Sir John PAKINGTON of Westwood

Born: 1549

Died: Jan 1624/5

Buried: Aylesbury

Father: Thomas PAKINGTON of Hampton (Sir)

Mother: Dorothy KYTSON

Married: Dorothy SMITH (b. 1564 - d. 1639) (dau. of Humphrey Smith) (w. of Benedict Barnham)  Nov 1598


1. Anne PAKINGTON (C. Chesterfield) (b. 1598 - d. 1667)

2. John PAKINGTON (1° Bt.) (b. 1600 – d. 1624)


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The son of Sir Thomas Pakington (b. 1530 - d. 2 Jun 1571). His grandfather, Robert Pakington, younger brother of Sir John Pakington (d. 1560), was a London mercer, was M.P. for the city in 1534, was murdered in London in 1537, and was buried at St. Pancras, Needler's Lane.

His great-uncle Sir John (d. 1560), serjeant-at-law, was eldest son of John Pakington, by Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Thomas Washbourne of Stanford, Worcestershire. He entered the Inner Temple, and was Lent reader in 1520. He must have had influence at court, as on 21 Jun 1509 he was made choreographer of the court of common pleas. On 3 Jun 1513 he had a grant of land in Gloucestershire, and in 1515 was a collector of aids for that county. His place at the common pleas was re-granted to himself and Austin Pakington on 12 Oct 1525, and in 1529 he became treasurer of the Inner Temple. On 5 Apr 1529 he had an extraordinary grant from King Henry VIII ― namely, that he might wear his hat in his presence and in the presence of his successors, 'or of any other persons whatsoever, and not to be uncovered on any occasion or cause whatsoever against his will and good liking', and that, if made a baron of the exchequer or serjeant-at-law, he should be exempt from knighthood. In 1532 he was made serjeant-at-law, and was not knighted. He was heavily fined in 1531 for a misdemeanour in the conduct of his office. In 1535 he was made a justice of North Wales, and a commissioner to conclude and compound for all fines and debts due to Henry VII. On 31 Aug 1540 he became custos rotulorum for Worcestershire. On 29 Sep 1540 he was commissioner to inquire what jewels, &c., had been embezzled from the shrine of St. David's. For the rest of his life he worked in Wales, where he is spoken of as a judge, but he lived chiefly at Hampton-Lovett in Worcestershire. Henry VIII enriched Pakington with many grants, and knighted him on his return from Boulogne in 1545. He was from time to time in the commission of the peace for various counties. Under Edward VI he was, in 1551, nominated a member of the council for the Welsh marches. He was said to own thirty-one manors at the time of his death. Henry VIII had given him Westwood, Worcestershire, and other estates, and he had trafficked in abbey lands to some extent (see Dep.-Keeper of Publ. Records, 10th Rep. pt. ii. p.247), but the account must have been exaggerated. In the subsidy roll, in which the valuations were always unduly low, he was rated at no more than 50l. a year. Pakington died in 1560, and was buried at Hampton-Lovett. He married Anne, seemingly daughter of Henry Dacres, sheriff of London, and widow of Robert Fairthwayte, and perhaps also of one Tychborne. She died in 1563. By her he had two daughters: Ursula, who married William Sccudamore, and Bridget, who married Sir John Lyttleton of Frankley, Worcestershire, and after his death three other husbands.

Sir Thomas Pakington inherited from his mother, Agnes (or Catherine), daughter of Sir John Baldwin (d. 1545), large estates in and near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, and was also heir to his uncle, Sir John Pakington. He was knighted by Queen Mary on 2 Oct 1553, and was sheriff of Worcester in 1561. He died at Bath Place, Holborn, on 2 Jun 1571, and was buried at Aylesbury on the 12th. He married Dorothy, daughter of Sir Thomas Kitson of Hengrave in Suffolk, by whom he had two daughters and one son. His widow, who was his sole executrix, acquired some celebrity by her interference in electioneering matters. On 4 May 1572 she issued a writ in her own name as 'lord and owner of the town of Aylesbury', appointing burgesses for the constituency. This scandalized the local citizens. She afterwards married Thomas Tasburgh of Hawridge (b. 1554 - d. 1602) in Buckinghamshire, and died 2 May 1577.

John, the only son of Sir Thomas, was born in 1549, was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, graduated B.A. on 13 Dec. 1569, and was a student of Lincoln's Inn in 1570. His sister  Mary married Sir Walter Long. Pakington attracted the notice of Queen Elizabeth in her progress to Worcester in Aug 1570, when she invited him to court. In London he lived for a few years in great splendour, and outran his fortune. He was remarkable both for his wit and the beauty of his person. The Queen, who took great pleasure in his athletic achievements, nicknamed him ‘Lusty Pakington’. It is said that he once laid a wager with three other courtiers to swim from Westminster to London Bridge, but the Queen forbade the match. From 1587 to 1601 Pakington was deputy-lieutenant for Worcester. In 1587 he was knighted. In 1593 he was granted by the crown a patent for starch (Noake, Worcestershire Nuggets, p. 272; Hist. MSS. Comm. 5th Rep. p. 277, 6th Rep. p. 257, 7th Rep. p. 94). The Queen, to help him in his financial difficulties, made him bow-bearer of Malvern Chase, and is said to have given him a valuable estate in Suffolk; but when he went to the place and saw the distress of the widow of the former owner, he begged to have the property transferred to her. Strict economy and a period of retirement enabled him to pay his debts, and a wealthy marriage in 1598 greatly improved his position. Pakington devoted much attention to building, and to improving his estates in Worcestershire. The central portion of the house at Westwood, which after the civil war became the residence of the family, was his work. He also constructed a lake at Westwood, which unfortunately encroached on the highway. His right to alter the road being questioned, he impetuously had the embankments cut through, and the waters of his lake streamed over the country and coloured the Severn for miles. He was sheriff for the county of Worcester in 1595 and in 1607. In Jun 1603 he entertained James I with great magnificence at his house at Aylesbury. In 1607 Pakington, as justice of the peace for Worcestershire, resisted the jurisdiction claimed by the council of Wales over the county (Wright, Ludlow, p. 419).

