Council for New England

  (Redirected from Plymouth Council for New England)

The Council for New England was a 17th-century English joint stock company that was granted a royal charter to found colonial settlements along the coast of North America. The Council was established in November of 1620, and was disbanded (although with no apparent changes in land titles) in 1635. It provided for the establishment of the Plymouth Colony, the State of New Hampshire, the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the New Haven Colony, and the eventual State of Maine. It was largely the creation of Sir Ferdinand Gorges.

Council for New England
TypeJoint-stock company, Land grant, Colonial Company, Proprietary colony
FateCharter revoked in 1635
Area served
New England
Key people
Ferdinand Gorges
The "sea to sea" grant of Plymouth Council for New England is shown in green. The location of the Plymouth Colony settlement is demarcated as "Pl" "Q" and "R" refers to Quebec and Port Royal, contemporaneous French settlements

Some of the persons involved had previously received a charter in 1606 as the Plymouth Company and had founded the short-lived Popham Colony within the territory of northern Virginia (actually in present-day Maine in the United States). The company had fallen into disuse following the abandonment of the 1607 colony.[1] The Council was re-established after, with support from Gorges, (1) Captain John Smith had completed a thorough survey of the Atlantic side of New England (and named it such), (2) Richard Vines over-wintered in 1616, off the Maine coast and discovered that a plague was decimating Native Americans and (3) a friendly English speaking local Native American had been placed in the most likely colonization spot.

In the new 1620 charter granted by James I, the company was given rights of settlement in the area now designated as New England, which was the land previously part of the Virginia Colony north of the 40th parallel, and extending to the 48th parallel.[2] In 1622 the Plymouth Council issued a land grant to John Mason which ultimately evolved into the Province of New Hampshire.[3]

1620 CharterEdit

The Charter of 1620 establishes the wish for English colonization of all land between degrees "34 and 44". The colonial plantation was to found settlements and commerce for Christian peoples and establish trade and commerce between these new colonies and the colonies of George Somers and Thomas Gates (Virginia Colony). These new colonies were to be managed by Gentry from Plymouth, Exeter, and Bristol. These members of the Council were to have, in perpetuity for them and their descendants, rights and privileges extended for the governance and management of trade of the colony.[4]

Individuals listed as beneficiaries of the charter include:[5]

The Council would have full legal rights of governance and administration over the colonial plantation. The members of the Council would elect a President to oversee administrative affairs.

1635 revocationEdit

With the establishment of the Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts Bay Colony, Province of New Hampshire, Saybrook Colony, and New Haven Colony, the council was disbanded by Royal Charter.[6]


  1. ^ "Lost Popham Colony".
  2. ^ "The New England Charter of 1620, by King James I". 18 December 1998.
  3. ^ Burrage, Henry S. The Beginnings of Colonial Maine, 1602-1658. Marks Printing House (1914), p. 166-67.
  4. ^ "The Charter of New England : 1620". 18 December 1998.
  5. ^ "The Charter of New England : 1620". 18 December 1998.
  6. ^ "The Act of Surrender of the Great Charter of New England to His Majesty : 1635". 18 December 1998.

External linksEdit