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Francis BARRINGTON / BERRINGTON (1685-1762), gentleman of Seal, Kent
There is no shortage of Francis Barringtons - many well-connected. The Francis Barrington who was Neil's ancestor was also born into a well-to-do family. His father Robert was a gentleman (i.e. of independent means) and a member of the Middle Temple; and his mother Anne, born Anne French of Seal in Kent, received a sizable legacy from her French family. Francis was their last child and only son.
Although Robert appears to have spelt his surname as 'Berrington' as often as 'Barrington', Francis was baptised as Francis Barrington on 29 Nov 1685 at St Andrew, Holborn, near the Middle Temple of which his father was a member. The given name of Francis was probably to honour his maternal grandfather and uncle, both of whom were called Francis French and from whom his mother profited financially. The address on the baptismal certificate was Southampton Buildings, Holborn, but Francis probably spent most of his time in the main family home in Stone Street, a hamlet in the village of Seal in the county of Kent.
It was in Seal that Francis found his wife, Rose Porter of the longstanding Porter family of Seal. The marriage allegation, i.e. the promise to marry, was dated 14 January 1715 at St Andrew, Holborn, where Francis was baptised and it gave his age as 'above 28' and hers as 'above 23'. Marriage allegations were valid for three months, but the marriage did not take place during that period. So I initially assumed that the couple changed their minds about the location and were married elsewhere. However, thanks to Sue Paul, a descendant, we now know that the marriage did take place at St Andrew, Holborn, but outside the three month period. The date was 14 June 1715.
Francis and Rose lived in the family home in Stone Street. He was a 'gentleman', i.e. of independent means and he owned considerable property. That and more we know from his will. Furthermore, his family was sufficiently highly regarded for the Best family of Kent to confer Barrington as a given name on generations after him. He and Rose had quite a large family. The following names have been fleshed out from various sources - see the footnote.
All the children of Francis and Rose were baptised as Barringtons rather then Berringtons, and the youngest, Mary, Neil's direct ancestor, also married as Barrington. Her elder brothers lived much of their lives as Barringtons but changed the preferred spelling to Berrington in later life. At some stage, Francis, too, changed the preferred spelling of his surname from Barrington to Berrington.
- French Barrington was baptised at Seal on 12 April 1716, and named after his maternal grandfather and uncle, both Francis French. He died when he was five and was buried in Seal on 5 Nov 1721.
- Robert Barrington was baptised at Seal on 2 September 1717, and named after his paternal grandfather, Robert. Either he lied about his age as he grew older - a common practice! - or he died in early childhood and his name was given to a younger brother about four years later. Robert married at Halstead in Kent as Robert Berrington on 4 Mar 1753 at an age given as 29. His bride was Frances Fuller of Keston, age 27. He was buried in Seal on 3 November 1779 and his age was recorded as 59 although, if he was the first Robert he would have been nearer 62. Known children included:
- Thomas Berrington was born about 1752 as estimated from his age at death. He married Clemmance (--?--) and died on 21 Aug 1814. He was "of Croydon" in Surrey but was buried at St Georges, Beckenham. His age as given as 62 on MI. A daughter Mary was baptized on 15 Sep 1797 at St John The Baptist, Croydon, Surrey, but there were probably other unrecorded children.
- Mary Berrington married Richard Crittall. Her headstone in St Georges, Beckenham read "Mrs Mary Crittall, wife of Mr Richard Crittall of this parish died March 30 1810 aged 53. Also Mr Richard Crittall, a native of Rotherfield in Sussex but for 67 years a much respected inhabitant of this parish died April 26 1845 aged 87."
- Francis Berrington was born about 1758, as estimated from his age at death. He died on 26 Oct 1834 and was buried at West Wickham (where his uncle Thomas Berrington settled). According to his headstone, he was for many years churchwarden of the parish of St John the Baptist, West Wickham.
- Elizabeth Berrington was baptized on 4 Sep 1761 at Seal and married into a Cooper family.
- Rose Berrington was baptized on 20 Oct 1765 at Seal. She too settled in West Wickham, and died there on 6 Aug 1822. Her headstone shows her as Mrs, which was either a clerical or transcription error or a courtesy title, as she appears not to have married.
