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The royal and noble connections of the Kent BARRINGTONs

Before the new information came to light in July 2006, there seemed to be a strong possibility that our Barrington ancestry was connected with Sir Francis Barrington, the Lord Protector of England (Oliver Cromwell) and the monarchy. This page considers the pros and cons of the case as it stood then. Even though that case is now shown to be largely invalid, the page is being kept in its original form to illustrate the processes by which research into family history advances and how hypotheses may be verified but all too often may not be. It is still quite possible that our Barrington line is related to the Sir Francis Barrington, Essex Barrington line, although it would have had to split from it much earlier. Certainly our Barrington line was of the moneyed gentry, and it may therefore have descended from an early king or queen. Time and further research may tell.

Everything that I have unearthed so far seems to point to there being an ancestral link between the Kent Barringtons, royalty, the nobility and Oliver Cromwell. Nevertheless the one father-son link that would prove the connection, remains illusive.

It is certain that Neil's line goes back to a wealthy Francis Barrington (c1688-1762) who - in view of the custom of the time regarding names - almost certainly had a father, grandfather or uncle of the same name. Further clues to his ancestry come from the names that the gave his sons: Francis named three of them Robert, Francis and Thomas. So these were almost certainly family names.

In such circumstances, the most likely ancestral candidate is Sir Francis Barrington of Barrington Hall in Essex. That Francis (1570 - 1628) married Lady Joan Cromwell, aunt of the Lord Protector of England, Oliver Cromwell (1599 - 1658). Tim Powys-Lybbe's website shows that the known children and grandchildren of Sir Francis and Lady Joan Cromwell included more Francis Barringtons. Furthermore, Francis, Robert, Thomas and John appear to be the preferred given names. The 'home' counties of Kent and Essex are adjacent, with only the River Thames between them. Against the hypothesis of Francis of Seal being descended from Sir Francis is that all the Francis Barringtons on the Tim Powys-Lybbe's website seem to be otherwise accounted for.

An incontrovertible link between the Essex and the Kent Barringtons comes from the 1667 visitation of Kent which shows an Edward Barrington of Maydstone (Maidstone) in Kent. His father was John Barrington of Aylesford in Kent, and his father was John Barrington of Baddow in Essex, where the Tofts estate is situated. Tofts was a Barrington manor, at one time the home of Sir Gobert Barrington. Edward could well be a candidate for the father of "our" Francis Barrington of Seal. Nevertheless, likely as it is and satisfying as it would be, it is unconfirmed.

A confirmed link with the Essex Barringtons would be fascinating. Pedigree charts in "The Complete Peerage" show the Essex Barringtons descended from King Edward I of England [born 1239, reigned 1272-1307] and his wife, Eleanor of Castile. The IGI shows the line of the Sir Francis Barrington who married Lady Joan Cromwell going back to Nicholas Barrington, born about 1475. The recorded Cromwell line goes back to about 1338 with the birth of Richard Cromwell.

The page on possible sources for the Barrington research documents the routes taken to try to bridge the genealogical gap between "our" Francis Barrington and the Essex Barringtons - or indeed any other ancestor. So far, though, all have produced dead-ends.

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