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Alexander Shapleigh (1561 - bef. 1650)

Alexander Shapleigh
Born in Totnes, Kingsweare, Devonshire, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Son of [uncertain] and [uncertain]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married 12 Dec 1602 in St. Saviour's, Dartmouth, Devonshire, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died before in Kingswear, Devonshire, Englandmap
Profile last modified | Created 13 Sep 2010 | Last significant change: 8 Nov 2020
01:41: Melissa Ives edited the Biography for Alexander Shapleigh (1561-bef.1650). (BioCheck edit) [Thank Melissa for this]
This page has been accessed 2,554 times.


Disputed origins, vital and relationship data: In 1919, now discredited genealogist, Gustave Anjou, prepared a commissioned genealogy of Shapleigh family. Anjou's manuscript was published in 1987, with a "forward and updated review by Alexander Wessel Sapleigh, Jr."[1]

An array of Anjou's genealogical claims, therein paraphrased, together with critical assessment, was made part of the 1993 work on the family by Brian J. L. Berry, The Shapleigh, Shapley and Shappley Families: A Comprehensive Genealogy, 1635-1993.[2] While Berry leaves the question of Alexander's birth/baptism and parentage open, the 1993 work "effectively "debunks Gustave Anjou's claim ... that Alexander was born in St. Omer France, the son of Robert Shapleigh" ...," according to a review by Lois Ware Thurston.[3]

Separate from Berry's work to discredit the notion that Alexander Shapleigh of Kingsware and Kittery was the son of Robert Shapleigh and Marie Blabon, the work sets aside Anjou's claim that Alexander's first wife was "Marguerite Bloedel." Berry cites Anjou's own work on the Bloedel family in 1900, saying it "contains no reference to any Chappelle/Shapleigh marriage." Berry continues, "Nor does Irving F. Blabon's Blabon Family in America (... 1983)."[4]

See related G2G posting, "Gustave Anjou alert: Alexander Shapleigh of Devonshire and Maine (15th-16th century).

"On Sept. 20, 1610, Alexander Shapley of Kingswear, Master of the "Restitution" of Dartmouth, while returning from a fishing voyage to Newfoundland and enroute to Portugal was seized by Robert Stephens, a pirate."[5]

Alex's largest ship was the "Golden Cat" of 450 tons which was twice as large as most of the ships of the time such at the "Mayflower", and three times as large as Sir Francis Drake's "Golden Hind".[6]

Alex is mentioned in the records of Dartmouth, probably paying port fees/custom duties:

1620. In the ship Blessinge of Kingsweare, from Lisbone, for Alexander Shapley, merchant, £2.2.0
1620. In the Gift of God of Kingsweare, from Lichbone [Lisbon], for Alexander Shapley, merchant £0.1.9.
1621. In the Gift of God of Dartmouth, from Newfoundland, for Alexander Shapley, £0.2.1
1621. In the William & John of Dartmouth, from the Newfoundland, 20th Sept. for the said Mr. Alexander Shapleigh, merchant, £0.1.3. [7]

Alexander was an eminent merchant in Kingsweare, Devon and named the town of Kittery after his manor of Kittery Court in Kingswear which overlooked the River Dart.(11) His interests were in the trading posts of Maine and New Hampshire where he found a market for his goods sent over in his ships and he also acted as an agent for Sir Ferdinando Gorges. His large interests in New England were looked after by the Treworgys and his son Nicholas, whose transactions in his name, with the depositions of servants, would make it appear that he was here at times when actually he was in England. [8]

On 5 May 1636 as Alex's agent, his grandson John Treworgy purchased 500 acres on Kittery Point and on 10 Jan. 1636/7 he bought another 800 acres in Eliot for his grandfather.[9] In 1635 he purchased through his son-in-law, James Teworgye, a large tract of land which extended from the Piscataqua River halfway to the York River.[10] Alex probably lived most of the time at his home on the 800 acre lot in Eliot at Watts Fort or Point Joslyn and was known as Kittery House after his manor in Kingsweare. Here he built a warehouse and ordinary. Capt. William Everett was in charge of the ordinary. From an article in the "Boston Globe" it seems as though the first cup of tea made in this country was made at Kittery House.[11]

The Deposition of Mr Edward Johnson, aged about Eighty-two years… that about forty years agoe Deponent being then Agent for John Treworgy, did in his behalf, purchase a Certain Tract of Land now Called the Point, Lying on the North East Side of Piscatqua River for the Sole Use and behoof of Mr. Alexander Shapleigh under whose Imploy the sd Treworgy was at that time as agent for him, of Sr. Ferdinando Gorges, which Tract or parcel of Land, Containing the full quantity of five hundred acres bounded from the river Side… near unto a house Since built by Robart Mendon… unto a Fresh brook or Creek being between Capt. Champernoon’s old house that was, and that house that was formerly Geo: Palmer’s, where now Digery Jeffry liveth & so runs back into the Countrey until five hundred Acres be accomplished… this Thirteenth of Augt 1678. [12]

Joan Atwell, aged 69 year, or thereabouts, testifyeth… that about 40 years past, She was at Kittery Point, & being in Company with John Treworgy, she did then hear him say, that what dealings he had in New England was all on the account of his grand father Alexander Shapleigh & moreover, ye Deponent saith that some time after Mr. Aleander Shapleigh aforesd came over to New England, & did without disturbance peaceably Enjoy the aforesaid Kittery Point, Except the farthter point of all, where one Billing did formerly live, & this so long as the sd Shapleigh lived, and after his decease was possessed by his son Major Nicholas Shapleigh, who built the Ware house at the Point, and sold several lots of land… 11th May 1688."[13]

