George Fenwick (Parliamentarian)

George Fenwick (1603?–1657), was an English Parliamentarian, and a leading colonist in the short-lived Saybrook Colony.

George Fenwick
2ºcolonial governors of Saybrook Colony
In office
Preceded byJohn Winthrop the Younger
Succeeded byTheophilus Eaton (New Haven Colony)
Personal details
ProfessionParliamentarian and governor

Early lifeEdit

Fenwick was the son of George Fenwick of Brinkburn, Northumberland, and Dorothy, daughter of John Forster of Newham, was born about 1603.[1] Fenwick was called to the bar at Gray's Inn on 21 November 1631, and admitted ancient on 24 May 1650.

Settlement in AmericaEdit

He took an active part in the scheme for colonising Connecticut, signed the agreement of the patentees with John Winthrop the Younger in 1635, and visited Boston in 1636.[2] In 1639 he settled with his wife and family in the Saybrook Colony at the mouth of the Connecticut River, as agent for the patentees and governor of the fort of Saybrook.[3] In 1642 upon the death of Native American leader, Wequash Cook, Fenwick took in Cook's son, Wenamoag, to raise, but it is unknown what happened to Wenamoag after Fenwick's wife died and Fenwick returned to England in 1645.[4]

Letters written by him during his residence in America are printed in the Massachusetts Historical Collections, iv. 6, 365, v. 1, 223, and in the publications of the Prince Society, Hutchinson Papers, i. 120. At the meeting of the commissioners of the united colonies in 1643, Fenwick, as agent of the patentees, was one of the two representatives of Connecticut.[5] On 5 December 1644 he sold the fort at Saybrook and its appurtenances to the Colony of Connecticut, pledging himself at the same time that all the lands mentioned in the patent should fall under the jurisdiction of Connecticut if it came into his power. The non-fulfilment of this promise led to numerous disputes, and in 1657 the colony refused to give his heirs possession of his estate until they paid 500£ for non-fulfilment of the agreement and gave an acquittance of all claims.[6] Fenwick returned to England in 1645. While living at Saybrook he lost his first wife; her monument is said to be still extant there.[7]

Parliamentary careerEdit

On 20 Oct 1645 Fenwick was elected to the Long Parliament as member for Morpeth. During the Second English Civil War he commanded a regiment of northern militia, took part in the defeat of Sir Richard Tempest by Lambert, relieved Holy Island, and recaptured Fenham Castle.[8] On the surrender of Berwick he became governor of that place, apparently at first as deputy for Sir Arthur Haslerig.[9] Fenwick was appointed one of the commissioners for the trial of the king, but did not act.[10] In 1650 he took part in Cromwell's invasion of Scotland, was made Governor of Leith and Edinburgh Castle in December 1650, and took Hume Castle in February 1651.[11] He was also one of the eight commissioners appointed for the government of Scotland in December 1651, after the Tender of Union.[12]

In the two Protectorate parliaments of 1654 and 1656 he represented Berwick, and was one of the members excluded from the second of those parliaments.[13]

Private lifeEdit

According to his monument in the parish church of Berwick, Fenwick died on 15 March 1657, and this is confirmed by the fact that a new writ for Berwick was moved on 26 March 1657.[14] His will, signed 8 March 1657.[15] In some accounts Fenwick is confused with Lieutenant-colonel Roger Fenwick, who was killed in the Battle of Dunkirk, 4 June 1658.[16]

Fenwick was twice married: first, to Alice, daughter of Sir Edward Apsley of Thakenham, Sussex, and widow of Sir John Boteler of Teston, Kent (he died 2 August 1634).[17] Secondly, to Catherine, eldest daughter of Sir Arthur Haslerig, born in 1635, who married, after the death of Fenwick, Colonel Philip Babington, and died in 1670.[18]


  1. ^ Firth 1889, p. 328 cites: Hodgson, Northumberland, ii. ii. 115
  2. ^ Firth 1889, p. 328 cites: Massachusetts Historical Collections, 5th ser. i. 223, 482
  3. ^ Firth 1889, p. 328 cites: Winthrop, History of New England, i. 306
  4. ^ Katherine Dimancescu, Denizens: A Narrative of Captain George Denison and His New England ... (2018), p. 124
  5. ^ Firth 1889, p. 328 cites: Trumbull, Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, i. 90
  6. ^ Firth 1889, p. 328 cites: Connecticut Records, i. 119, 266, 569, 584
  7. ^ Firth 1889, p. 328 cites: Winthrop, i. § 306
  8. ^ Firth 1889, p. 328 cites: Rushworth, vii. 1177, 1253
  9. ^ Firth 1889, p. 328 cites: Moderate Intelligencer, 5–12 October 1648
  10. ^ Firth 1889, p. 328 cites: Nalson, Trial of Charles I, p. 3
  11. ^ Firth 1889, p. 328 cites: Mercurius Politicus, Nos. 31, 37
  12. ^ Firth 1889, p. 328 cites: Old Parliamentary History, xx. 82
  13. ^ Firth 1889, p. 328 cites: Whitelocke, iv. 280, ed. 1853; Thurloe, v. 453
  14. ^ Firth 1889, p. 328 cites: Scott, Hist. of Berwick, 1888, p. 215; Return of members of parliament, pt. i. p. 505
  15. ^ Firth 1889, p. 328 cites: Public Records of Connecticut i. 341, 574
  16. ^ Firth 1889, p. 328 cites: Mercurius Politicus, 3–10 June 1658
  17. ^ Firth 1889, p. 328 cites: Hasted, Kent, ii. 291; Berry, Sussex Genealogies, p. 150)
  18. ^ Firth 1889, p. 328 cites: Hodgson, Northumberland, ii. i. 346.



  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainFirth, Charles Harding (1889). "Fenwick, George". In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 18. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 328.

Political offices
Preceded by
John Winthrop the Younger
Governor of the Saybrook Colony
Colony merged with the Connecticut Colony
Parliament of England
Title last held by
John Fenwick
Member of Parliament for Morpeth
With: John Fiennes
Morpeth not represented in Barebones Parliament
Berwick-upon-Tweed not represented in Barebones Parliament
Member of Parliament for Berwick-upon-Tweed
Succeeded by
John Rushworth