Sir John Harington: Queen Elizabeth's Godson

D. McDonald reflects on the life of a courtier, author and master of art, popularly known as the inventor of the flush toilet as well as a prominent member of Queen Elizabeth I's court.

Those estates were forfeit to the Tudors and it remained for the grandson, John Harington, senior, to restore the fortunes of his house by gaining, on the strength of his wit and agreeable manners, the favour of Henry VIII.

So successfully did he apply himself to the task that he was appointed Treasurer of the King’s Camps and Buildings and was given in marriage the hand of Ethelreda Dobson, one of the King’s natural daughters, together with the forfeited Church lands of Kelston and Bath Easton in the county of Somerset.

In an old booke of my father’s,” wrote his son, “I read a merrie Verse, The Blacke Sauntus, or Monkes Hymne to Saunte Satane, made when Kynge Henry had spoylede their Synginge. My father was wont to say that Kynge Henry was used, in pleasant mood, to sing this Verse.”

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