The 1630s became a decade of
transition for the Lord Family; leaving England
after generations if not centuries to begin again in the New World.
lthough we know almost nothing
of the ocean passage of the Lord family from Towcester to New England
1630s, we know when they departed, on what ship they sailed, and when
they arrived at Newtowne (now Cambridge), near Boston. And this is
known from the 19th century compilation titled THE ORIGINAL LISTS OF PERSONS
OF QUALITY; EMIGRANTS;
RELIGIOUS EXILES; POLITICAL REBELS; SERVING MEN SOLD FOR A TERM OF YEARS;
STOLEN; MAIDENS PRESSED; AND OTHERS WHO WENT FROM GREAT BRITAIN TO THE AMERICAN
PLANTATIONS - 1600-1700. WITH THEIR
AGES, THE LOCALITIES
WHERE THEY FORMERLY LIVED IN THE MOTHER COUNTRY, THE NAMES OF THE SHIPS IN WHICH THEY
OTHER INTERESTING PARTICULARS. From the record shown
below, we know the family, all nine of them, left London near
the end of April, 1635 aboard the ship Elizabeth & Ann,
although it is not found in the colonial records of
Massachusetts, they are assumed to have reached Boston Harbor around
mid-July of that year.
Register of the names of all ye Passinger which Passed from ye Port of London for one yeare
Endinge at Xpmas 1635.
THEIS underwritten names are to
be transported to New England,
imbarqued in the ELIZABETH and
ANN, ROGER COOPR. Mr., the pties brought
certificates from the Minister of the parish and Justices of the Peace,
of their conformation to the orders and discipline of the Church of
England, and that they are no subsidy men.
||Tho: Pount *
Missing from this list is the name of the eldest
son, Richard, named for his grandfather whose
1610 Will we have been studying. This junior Richard Lord was born in
Towcester, baptised on January 5th, 1611(12), and would have been 23
years old when the Eizabeth & Ann sailed from London. But he
had already gone ahead to New England, perhaps sent in advance of the
rest of the family to prepare for their emigration. It had previously
been thought that he probably sailed
from London in 1632 or 33, soon after his 21st
birthday, as he is listed as one of the settlers at Newtowne in
1633. The motive of escaping religious conformity in England was
suspected as possibly behind the Lord emmigration, and in 1636 the
family joined with Thomas Hooker's congregation in a further migration
into the Connecticut wilderness and the founding of the town of
Hartford. So it seemed possible that Richard had come to
Newtowne with the "Braintree Company", Thomas Hooker's company, in the
"summer of 1632."
But the records of the settlement on March 29th,
which provided for the repair of the "paling" (stockade fence) around
the town by allocating to each settler a section for which he was
responsible, list "Richard
Lord 3 rods". Accounts for
arrivals in Massachusetts in the 1630s indicate a "Great Migration"
England in 1630, with arrivals beginning in June of that year, and also
suggest very few arrivals until 1633, when a new wave of immigration
occurred. If Richard was already living in Newtowne in late March of
1632, it would seem almost certain that he arrived in 1631, and perhaps
even in the "Great Migration" of 1630. And the records of Newtowne, as
re-evaluated by 19th century historians, suggest that those listed in
any year probably arrived the year prior. If Richard left
England in 1631, at the latest, he would have been just 19
years of age. By
the time the rest of the large Lord family arrived from England, in
mid-summer 1635, Richard was well established in Newtowne, as will be
In 1630, a fleet of 11 ships
carrying 700 passengers, set sail from England,
for the Massachusetts Bay Colony. This dedicated band of Puritans hoped
build their community around a purer, more Biblical church.
The newcomers settled several
villages around Massachusetts Bay,
but could not agree on a capital. Seeking a protected site,
John Winthrop and his assistants chose a small hill on the north bank
Charles River, at the entrance to a small creek, 5 miles upstream from Boston.
The Charles was
deep enough to accommodate the era's large ships, yet the passage was
treacherous for those unfamiliar with the narrow channel. Later, a
"pallysadoe," a series of stockade fences and a trench, was built
around the town.
Newtowne, as Cambridge was known until 1638,
was laid out in an orderly grid of streets, bounded today by Eliot Square
Avenue and the River. Each family owned a house lot in the village,
fields outside, and a share in the common land. Boston
was eight long miles away: a ferry at the foot of JFK Street
carried passengers over the
river to a path -- now North Harvard Street
-- that led through Brookline and
eventually traversing the spit of land that is now Washington
Street. Until the Great Bridge
was built in 1660-62, this was the only way to Boston,
except via the ferry from Charlestown.
Soon, Newtowne had a
meetinghouse, a school, and a marketplace (Winthrop Square).
one of the first colleges in America,
was founded in 1636, to train young men for the ministry and for
leadership within the godly community.
It seems certain that the nine newly arrived Lords
were met at the dock in Boston by their eldest son, and taken westward
miles to the Newtowne settlement. And as they spent the coming winter
there, one would expect that they all lived in Richard's
house. The town lot he owned, in 1635, is described below and indicated
on the map (below, left) which was recreated in the 19th century from
property descriptions recorded in 1635. He also had four other
lots of land, including a quarter acre on "Cowyard Row", perhaps as
pasture; three acres on "Small Lot Hill", which was an area of
46 acres subdividied into 18 lots of about 2 1/2
acres each; a quarter acre on "Ox Marsh" roughly across the street
from his house; and 3 acres on the "Great Marsh" to the east
(off the map shown below, but visible on the map shown above), which
may have been used to harvest salt hay for livestock, an important crop
in that period in Massachusetts coastal areas.
