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Edward Bennett (bef. 1577 - bef. 1651)

Edward Bennett
Born before in Wiveliscombe, Somerset, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died before at about age 74 in St. Olave's Parish, London, Englandmap
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Profile last modified | Created 22 Dec 2009
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Notables Project
Edward Bennett is Notable.
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Edward Bennett was born in Somerset, England.
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Edward Bennett was a Virginia colonist.


Two Edward Bennetts appear easily confused:

  • Edward Bennett (1578–bef. 1651),[1] the subject of this profile, was a London merchant who established the first Virginia Company large plantation in Virginia luring more than 800 immigrants to the new world, before returning to England at the end of his life. His father was Robert Bennett and Edward was baptised in Wiveliscombe, Somerset parish 2 Feb 1577.[2][3] This Edward Bennett of St Marie Woolchurch married Mary Bourne. 1 Apr 1619 at All Hallows, Barking by the Tower, London, Mary Bourne, daughter of Jasper Bourne.[4]
  • Edward Bennett, born, say, 1600 in Weymouth, Dorset, England, married Elizabeth Egington and settled in Massachusetts.

1577 Birth and Parents: Early years in Wiveliscombe

Edward Bennett was christened 2 Feb 1577, the 15th child of Robert Bennett, a tanner and Elizabeth (Adney) Bennett of Wiveliscombe, Somerset.[2]

He became Chief among the Puritans who were among the first to settle in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, and was elder of the Ancient Church at Amsterdam. [5]

Edward Bennett was known as "of London" and resided there when not on a trip to oversea his Virginia interests.

1618 Plantations in Isle of Wight County, Virginia

The first English plantation in the region, dating to 1618, was that of Puritan merchant Christopher Lawne. Several other Puritans also settled nearby, including Edward Bennett in 1621. Edward named his plantation Warrosquoake, after the river that also went by the same name. [5]

Edward Bennett was interested in the East India company and later the Virginia Company. He was the owner of several vessels. It is probable that the "Gift of God" which arrived in Virginia in 1618, about the same time as elder Blackwell's ship, was owned by Edward Bennett.[6]

Flight to Holland

At one point Edward Bennett fled to Holland because of his Puritan beliefs. When, is not known.[3]

1621 Edward Bennett's Virginia Company Patent

On 21 Nov 1621, Edward Bennett, received a patent on condition that he settle 200 persons. His associates were his brother, Robert Bennett, his nephew, Richard Bennett, Thomas Ayres, Thomas Wiseman and Richard Wiseman.[5]

The first settlers dispatched by Bennett arrived on the Sea Flower in February 1622. There were 120 settlers, led by Captain Ralph Hamor, a member of the Virginia Council who had previously come to Virginia in 1609. [5]

Also in the group were George Harrison and Rev. William Bennett, kinsman of Edward Bennett.[7]

The location of Bennett's Hill in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, appears on a map published by the William and Mary Quarterly [8]

1619 Marriage in England

Edward Bennett married Mary Bourne, daughter of Jasper Bourne of Stanmore Magna, 1 Apr 1619.[4] In 1622, Edward would have been aged 43 and his bride, 28 years younger, 15. Bennett was a merchant from a prominent Somerset family. Mary was about 28 years younger than Edward.[9]

At least one source describes the Edward Bennett and Mary Bourne marriage as having occurred in London, 3 Feb 1628/9.[10] Please see the Research Notes for further discussion.

1621 - 1634 Children Christened in England

Bennett married Mary Bourne, daughter of Jasper Bourne of Stanmore Magna,[11] a merchant from a prominent Somerset family, in whose 1 Feb 1635 (proved 4 May 1636) Stanmore Magna, Middlesex will generically refers to Jasper Bourne's grandchildren by Edward and Mary Marie (Bourne) Bennett.[11] Mary was about 28 years younger than Edward, and they had at least six children together.[9] The first two were born while still living in England.[5] Then Bennett and family fled to Holland during the Puritan migrations and became "by his wealth" a principal pillar of the ancient church. This is when he had a hand in settling over 600 people in Isle of Wight County.

Bennett and his associates, Richard Wiseman, and Thomas Wiseman, were members of the Virginia Company in London and often sided with the faction led by the Earl of Warwick. The Wisemans were from the County of Essex and owned the manor of Rivenhall in Witham Hundred on the Blackwater River. In addition to his position as a wealthy London merchant, Edward was the owner of a large fleet of ships which traded with Virginia. He was also Commissioner of Virginia at the Court of England.

