedigree with an Alicia marrying a Rogerus Berington. A generation later Alicia's niece married a Roger de Berington and had a son listed as William Beriton. That branch of the tree stops there in the Visitation, which continues with the descendants of Rogerus Berington as shown below. Dates are not given in the pedigree, but can be estimated on the basis of 30 years per generation, backed up from contemporary records - see the Note below.

The pedigree then becomes rather complex to unravel because it is contorted to fit onto the page. However, by that time, it was too late for any of the family to be ancestors of Thomas Berrington (before 1538-1603) of Datchet.

With regard to putting dates to the names in the Visitation, I have relied on the 1560 Bailiffship of Shrewsbury; the Middle Temple reference to Thomas Berrington, admitted 26 October 1580, late of New Inn, gentleman, son and heir of Roger Berrington of Calcott, Salop; and the website on Discovering Shropshire's history which states:

In 1545-6 the corporation made a perpetual grant to alderman Thomas Berington of a tower ... In 1586 Roger Berington was presented for failing to repair ..." These two Beringtons are probably father and son or grandfather and son. So they almost certainly refer to the Thomas who married Cecilia and Roger, his son, who married Margaretta.

The Shropshire Archives holds a title grant dated 8 Nov 1434 with parties William Burton of Burton (Boreton) and John Berrington (Byriton) of Pycheford (Pitchford) [part of Condover] and Isabel his wife

The profusion of the names of John, Robert and Thomas are significant in view of the tradition of carrying names on in families. These were the names that Thomas Berrington (<1538 - 1603) of Datchet gave to his three sons.

The pedigree seems to show one possibility for the Thomas (before1538 - 1603) who could have forsaken Shropshire for Datchet: Thomas (c1425), son of Rogerus and Alicia, grandson of Robertus Berington (c1395).

Staffordshire

The Pedigree Resource File of the Latter Day Saints indicates that a William Barrington was born in 1420 in Parva Hayward, Staffordshire, but no further details of that line have so far emerged. Burial records show a Berrington presence in the county, but for no-one as early as would be a possible ancestor of Thomas of Datchet. Similarly an excellent old map exists for Staffordshire, showing the Berrington coat of arms, but that too is too late for any ancestry of Thomas of Datchet.

Surrey

Two Surrey witnessed by a Thomas Beryngton show that he was a priest in Stoke Dabernon in 1538. He probably moved there because there was a church living available, so the record implies nothing about the location of his parents or ancestors.

Sussex

The 1530 and 1633-4 Visitation of Sussex has the following entries for the Barentyne family:

Warwickshire

The 1619 Visitation of Warwickshire shows no Berington pedigree but the following mentions of individuals occur as follows in the pedigrees of other families:

Worcestershire

Little Malvern Court in Worcestershire became the home of a Berington family by descent around 1539. The Worcestershire origins of that family are therefore too recent to be significant for directly relevant for the ancestry of Thomas Berrington (<1538 - 1603) of Datchet. The 1569 Visitation of Worcestershire gives no specific Berington pedigree although it does mention Beringtons who married into other Gloucestershire families:

These records confirm the Berington names in other visitations but shed no light on the origins of Thomas Berrington (<1538 - 1603) of Datchet.

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Berrington Place names

It could be worth noting places named Berrington, as it was not unusual for place-names to have their origins with individuals and families. There seem to be the following villages called Berrington in the England:

Nowhere seems to be called Berington (with one R).

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Miscellaneous notes from various sources

There is no shortage of references to individual Berringtons (with their spelling variants). However, most of the individuals concerned lived after the Medieval period. The following exceptions have so far come to light - mainly from web searches unless otherwise referenced. The dates are those of the mentions in documents; often with the abbreviation fl on the originals - which meant 'flourished' or 'did his deeds'.

Barentin of Jersey chart

N. B. Michael G. I. Ray claims that there were at least seven Drogo Barentins ****.

By 1263 he [Drogo De Barentin] was sent back to England [from Jersey] for, when the King in October left Westminster after a violent quarrel in Parliament with De Montfort, and went to Windsor with the Earls and Barons who adhered to him, in the lists of Knights in Windsor Castle we find De Barentin's name. On 20 November, he was appointed Keeper of the Castle, Town and Forest of Windsor.

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* For information from the Visitations and for general valuable support with my Berrington / Barrington research, I am indebted to Mike Swift of Adelaide.

** For information and pointers relating to the Jersey De Barentins and their involvement in England, I am indebted to Rosemary Hampton who is preparing a book on the history of Jersey.

*** Macray, W. D. Descent of the Family of Barentyne in Oxfordshire, to the Year 1485, from the Charters Relating to Chalgrove, Henton, Goldore, and the Neighbourhood Among the Muniments of Magdalen College. Oxfordshire Archaeological Society Reports 55 (1909). Banbury: Oxfordshire Archaeological Society, 1910.

**** Michael G. I. Ray (2006) Alien knights in a hostile land: the experience of curial knights in thirteenth-century England and the assimilation of their families Historical Research 79 (206), 451476.

Note that the Medieval IGI records all seem to refer to the Essex Barringtons who probably splintered off from the other families of similar name very early. They may even have belonged to different families from Barentin in Normandy.

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