Name: Richard Bennett
Chris'd: 6 Aug 1609
Place: Wiveliscombe, Somerset, England
Died: 12 Apr 1675
Place: Nansemond Co, Virginia
Place: Lenham, Kent, England
Born in Wiveliscombe, Somerset,
England in 1608, Richard Bennett was the Governor of Virginia from
1652-1655. The Royal Governor, William Berkeley, surrendered to
representatives of the Commonwealth, led by Oliver Cromwell, as a result of
the English Civil War. Bennett was then elected governor by the Virginia
House of Burgesses.
From Public Record Office, High Court of the Admiralty (HCA):
1656/7. Bennet, Richard, Esq., of Virginia, now in London, aged 49, born at
From Vision of Britain,
In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales
described Wiveliscombe like this:
"WIVELISCOMBE-popularly Wilscombe-a small town, a parish, and a subdistrict,
in Wellington district, Somerset. The town stands on a 1ow hill,51/2 miles
NW of Wellington r. station; is traditionally said to have been built by the
Saxons, when driven by the Danes from Castle hill, which had been occupied
by the Romans; was given by Edward the Confessor to the cathedral of Wells,
and had a palace of the Bishops; is now a seat of petty sessions and a
polling place; consists of several streets, with some good modern houses and
a number of old ones; and has a post-office++ under Wellington, Somerset, a
banking office two chief inns, a police station, a town hall, a church
rebuilt in 1829, Independent and Wesleyan chapels, a national school, a
dispensary, charities ?100, a very large brewery, a weekly market on
Tuesday, great markets on the last Tuesday of Feb. and July, and fairs on 12
May and 25 Sept. The parish includes four hamlets, and comprises 5,984
acres. Real property, ?13,958; of which ?120 are in gasworks. Pop., 2,735.
Houses, 607. The manor belongs to Lord Ashburton. There are slate quarries,
and remains of Roman and Danish camps. The living is a vicarage in the
diocese of Bath and Wells. Value, ?300. Patron, the Prebendary of
Wiveliscombe.-The sub-district contains 4 parishes. Acres, 10,949. Pop.,
3,526. Houses, 764."
I defer to Alice Gedge's well-cited information at
Richard Bennett's Family
Some researchers say Richard married twice and assign several children to
the first marriage. I don't know how good that research is. But if Anne
was born in 1632, as traditionally stated, she would not have been a
daughter of Mary Ann (Longworth) Utie Bennett. If Richard did have
additional children, they were not named in his will (below).
||She m1 Theodorick Bland of Westover, m2 Col St Leger Codd.
|Richard Bennett Jr
||Married Henrietta Maria Neale, daughter of James Neale of Maryland.
||Married Col Charles Scarborough of Accomac County,
the son of Edmund Scarborough. She died 4 Aug 1719 in Accomac County,
Will of Governor Richard Bennett
It's noteworthy that Bennett mentions two cousins, "Silvester, the wife
of Major Nicholas Hill," and "Mary, the wife of Mr Luke Cropley," said to
have been daughters of Richard's uncle Edward Bennett. Ann is the only
child he named. Son, Richard Bennett had drowned in 1676.
As posted on the BENNETT-L Archives at Rootweb:
Extracted from the Principal Registry of the Probate Divorce and Admiralty
Division of the High Court of Justice
In the Prerogative Court of Canterbury
I, Richard Bennett, of Nansemond River in Virginia being sick in body but in
perfect memory doe make and ordain this my last will testament as followith
vizt - Imprs I give my body to the earth and my Spirit to God that gave it.
Item. I give and bequeath unto the Parish where I now live and have so long
lived all that parcel of land being three hundred acres more or less which
Thomas Bolton holdeth by lease and which he now lives. The rents & profits
thereof to be received yearly by the Church-wardens of this parish and by
them disposed of towards the relief of four poor aged or impotent persons
whom they judge to stand in most need of help and this to continue and be
done for as ever long as ye land continues.
Item. I give and bequeath unto Richard Buxton, the son of Thomas Buxton, the
rents & profits of that parcel of land on which Edmond Belson now liveth to
him and his heirs for ever the same to be paid unto him when he shall come
to be twenty years of age, but if he lives not to that time or afterward die
without issue, then the said land & ye rents thereof to be and continue to
be paid as now it is.
Item. I give unto my daughter Ann fifty pounds
sterling beside her debts which she now oweth me.
Item. I give an bequeath unto my grandchildren Elizabeth Ann and Bennett
Scarburgh or any other of my daughter Scarburgh children which shall be born
hereafter all that parcel of land lying in Pocomoke River on the eastern
shore in Maryland being two thousand eight hundred acres by patent to them
or either of them or either of their heirs for ever and also two thousand
five hundred acres by patent lying in Niccocomoco River on the eastern shore
Item. I give unto my cousin Silvester, the wife of Major Nicholas Hill,
twelve thousand pounds of tobacco.
Item. I give to my cousin Mary, the wife of Mr. Luke Cropley, twenty pounds
Item. I give unto Richard Hubard of Pigg Point one thousand pounds of
Item. I give unto Michael Ward and the widow of John Lewis, to each of them
one thousand pounds of tobacco.
Item. I give unto the widow Prince one thousand pounds of tobacco.
Item. I give unto Charles Howard & Richard Higgens to each of them one
thousand pounds of tobacco & more to Charles Howard the land which he
lives on for eleven years.
Item. I give to Thomas Chilcote & Thomas Garrat to each of them two
thousand pounds of tobacco.
Item. I give unto William Kitchen and John Blye to each of them one thousand
pounds of tobacco.
