SHARINGTON, Henry (c.1518-81), of Lacock, Wilts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b.c.1518, 3rd s. of Thomas Sharington of Sharrington, Norf. by Katherine (or Elizabeth), da. of William Pyrton of Little Bentley, Essex. Bro. and h. of Sir William Sharington, of Lacock. m. Ann (d.1607), da. of Robert Paget, alderman of London, 1s. d.v.p. 3da. suc. bro. 1553. Kntd. 1574.1

Offices Held

Cdr. of troops in France 1557; j.p. Wilts. 1561, q. by 1574, sheriff 1567-8; commr. musters by 1573.2


Sharington’s brother, a man of his time, was both a speculator in monastic lands and a debaser of the coinage. He used the profits of one sale to finance another, and his admitted depredations as a mint official caused him to be condemned to death. He survived, however, and lived to buy back the property forfeited by his attainder. Thus the manors of Lacock, Charlton, Liddington, Walcot, Woodrow and Winterbourne, with other valuable Wiltshire lands, passed to Henry Sharington, any doubts being settled by an Exchequer judgment about 1560. It was because of his local standing that Sharington was returned for Ludgershall to Elizabeth’s first Parliament, leaving no trace upon the vestigial journals of 1559. The local records, however, contain many references to his buying and selling property. In particular, with Gabriel Pleydell he entered into numerous deals to the disadvantage of the simple-minded Andrew Baynton, the two finally contriving to have themselves appointed executors of Baynton’s will, though in the event they were forced to compromise so that some of the ‘overplus’ after paying legacies went, not to them, as they intended, but to Baynton’s brother Edward.3

Classified in 1564 as a ‘furtherer earnest’ of sound religion, Sharington was a friend of Bishop Jewell, who in 1571 preached his last sermon at Lacock. Sharington was one of the commissioners appointed in 1574 to inquire at Chippenham into property bequeathed for the maintenance of ‘obits, lights and anniversaries’, and to find out what had happened to it since Edward VI’s reign. It was in the September of that year that Queen Elizabeth stopped at Lacock on her progress between Bristol and Wilton, knighting Sharington on the occasion.4

Despite his obvious eminence in the county, Sharington’s conduct was on several occasions too much for the Privy Council. In 1567 the inhabitants of Chippenham, where he was lord of the hundred, complained that he had provoked a brawl by ordering his servants to pull down ‘shambles and shops’ in the town. Later in the same year, when he was sheriff of Wiltshire, he was accused of arresting the ‘balie’ and constable of Chippenham and refusing bail; he had also taken away the key of ‘the church house of Chippenham called the guildhall’, claiming the building as his private property. The matter was apparently settled in Sharington’s favour, since in 1572 the town was paying him rent for the guildhall.5

He also quarrelled with the local authorities of Devizes, whose mayor, in 1574, complained to the Privy Council that Sharington had said ‘that the mayor ... hath no more authority to punish than his horse’. Details of the charges are missing, but Sharington was ordered to come to London, having told his accusers the time and place of his summons, so that they could also be present. The Council ordered Sir John Thynne and others to ‘hear and end the matter’. Next, Sharington became involved in the dispute between Peter Blackborowe and the Wiltshire clothiers. In pursuit of their policy to force the cloth industry back into the corporate towns, the Privy Council in 1577 ordered Sharington and others to deal with Blackborowe’s grievances. Several Council letters, written between September of that year and the following June, and growing sharper in tone, suggest that the Wiltshire gentry, many of them sheep farmers, had no desire to be embroiled with a wealthy vested interest in the county, where the cloth factories by 1578 were largely outside the towns.6

Sharington’s propensity for causing trouble followed him beyond the grave. His only son having died in 1563, his property fell to be divided between his three daughters: Grace, who married Anthony Mildmay, Ursula, wife of Thomas Sadler, and Olive, married first to John Talbot of Salwarpe, Worcestershire, and secondly to Sir Robert Stapleton. Sharington drew up a draft will on 17 Nov. 1575, to which was attached a detailed household inventory showing goods valued at over £1,000, and the existence at Lacock of a vast retinue of hangers on. This will was never proved, however, the court accepting a nuncupative will made in January 1581. Probate was delayed until the following December while the widow and sole executrix went to law with Grace Mildmay. Among the State Papers is ‘Sir Walter Mildmay’s request on behalf of his son against unjust attempts of John Talbot to deprive his son’s wife of manors allotted to her by her father, Sir Henry Sharington’.7

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. C142/101/121; Genealogist, n.s. xii. 241; CPR, 1554-5, p. 309.
  • 2. HMC Foljambe, 6; Lansd 56, ff. 168 seq.
  • 3. C142/101/121; Aubrey, Wilts. Topog. Colls. ed. Jackson, 91 n, 92 n; Wilts. Boro. Recs. (Wilts. Arch. Soc. recs. br. v), 9; Lansd. 56, f. 168 seq.; Wilts. N. and Q. iii. 168; iv. 160, 375, 504-5; v. 26-7.
  • 4. Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 38; DNB (Jewell, John); Wilts N. and Q. vii. 201; Nichols, Progresses Eliz. i. 408; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xxvi. 46-7; lxiii. 72-82.
  • 5. Wilts. Boro. Recs. 9; F. H. Goldney, Chippenham Recs. 292 seq., 323.
  • 6. B. H. Cunnington, Annals Devizes, i. 60-1; APC, viii. 284, 286; x. 28-9, 157-8, 233-4.
  • 7. Wilts. Arch. Mag. xxvi. 46-47; xxxvii. 615; lxiii. 72-82; Genealogist, n.s. xii. 241; PCC 44 Darcy; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 35; C142/276/464; 193/91.