Among their children were:[5]

  1. Joane Bennett, daughter of Edward Bennett, was christened 29 Apr 1621 in Saint Dunstan in the East, London, London, England.[12]
  2. Edward Bennett (1620-27 Oct 1640), son of Edward and Mary Bennett, christened 6 Mar 1622, St Bartholomew Exchange, London, London, England[13][14]
  3. Mary Bennett born in Wiveliscombe, England christened 3 Apr 1624 St Bartholomew Exchange, London, London.[15][16]
  4. Alice Bennett circa 1626[5]
  5. Elizabeth Bennett christened May 1629 St Olave Hart Street, London, England[17]
  6. Sylvestra Silvester Bennett born in Isle of Wright, Virginia[citation needed] 1630, but christened 25 Oct 1630 St Olave Hart Street, London[18]
  7. John Bennett born in Hogg Island, Virginia[citation needed] 1632, however his christening record of 17 Feb 1632 was at St Olave Hart Street, London[19]
  8. Ann Bennett born in Hogg Island, Virginia[citation needed] 1633, but died a few months later. However, her christening was 13 Mar 1634 at St Olave Hart Street, London[20]
  9. Jasper Bennett (named after Mary's father) in Hogg Island, Virginia 1635. However, his christening of Jul 1635 was at St Olave Hart Street, London[21]

Most, if not all of the above were St Olave baptisms or named both parents. Other than that, legitimate children cannot be verified as grandchildren of Jasper Bourne, as he only acknowledged that he had grandchildren by Mary/Marie's and Edward Bennett: he did not individually name them.[11]

This additional child is unconfirmed; the father is the only specified parent; also, the christening location differs from all of the other children:

  1. Robert Bennet, christened 29 Jan 1631 St Giles Cripplegate, London, England[22]

1622 "Sea Flower" Arrival in Virginia

In Feb 1622 the "Sea Flower" arrived in Virginia with 120 settlers led by Captain Ralph Hamor, a member of the Virginia council who had previously come over to Virginia in 1609 and was a settler of great experience. Others among the settlers were George Harrison and Rev. William Bennett, kinsmen of Edward Bennett[6]

1622 Bennett's Welcome

In 1622 Edward Bennett established the first permanent plantation in the new colony, called 'Bennett’s Welcome', of 1,500 acres that was granted to him in 1621.[5]

The following narrative appears to apply to this Edward Bennett, London merchant and owner of a fleet of vessels trading with Virginia, who had established one of the early large plantations in the Virginia colonies. Virginia Court on 9 Jun 1623 received a letter from Robert Bennett, Edward's brother, in which he reported of Bennett's Welcome conditions and the Indian massacres. The letter also mentions his desire to see his children in England; however, Robert had died in Virginia before 20 Nov 1623 when provisions were made for settling his estate. Robert had come to Virginia as a manager of his brother Edward's affairs: once he died, John Chew was placed in charge. [6]

Richard Bennett, also a brother of Edward and at the latter's Virginia plantation died about 23 Aug 1626. Later, two nephews of Edward Bennett, of same name as his two deceased brothers, came to Virginia and appeared in court at James City in 1628 regarding interests. At that time, Robert was 18 years old, and Richard 20.[6]

Edward came to Virginia at times but apparently did not become a resident. He did, however, represent his plantation before the 1628 House of Burgesses.[3]

1622 The Great Indian Massacre

The Great Massacre of 1622 occurred barely a month after their arrival. The plantation suffered many casualties, losing 53 settlers, a large percentage of the 347 persons killed that day across the various plantations. The settlement was briefly abandoned until a fort could be built nearby; the Warrosquoake Indians were driven off from their villages in the reprisals of the following years. A census of settlers of 16 Feb 1623 showed a total of "33, including 4 negroes". Another census a year later showed a total population of 31 settlers for the region.[3]

Of the eighty plantations in Virginia before the massacre, the surviving inhabitants gathered together in eight plantations near Jamestown. The south side of the James River for fourteen miles (21 km) down river from Hog Island was deserted. In the Fall of 1622, Governor George Yeardley commanded an expedition which drove out the Warrosquoyacke and the Nansemond Indians which allowed some of the settlers to return. A fort was built on Bennett's plantation. The census of 1623 lists thirty-three living at Warrosquoyacke and twenty at Basse's Choice. In 1625, there were only thirty-one persons living on the two plantations.

Although settlements occurred in the present day Isle of Wight County prior to the Indian Massacre, they were destroyed on 22 Mar 1622: Warrosquyoake was resettled later. The census of 1623 and a similar count in 1625 show the presence of settlers at both Basse's Choice and Edward Bennett's plantation which came to be known as Bennett's Welcome.