- Francis Barrington was baptised Seal on 21 November 1718, and named after his father. He married - name of wife unknown - and had a son named after him. There may have been more children. He died in Oct 1766 aged 47 and was buried on 15 Oct 1766 at Seal.
- Ann Barrington was baptised at Seal 22 May 1720, and named after her maternal grandmother. She married John Camp and had sons Thomas and John.
- Emmie Barrington was baptised at Seal 25 Oct 1721, and presumably named after Francis's sister. She married Nicholas Moyse on 1 May 1751, by licence, in the chapel at Knole House in Sevenoaks, by far the largest landowner in the area, owning a lot of Seal parish. Known children of the marriage were Mary Moyse and Nicholas Moyse, but no other details are available. Tantalisingly an Elizabeth Moyse-Barrington was buried at Seal on 5 March 1750, i.e. before Emmie and Nicholas married. One can only speculate as to the origins of the record.
- French Barrington was born just after the death of Francis and Rose's first-born, so was named after him, so that the French name would not die out. This French was baptised on 16 Aug 1723 at Seal and married Mary Chamberlain on 17 Feb 1757 by licence in the Chapel at Knole. His name was written as Barrington in the register, although he signed his name as "Berrington". She signed hers as 'Chamberin'. He died in Jun 1783 at Seal aged 59. His will showed that he lived in Seal to the last and referred to his two only children, French and Elizabeth Berrington. Elizabeth married into the Kingsman family. French was buried on 23 Jun 1783 at Seal.
- Thomas Barrington was baptised at Seal 3 June 1725, and named after his great grandfather and great great grandfather from Datchet. He married Sarah Green of Godstone on 25 Feb 1749 at Saint Luke, Morden College, Old Charlton, Kent, and was a butcher in West Wickham. He died childless aged 76 and was buried on 6 Oct 1801 at West Wickham. His will has been a major source of genealogical data.
- Richard Barrington was baptized on 26 Jan 1726 or 1727 at Seal, and may have been named after Rose's brother. He died when he was only 2 and was buried on 14 Sep 1729 at Seal.
- Elizabeth Barrington was born about 1729, as estimated from her age at death. No baptismal record has yet shown up in the Seal parish records. She was either named after Francis's spinster sister who had left him property or after Rose's sister. On 16 Sep 1771 she was married, age 42, to the widower John Batten. She died 19 April 1792 aged 64 years.
- John Barrington was presumably named after Francis's uncle, but he died at about six months. He was baptized on 28 Jul 1730 at Seal and was buried there on 18 Feb 1731.
- Mary Barrington was Neil's direct ancestor, and was presumably named after Francis's aunt. Mary has her own page.
One cannot help but be struck that none of Francis and Rose's children appear to have been named after Rose or her father William. This is all the more surprising because Rose's Porter family had a long and well-to-do tradition in Seal (if one goes back far enough, although the more recent Porters may have been more humble). One can only speculate as to reasons for the omissions. Rose's given name, though, was carried on through her granddaughter, the daughter of her son Robert.
Also there appears to have been a Mr William Barrington (not Berrington) in Seal. His name was on a list of parishioners for Seal in 1757. There is one 'esq' (the John Pratt who is mentioned in Francis Berrington's will), one 'Mrs' and five 'Mr', then 104 names without any title, so William was high up in the village hierarchy. One possibility is that he was Francis's cousin, the son of John Berrington of Datchet, his father Robert's brother, but this would have made him 87 at the time of the entry. Surprisingly Francis himself was not on the list; so perhaps William (actually written as Wm) was a clerical or transcription error.
Rose was buried in Seal on 1 September 1751. No reliable burial record for Francis has shown up, but he probably died in 1762, as his will was proved on 19 Nov 1762.
- the will of Francis Berrington
- the will of Francis's son Thomas
- monumental inscriptions in Kent churchyards
- Seal parish records
- the documents related to Datchet - see the Updates page
- the research of David Williams. He has consulted various contemporary records for a forthcoming book on the history of Seal - his contribution being for the period 1660-1815. I am grateful to him for sharing his work, in particular: the 1925 transcripts of the Seal parish registers by Thomas Colyer-Fergusson; list of parishioners for Seal dated 1757; 1734 and 1754 poll lists for Seal; 1664 hearth tax return; and settlement certificates for Sevenoaks from the 18th century.