Since Richard Lord of Newtowne has no other
buildings attached to him, and yet has considerable properties in the
town, it may be assumed that his residence was also in his "shopp";
particularly as the description includes "with garden plott...". The
histories indicate that "The
town grid contained sixty-four house lots ranging from 1/8 to 3/4 of an
but even the smallest was large enough for a house and small barn." At
"one roode" or a quarter acre, Richard's lot was of average size. It is
curious his structure is called a "shopp". What
sort of shop remains unknown. A clue may be found in the ship's list
the departure of the Elizabeth
& Ann in 1635 from London, where
Richard's father, Thomas Lord, is listed as a "Smith". And in 1638,
after the family removed to Hartford, Richard was assigned the duty of
seeing that two old sets of armor were "fitted upp" after use in the
Pequot War in Connecticut. Certainly a blacksmith would have been very
much in demand in the first couple years of establishment at Newtowne,
as numerous houses had to be raised and farm impliments made and
repaired. But a more complete picture of his house remains elusive.
The image of the entire ten-member family crowded into that structure
during the fall and winter of 1635-36 makes one suspect it was not a
tiny house, but one of at least modest proportions.
Contrary to the image one often has of early
settlements being rough and rude affairs, with rustic cabins scattered
here and there at the edge of the forest, Newtowne seems to
been a very carefuly designed and well regulated community. As can be
read in this exract from the town records of 1632 (new date 1633), vacant
lots were to be built on before new buildings erected outside the pales
(palisade); that they must have fire-proof (not thatch) roofs, and that
their position relative to each other and the street was to be uniform
and precise. Richard had already been in the settlement for at
least a year, and one might think his house was not designed to meet
these later standards. But the concern that thatch roofs be discouraged
is noted as early as 1631, after news of a devastating house fire in
the Massachusetts Bay Colony reached Newtowne. And no better source for
confirming this orderly and controlled establishment here can be found
than William Woods "New England's Prospect", published in London in
1634. For in this book he describes the Newtown settlement as it
appeared in 1633, the very year these regulations were written (see
this artist's recreation of what Newtowne looked like c. 1660, we can
see the regular streets and occupied house lots, Richard
being indicated in the red box. It will be noted he selected property
near the boat landing and ferry, perhaps a good commercial location for
whatever his shop was selling. Later, in Hartford, Richard engages in
substantial and extensive ship-borne commerce and trade, suggesting his
for riverside properties. A major difference from 1635 in
scene is the existence of Harvard College, in the foreground.
While it is assumed that the
9 members of the Lord family lived in this house with Richard during
that winter, there is evidence in the Cambridge land records that "some
of the new-comers did not erect upon their lots houses worthy of being
so named. Thus they passed the 'winter of their discontent'."
But given the early date of his arrival, now estimated to have been
within the first year of settlement here, and the substantial holdings
he had by the time the family arrived in 1635, it is safe to assume
that Richard had a comfortable house large enough for everyone to
at least squeeze in for the winter. However, the "culture
shock" this large family endured that winter, with children of every
age from 16 down to just 4 and very far from their comfortable home in
Towcester, England, is something most of us cannot even imagne. Add to
this the unkown element of the future, for it was clear as 1635 came to
a close that the bulk of this settlement was decided to remove from
Newtowne to the wilderness of the Connecticut River valley to the west.
Some exploratory expeditions had already gone out the year before, with
Richard possibly being among them, and some records suggest some
Newtowne settlers had already departed late in 1635 for the new
settlement location.( see below) This question will be looked at
further on the Hartford page.
October 5, we came (being sent for by friends at Newtown)
to them, to my brother
Mr. Stones house. And the congregation being upon their removal to
myself and those that came with me, found many houses empty, and many
willing to sell, and hence our company bought off their houses to dwell
Whatever details of the migration remain unresolved, it is
clear that on May 31st, 1636, Rev.Thomas Hooker and one hundred of his
congregation, including the ten members of the Thomas Lord family, left
Newtowne, never to return. They trekked overland to the banks of the
Little River, near where it empties into the great
Connecticut River in the western wilderness, leaving behind memories...
for Richard of several years of hopeful economic development, and for
the others, perhaps of a winter ordeal that may have tested
their resolve to remain in the New World.
From the best sources available, we may assume the street they walked
away from appeared much as that seen on the left. And as much
as this settlement may have struck the recently arrived Lords as
primitive, by Towcester standards, it would probably appear civilized
in comparison to the undeveloped lands that awaited them at what was to
be named "Hartford".
is pure speculation what Richard Lord's house in Newtowne
looked like, it is a reasonable guess that it probably resembled this
17th century New England house not far from there. And it is
also a reasonable assumption that the ten members of the Thomas Lord
family spent the winter of 1635-36 in rooms much like those shown
below, although perhaps more cluttered with the beds and belongings
that came with them from England.
Because the street plan first established here in 1631 has remained
essentially unchanged through time, we can easily locate the lot on
which Richard's house stood in the modern city of Cambridge. That
property, now within the Harvard Square National Historic Register
is part of Harvard University and occupied by an
building that was
built in 1929-1930 for the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity in
Georgian Revival style and later became the Harvard Department
building before its present use as Harvard offices today..
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