The great Indian Massacre by the Indians under Opecanaugh killed 347 people out of 1240 in Virginia. This massacre was on Good Friday, March 22, 1622. There were 53 persons killed at Edward Bennett's plantation, and at the time the census was taken 16 Feb 1623 there were only 33 persons at Warrosquyoake. The result of this massacre was that William Bennett's plantation at Warrosquyoake was abandoned.[6]

Captain Roger Smith in 1622 erected a fort on the shore of the James River near Edward Bennett's plantation, Edward Bennett's settlers did not return to Warrosquyoake until after the fort was built.[6]

Later years

Around 1628 Edward's nephew, Richard Bennett (son of Thomas) travelled to Virginia to take over management of Bennett's Welcome. Over the next ten years Richard patented more than 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) of his own and amassed more than 7,000 acres (28 km2) in Virginia and Maryland.

A Bennett researcher on FamilySearch has shared the following, which narrows down his 1651 death date, citing Dorman (2004, p. 228-9):[9]

On 24 Aug 1635 Edward Bennett, aged 55, of St. Olave's, Hart Street, London, deposed concerning freight details of the ship Ann and Margaret to Virginia in which he was a partner with John Stoner and George Orme. He was still living in 1638 when his son Jasper was buried, but dead before 3 June 1651 when Mary Bennett was granted administration de bonis non administratis for the part of her father's estate still undistributed at the death of the executor, her brother-in-law John Bennett.
Mary died before 26 May 1659 when administration of her estate was granted to Mary Bland alias Bennett "the well and lawful daughter of Mary Bennett later of Stanmore in the County of Middlesex deceased." On 8 April 1663 the Virginia lands of Edward Bennett, 1500 acres in Isle of Wight, were divided between his two daughters and coheiresses, Silvester Hill and Mary Bland.

It was later when his estate was divided, about 3 June 1651;[23] in his home town of Wiveliscombe, Somerset, England. In reality, this date would have been after 8 April 1663, when his Virginia lands were settled. As is discussed elsewhere, the by 3 Jun 1651 date is the accepted death date, not estate settlement date.

Edward Bennett represented his plantation in the 1628 House of Burgesses, then left for England. The following year, the "County of Warascoyack" (also known as Warrosquyoake Shire, and ultimately, Isle of Wight County) was represented by his nephew, Richard Bennett, Captain Nathaniel Basse, and three others, all Puritans. This was the Puritans' strongest representation in the Anglican-dominant colony.[3]

After the return of Edward Bennett to England (abt 1628 or 1629), Richard Bennett, his nephew, probably a son of Thomas Bennett of Wiveliscombe, Somerset, became the leader of the Virginia Puritans. in 1629, Richard Bennett, together with Capt. Nathaniel Basse, represented the County of Warascoyack in the House of Burgesses. Soon afterwards, Richard Bennett and the Puritan colony moved to Nansemond which was becoming largely populated by Puritans.[6]

His nephew Richard Bennett became Commonwealth of England Governor of Virginia from 1652–1655. Richard Bennett remained active in the government of Virginia even after the Restoration and died in Nansemond in 1676. Before Richard's death, he had become a Quaker and provided generously for several prominent Quakers in his will.

1635 Bennett's Creek

On June 26, 1635, Richard Bennett received a grant of 2,000 acres on the east side of the Nansemond River running to a creek later called "Bennett's Creek", which name it bears today. The point of land at the mouth of Bennett's Creak is known as "Bennett's Point"[6]

1638 Residence in London

In 1638 he was living in the parish of St Olave Hart Street, London.


On 30 Sep 1664, his lands in Isle of Wight County were divided between his 2 daughters. Edward's name appears on a list of Burgess for the VA Assembly of 1627-1628. [6]

Research Notes

  • For a good overview of his life, with a few exceptions, the Martha W. McCartney[23] article in Virginia immigrants and Adeventures, 1607-1635: A biographical dictionary, provides highlights. It does appear to confuse his death date with what should be reported out as his final settlement. At present, the London will or probate has not been located.
  • If we go by christening records, all of Edward Bennetts children were born in England. All but the oldest child is in concordance with children listed on his Wikipedia profile. Wikipedia notes that three children died before five years of age. They also note that the final five children were St Olave's christenings.[9]
  • Acknowledging that different sources attribute different children, it should be noted that the Hart (1992) text[10] has not been examined directly, just a truncated view; nevertheless, it places the marriage as 1628/9, which is well after some of the children's births as confirmed by christening records. For what it's worth, Wikipedia places the marriage at All Hallows Church, City of London, 1 Apr 1619.


