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 in the 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; APPRENTICES; CHILDREN 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 EMBARKED  AND 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, and 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.

29 April, 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.

Ricr: Goard 17 Tho: Pount * 21
A Smith Tho: Lord 50 Robert Lord 9
vxor Dorothy 46 Aymie Lord 6
Thomas Lord 16 Dorothy Lord 4
Ann. Lord 14
Wm Lord 12 Josias Cobbet 21
John Lord 10 Jo: Holloway 21
James Cobbett 23 Jane Bennet 16
Joseph Faberr 26 Wm Reeves 22

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, 1632, 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" from 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 shown below.


In 1630, a fleet of 11 ships carrying 700 passengers, set sail from England, bound for the Massachusetts Bay Colony. This dedicated band of Puritans hoped to 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 of the 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 and Linden Street, Massachusetts Avenue and the River. Each family owned a house lot in the village, planting 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 Roxbury, 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). Harvard College, one of the first colleges in America, was founded in 1636, to train young men for the ministry and for positions of 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 the few 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 the detailed 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.

newtowne1635maplg.jpg newtownetext1635.jpg

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 acre, 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 for 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 colonial settlements being rough and rude affairs, with rustic cabins scattered here and there at the edge of the forest, Newtowne seems to have 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), newtownehouseroofquote.jpgvacant 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 extract below).


In this artist's recreation of what Newtowne looked like c. 1660, we can see the regular streets and  occupied house lots, Richard Lord's "shopp"
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 affinity
 for riverside properties. A major difference from 1635 in this1660 scene is the existence of Harvard College, in the foreground.

newtownekitchen.jpgWhile it is assumed that the other 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.



 Monday 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 Hartford, Connecticut, myself and those that came with me, found many houses empty, and many persons willing to sell, and hence our company bought off their houses to dwell in.”          


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".

While it 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 District, is part of Harvard University and occupied by an administration building that was built in 1929-1930 for the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity in the Georgian Revival style and later became the Harvard Department of Athletics building before its present use as Harvard offices today..

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