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Research status of the Kent BARRINGTONs: before June 2006
This page documents the status of the research into Neil's Barrington ancestry as of the early summer of 2006. It summarises the sources checked, the outcomes and the dead ends and why it seemed impossible to take back the Barrington ancestry of the Best family beyond Francis Barrington (1685-1762) of Seal, Kent. Later in the summer, rich new material did become available, so this needs to read in conjunction with the page on the research update. This page has been left as it was prior to the new information, in order to illustrate the highs and lows of family history research.
Now read the UPDATE!
I have tried the following routes to take the line back before the Francis shown in the chart, but so far have met only with dead ends:
- There are no Barrington or Berrington inscriptions in or around the parish church at Seal. (Source "The monumental inscriptions at Seal" from Margaret Stevens’ Past Generations of Seal and Kempsing from the Memorials of the Churches.) I was really surprised to draw such a complete blank, particularly as there are inscriptions for neighbours whose lands are mentioned in Francis Berrington's will.
- I commissioned a search of the land archives from the Centre for Kentish Studies, but contemporary ones were no longer in existence.
- Hasted's History of Kent, a more or less contemporary account, makes no mention of property owned by Barringtons or Berrington's either in Seal or anywhere else. Again, I was rather surprised, as Seal doesn’t appear to be a large place. Perhaps Hasted used only the available records without flagging up the possible significance of the missing records.
- I had high hopes that the National Archives at Kew might hold something useful in their records of changes of name. However, such records turned out not to go back sufficiently far.
- I commissioned a search for the marriage of Francis and Rose from the Centre for Kentish Studies but they drew a blank from their indexes of parish records. They did recommend a privately held set of indexes which also drew a blank on the marriage, although it did yield additional information on the children of Francis and Rose.
- Francis Barrington named his first son French - a strange name I feel. It could have been given for any number of reasons. Perhaps French was the surname of his wife Rose and there were family reasons for wanting to continue it; perhaps something significant in the family had happened in France; perhaps French was a given name of a father or grandfather. There may be some clues here but nothing convincingly confirms any of these possibilities from the sources currently available. Incidentally the Irish French Barrington must be irrelevant here because he lived a century later and was clearly named after his mother whose maiden name was French. [Once the documents described in the Update arrived, the reason for the name was clearly to honour 'our' French's maternal grandmother, born Ann French.]
- I was thrilled to find from a book of pedigrees that one for Barrington appeared in the 1667 visitation of Kent. Having got hold of it, though, it did not help with the ancestry of Francis. It showed an Edward Barrington at Maydstone (Maidstone) in Kent. His tree linked back through his father, John Barrington of Aylesford, Kent and Lincolns Inn to his grandfather, also John Barrington of Baddow in Essex - ie to the Essex Barringtons. Edward could have been Francis' father, but I can find nothing to confirm this. According to Tim Powys-Lybbe's website, John Barrington of Baddow is rather a mystery. The families of the Barringtons of the Hatfield Broadoak estate in Essex seem to have been rather small in the 16th century and there is no family record of a John born at that time who is not otherwise accounted for. The 'Tofts' property was in Baddow in the 17th century when a younger Barrington son held it. The earlier 1619 visitation of Kent made no mention any Barringtons.
- The 1667 visitation of Kent shows that the candidate for Francis' father, Edward Barrington, had a wife born Anne Peirson or Anne Pearson. According to the IGI, the couple married on 28 December 1658 at St Clement Danes, Westminster, London. Edward's parents were John Barrington and wife, born Jane Haggett of Barking. That John was of Aylesford in Kent and Lincolns Inn, so presumably he was a lawyer. His father was another John Barrington, this time of Baddow in Essex. Working backwards John the older would have been born about 1580, but an estimate over two generations can only be very approximate.
With no more sources to try, the best way forward now seems to be to link in with the research of others. Hopefully someone with information to share may get in touch through this website.