  1. Jamestowne Society: ​Bennett, Edward - A712; born 1578, died by 1651 London, England (Stockholder, Virginia Company). accessed 5 June 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "England, Somerset, Church Records, 1501-1999", database, FamilySearch ( : 25 February 2022), Edward Bennett, 1577.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Boddie, John Bennett. Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight County, Virginia. See also: Boddie, John Bennett. "Edward Bennett of London and Virginia." The William and Mary Quarterly. 13 (2). 1933, 117–130.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Entry with image from FamilySearch.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Edward Bennett (colonist). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Accessed December 7, 2014.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 Some of the "facts" from this type of documentation should be independently verified and interpreted with caution. This is a tertiary source, at best and unreliable until proven otherwise. Letter by Mrs. Alona G. Lavender, Rt. 3 Box 208 Simsonville SC 29681, July 20, 1966.
  7. "WARROSQUOYAKE IN VIRGINIA, Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 June 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2010. Cited in Wikipedia.
  8. Isle of Wight County Records, The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 7, No. 4 (Apr., 1899), pp. 205-315, Published by: Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture Stable URL:
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 John Frederick Dorman, C.G., F.A.S.G. (2004). Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/25. Vol. 1. 4th ed. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc. pp. 228–229. Cited in Wikipedia.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Hart, Lyndon H. Ridley of Southampton: Being the Descendants of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Day Ridley of Southampton, Then Isle of Wight County, Virginia, Circa 1700-1992. 1992, p. 4. Pensacola, Florida: B.B. Nichol, Jr.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Crisp, Frederick Arthur. Abstracts of Somersetshire Wills, etc., copied from the Manuscript Collections of the Late Rev. Frederick Brown MA FSA. Vol 5, Series 5. 1887, p. 77. London: Private printed for F A Crisp.
  12. "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975", database, FamilySearch ( : 4 February 2023), Edward Bennett in entry for Joane Bennett, 1621.
  13. "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975", database, FamilySearch ( : 10 April 2021), Edward Bennet in entry for Edward Bennet, 1622.
  14. "England, Middlesex Parish Registers, 1539-1988", database, FamilySearch ( : 11 July 2022), Edward Bennett in entry for Edward Bennett, 1640.
  15. Some state that Mary Bennett, wife of John Day, was born about 1622 in Stepney, Middlesex, England & died unknown, but no sources have been supplied.
  16. "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975", database, FamilySearch ( : 10 April 2021), Edward Bennett in entry for Mary Bennett, 1624, daughter of Edward and Mary Bennett.
  17. "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975", database, FamilySearch ( : 4 February 2023), Edward Bennitt in entry for Elizabeth Bennitt, 1629, daughter of Edward and Mary Bennett.
  18. Specifies mother as Marie - middle name, or alternate parent? "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975", database, FamilySearch ( : 4 February 2023), Edward Bennitt in entry for Silvester Bennitt, 1630.
  19. Note as with his next older sibling, the mother is listed as Marie. "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975", database, FamilySearch ( : 4 February 2023), Edward Bennitt in entry for John Bennitt, 1632.
  20. "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975", database, FamilySearch ( : 4 February 2023), Edwarde Bennett in entry for Ann Bennett, 1634.
  21. "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975", database, FamilySearch ( : 4 February 2023), Edward Bennett in entry for Jasper Bennett, 1635.
  22. "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975", database, FamilySearch ( : 4 February 2023), Edward Bennet in entry for Robert Bennet, 1631.
  23. 23.0 23.1 McCartney, Martha W. Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers 1607–1635: A Biographical Dictionary. 2007, p. 125-6. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Pub. Co. Cited in Wikipedia.


  • This person was created through the import of Bishop Family Tree.ged on 18 Feb 2011.
  • This person was created through the import of knox17032011.ged on 18 Mar 2011.
  • This person was created through the import of Dickinson Family Tree.ged on 31 Mar 2011.

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This Edward Bennett was associated with Virginia and married Mary Bourne. Do not confuse with another Edward Bennett associated with New England. See Disambiguation.
posted by Jack Day
see also p 206:

Isle of Wight County Records The William and Mary Quarterly Vol. 7, No. 4 (Apr., 1899), pp. 205-315 Published by: Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture Stable URL:

posted by Liz (Noland) Shifflett

Rejected matches › Edward Bennett (abt.1830-)

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