Item. I give unto Patrick Edmondston and the widow Riddick to each of them
one thousand pounds of tobacco.
Item. I give unto John Woster who married the relic of John Salsbury one
thousand pounds of tobacco.
Item. I give unto William Yearrat of Pagan Creek and to the wife of Mr.
Thomas Taberer to each of them two thousand pounds of tobacco.
Item. I give unto Elizabeth Outland of Chucatuke Creek and Thomas Jordan of
the same place to each of them two thousand pounds of tobacco.
Item. I give unto James day twelve thousand pounds of tobacco and if Mr.
Taberer see cause, he may add three thousand more to it.
Item. I give to all my servants that now liveth with me both Christians and
Negroes to each of them one thousand pounds of tobacco only the two
hirelings excepted viz - Richard Higgins & John Turner. The rest of my
personal and real estate and all lands and stock of what nature or kind so
ever it be to go to my grandchild Richard Bennett, to him and his heirs
forever, my said grandchild now residing in Bristoll, and in default of such
heirs then to come to the children of Theodorick Bland & Charles Scarburg.
Lastly, I do hereby declare and ordain and appoint James Jofey, Mr. Thomas
Hodges, and Edmond Belson or any two of them also Robert Pealle to be
overseers of this my last will and testament allowing & approving for good
and effectual to all intents and purposes what so ever my said executors or
any two of them shall do or cause to be done concerning the estate from time
to time in relation to the estate.
In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal this 15th day of March
1674 - RI BENNETT (LS) - Signed, sealed, and delivered in the presence of us
- JOHN SPEIRS, ENO EARLE, CHARLES HOWARD, GEORGE DAVIS.
Proved in Nansemond Court the 12th of April 1675 by the oaths of Mr. Eno
Earle, Charles Howard, & George Davis to be the last will & testament of
Major General R. Bennett.
Teste: JNO LEAR CHR Cur.
Proved 3rd August 1676.
Published Biographies of Richard Bennett
Side-Lights on Maryland History, Vol.2
Richard Bennett was sent to America as his father's¹ representative
in the Virginia Company and appeared as a member of the House of Burgesses
there in the year 1629. In 1642 we find him a member of the Council of
Virginia and Governor under Parliament from 1652 to 1655. Prior to this
(1649-50) he had left Virginia with the Puritans and settled at Greenberry
Point. He was not long, however, in taking ship for England and proved
himself a diplomat by keeping on good terms with the powers that be.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 7
Recognizing his need for men of ability and the governing class,
Cromwell saw to it that two of the cleverest of old England's sons should be
his allies in his attempt to subdue the colonies. Therefore, in 1651,
Parliament appointed Richard Bennett and William Claiborne "Commissioners for
the reducing of Virginia and Maryland to their due obedience to the
Commonwealth of England." This was finally accomplished on March 29, 1652,
when Governor Stone was deposed and six commissioners were appointed by
Bennett and Claiborne to govern Maryland in the name of Parliament. Later in
the same year Richard Bennett and Edward Lloyd concluded a treaty of peace
with the fierce Susquehanna Indians, by which they relinquished their lands
of large area in Maryland.
Affairs in Virgina being now ready for adjustment, Richard Bennett
returned to the first home of his adoption and was made Governor at once,
which office he filled for several years. In 1655 he went from Virginia to
England as Colonial agent, and later was made major-general of the Virginia
Governor Bennett, according to the best authorities, married Ann
Utie, daughter of Colonel John Utie, of the Virginia Council, and had three
children -- Richard Bennett, the second, Elizabeth and Ann.
Bennett, Richard, colonial governor of Maryland and Virginia (1652-57),
by appointment of Oliver Cromwell, was born in England, early in the
seventeenth century. Being a prominent Puritan and one of the colony in
Virginia, he was, upon the arrival of the frigate Guinea, and the army which
established Cromwell's power in America, appointed a parliamentary
commissioner. Shortly after he was chosen governor of both colonies by the
Puritan element, with Capt. William Claiborne, "the evil genius of
Maryland," as his secretary of state. In their capacity as commissioners
they arrived at St. Mary's, Md., toward the end of March, 1652, and having
deposed Gov. Stone, on the 29th issued a proclamation divesting him and Lord
Baltimore of all authority and power in the province. They then returned to
Virginia, but in June established their government more firmly in Maryland,
appointing Capt. Stone and a special council to direct the affairs of the
province under their control. By act of parliament practical liberty was
granted to Virginia under the protectorate, and laws were formulated by the
people for the "general good and prosperity" in perfect accord with the new
regime. With Maryland it was different: that colony was reduced to
submission only after a formidable display of military power. The lord
proprietor did not rest quietly under the flagrant wrong and injustice which
had been done him. He directed Gov. Stone, in 1654, to re-establish the
proprietary, and the loyal element was slow to engage in armed resistance to
Gov. Bennett. They were, however, ultimately unsuccessful, and the
parliamentarians continued in power until the close of 1657, when Gov.
Bennett retired into private life. Gov. Bennett was married to Henrietta
Maria², daughter of Capt. James Neal, formerly a merchant in Spain,
where he was in the employ of King Charles and the Duke of York. With his
four daughters, all natives of Spain, he had been naturalized by the
assembly of Maryland. After Bennett's death his widow was married to
Philemon Lloyd, by whom she was the mother of many children. Prominent among
Bennett's descendants was his grandson, Richard Bennett (1667-1749), a
wealthy planter of Queen Ann, Md.
See the Wikipedia article for more information about Richard
All original portions ©
Michael Cooley, OrbitInternet.net -