He married, in Nov 1598, Dorothy, daughter of Humphrey (Ambrose) Smith of Cheapside (d.1584), a silk merchant, and Johanna Cole (d. 1601). Some sources says that Dorothy’s father was Queen Elizabeth’s silkman. This does not appear to be correct, but royal silkwoman Alice Montague was Alice Smythe, widow, before her 1562 marriage. It seems likely she was married to a relative of Humphrey’s, perhaps a brother. 

Dorothy Smith was the widow of Benedict Barnham (b. 1559 - d. 1598), a merchant and the benefactor of St. Alban’s Hall, Oxford. By him she had four daughters: Alice (b. 1588 - d. 29 Jun 1640); Elizabeth (b. 1591 - d.1623); Dorothy (b. 1595) and Bridget (b. 1596); and a son.

The union of Sir John Pakington and Dorothy Smith was not a happy one. Early in 1607 John Chamberlain wrote in a letter that Pakington ‘and his little violent lady … parted upon foul terms’. Shortly thereafter, Dorothy was at odds with her son in law, Francis Bacon (who had married Lady Pakington's daughter, Alice Barnham). She charged that he had forced her twelve-year-old daughter, Dorothy Barnham, into marriage with Sir John Constable. On 21 Jun 1617, the Pakingtons were again mentioned in one of John Chamberlain’s letters, when he wrote of 'great warres between Sir John and his lady'. In 1617 she appealed to the law, and Pakington was forced to appear before the court of high commission, and was committed to gaol. It was the unpleasing duty of Lord-keeper Francis Bacon to give an opinion against his mother-in-law. The decision went against her.

Pakington died in Jan 1624–5, and was buried at Aylesbury. Of his three children, Anne, his elder daughter, married at Kensington, on 9 Feb 1618/9, Sir Humphrey Ferrers, son of Sir John Ferrers of Tamworth Castle, Warwickshire; and, after his decease, Phillip Stanhope, first earl of Chesterfield. His second daughter, Mary, married Sir Richard Brooke of Nacton in Suffolk.

After Pakington’s death, Dorothy quarreled with her daughter Anne’s first husband, Sir Humphrey Ferrers, and with her daughter Mary’s husband, Sir Richard Brooke, over the administration of Pakington’s estate. It was transferred to the two men by Feb 1629 (Lords' Journals, iii. pp. 827, 862, 872, iv. pp. 23–4)

In or about 1629 Lady Pakington took a third husband, Robert Needham, first Viscount Kilmorey, who had already been thrice married, and died in Nov 1631. Subsequently she became the third wife of Thomas Erskine, first Earl of Kellie. He died on 12 Jun 1639, and she probably died about the same date.

The only son, John Pakington, born in 1600, was created a baronet in Jun 1620, and sat in parliament for Aylesbury in 1623–4. He married Frances, daughter of Sir John Ferrers of Tamworth, by whom he had one son, John (b. 1620 – d. 1680), who succeeded to the title; and one daughter, Elizabeth.


Burke's Peerage, art. ‘Hampton;’ Stow's Survey, vol. i. bk. iii. p. 29; Wotton's Baronetage, ed. Kimber and Johnson, i. 180–6; Bacon's Works, ed. Spedding, Ellis, Heath, vii. 569–85, xi. 13–14; Lipscomb's Buckinghamshire, iii. 375; Nash's Worcestershire, vol. i. p. xviii; Metcalfe's Knights, pp. 113, 221; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Nichols's Progresses of Queen Elizabeth, iv. 76 et seq.; Strype's Ecclesiastical Memorials, vol. iii. pt. ii. p. 181; Cal. of State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1603–10 p. 398, 1611–18 p. 475; Official List of M.P.'s, vol. i. pp. xxix, 456; Orridge's Citizens of London, pp. 168–70; Hepworth Dixon's Personal Hist. of Lord Bacon, pp. 139, 145, 146, 154, 243–4; Lloyd's State Worthies, pp. 616–17 (a glowing character of Pakington); Gent. Mag. 1828, pt. ii. p. 197; Bishop of London's Marriage Licences (Harl. Soc. Publ. xxv.), p. 256; Registers of Kensington (Harl. Soc. Publ. xvi.), p. 67.

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