Coningsby, Harry (DNB00)

CONINGSBY, Sir HARRY (fl. 1664), translator, was son of Thomas Coningsby of North Mimms, Hertfordshire. The family was descended from John, third son of Sir Humphrey Coningsby, a judge under Henry VIII [see Coningsby, Sir William]. John Coningsby married Elizabeth, daughter and coheiress Henry Frowick of North Mimms. Sir Harry's grandfather was Sir Ralph, who was sheriff of Hertfordshire in 1591. His father, Thomas, born in 1591, was high sheriff of Hertfordshire in 1638 and in 1642; avowed himself a supporter of Charles I; was arrested by the parliamentarians at St. Albans early in while endeavouring to execute a commission of array; was imprisoned first in London House, and afterwards in the Tower; was deprived of most of his property; was released from the Tower after seven years suffering in 1650; translated into English Justus Lipsius's 'Discourse on Constancy,' of which nothing has survived; and died on 1 Oct. 1654. Harry, Thomas's only son, sold the North Mimms estate to Sir Nicholas Hide in 1658, retired with his mother to Weild or Wold Hall, Shenley, Hertfordshire, married Hester Cambell, and was knighted at the Restoration. He devoted his leisure to the compilation of an essay on his father's sad career, and to a free verse translation of Boethius's 'Consolation of Philosophy,' These works were printed together, apparently for private distribution, in 1664. The British Museum copy, which formerly belonged to the Rev. Thomas Gorser, contains a manuscript letter addressed by Coningsby (30 March 1665) to Sir Thomas Hide, the son of the purchaser of North Mimms, requesting Sir Thomas to 'allow this little booke a little roome' in the house which was so nearly associated with the 'glorious and honest deportment of my most dear father.'

[Corser's Collectanea, iv. 427–31; Chauncy's Hertfordshire, 462–3; Clutterbuck's Hertfordshire, i. 444 ; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Preface to Coningsby's Consolation.]

S. L. L.