On 15 Oct. 1650 in the court records is the following: "Forasmuch as the house at the river's mouth, where Mr. Shapleigh's father first built and Mr. Wm Hilton now dwelleth, in regard it was the first house there built and Mr. Shapleigh intendeth to build and enlarge, it is thought fit it should from time to time be for a house of entertainment or ordinary, with this proviso, that the tenant be such an one as the inhabitants shall approve of".[14] In May 1674 his daughter Catherine pleading for her brother, told that about 38 years since in a time of great scarcity her father laid out a good estate for the supply of the country.[15] In 1679 John White deposed that about 42 years ago Mr. Alexander Shapleigh and Mr. James Treworgye agreed with the neighbors dwelling at and about Sturgeon Creek. [16] The first house was later enlarged and made into a garrison for protection against Indian raids.

The Deposition of John Whitte aged 58: yeares or there about. This Deponent testifys yt wras hee hath seene & hath knowne ye bounds at Sturgion Cricke Meddow, that were sett downe by Mr. Taynter, betweene Mr. Alexandr Shapleigh, & Nicho: Frost, about Twenty two years since, sayth that to his best discerning the sd bounds that were then sett downe do still remaine in the same places where in they were then standing, & were then allowed of, to bee the bounds by Mr. Allexandr Shapleigh, I being then a servant to the sd Shapleigh, & mowing the Meddow yt is Joyneing to itt, for severall years together & I having vewed the bounds the Last September. Taken upon oath this 19th of Decembr: 1662:" [17]

I Richard Vines Steward General of the Province of Mayne have… granted unto Tho: Furnell the Sonn of Renald Furnell of Piscataqua River Chieugion… in the Behalfe of Sir Fardinando Gorges Knt… Two Islands… on the North East Side of Pischataqua River… known by the name of Puddingtons Islands… this Third day of May 1645… Recorded this 16 Octobr 1651… Memorand: That Mr Alexandr Shapleigh when the Marsh within mentioned was divided did find that Nico: Frost had two little Marshs for his Stock of Cattle & therefore did freely give him the Five Acres of Marsh allotted to Him the sd Alexandr Shapleigh… the last of May 1643… Recorded Octobr 16: 1651"[18]

It therefore appears that Alex had a house, a warehouse and was running a sawmill on Spruce Creek by the mid 1630's. Philip Swadden supposedly held an Indian deed to that part of Kittery Point and he was probably in Alex's employ and was living in a wigwam near the warehouse. [19]

Alex spent most of his time in England and his family here managed his estates. On 2 Apr. 1641 James Treworgy sold all of Alex's property in America to Mr. Nicholas Shapleigh, then of Kingsweare, son of Alex Shapleigh for £1,500. The ordinary, warehouse and a small parcel of land was left in possession of Capt. William Everett who died soon afterwards. In 1652 67 acres of land was confirmed by the town to Nathan Lord, son-in-law to Capt. Everett. Another 20 acres were confirmed to the heirs of Nicholas Frost. Another 47 acres were granted to others due to overlapping boundaries to other grant holders leaving Maj. Nicholas Shapleigh with about 760 acres of land.[20]

"Alexander Shapleigh of Pascattaquacke in the Province of Mayne marchant... in consideracon that James Treworgy my sonne in law standeth bound for me to severall psons in England for the sume of seaven Hundred pounds and hath taken upon him selfe to satisfie the same, as alsoe for divers other good causes & Valuable consideracons... doe... sell... all that my lands, houses, goods, Chattails, ffish, ffishing craft, botes & all other things to the ffishing trade belonging... together wth all my whole estate boeth reall and psonall wch I now have, shall have or ought to have in New England... the 26th Day of May... 1642, Alexsander Shapleigh... in the prsence of Roger Garde, Mighaell Taynter, Nicholas Treworgy. Memo that the within named Alex : Shapleigh did deliver to the wthin named roger Garde for the Use of the wthin named James Treworgy one silver cupp in pte of the posession of all the prmises within granted in the prsence of us: Michaell Taynter, Nico : Treworgy- This is a trew coppie of the originall taken the 3rd day of July 1650."[21]

In 1647 George Ludlow of York County, Virginia, merchant, had dealings with Mr. Alexander Shapleigh of Dartmouth and John Treworgye of Newfoundland.[22]

Elizabeth Trickey's deposition made it appear that Alex died here, and apparently he was not long dead 6 July 1650 when the question to whom the estate belonged was brought before Godfrey. He ruled that Mrs. Treworgye was in no way possessed of the estate or responsible for any debts, as her father conveyed everything before he died and no will was proved, he evidently considering the deeds covered the same property.[23]

Mrs Elizabeth Trickley, aged Sixty four years, or thereabouts, Saith that about fifty two Years past She lived in Old England with Mr. Alexander Shapleigh at which time She very well remembers that the above Sd Shapleigh Sent over unto New England in one of his ships, John Treworgie, with goods to make a Voyage, and all ye goods the sd Treworgie carried with him in the sd Ship, did properly belong unto ye sd Shapleigh, unto the best of her remembrance. Sometime after this ye sd Shapleigh came himself for New England, where the Deponent had been for sometime afore, who Saith that at his arrival in New England which was about forty four years past there was one Treworgie in possession of the whole estate of the sd Shapleigh in New England; that is to say, both the Upper and Lower part of Kittery; but Immediately upon ye said Shapleigh’s arrival ye sd Treworgie did Surrender ye whole to him ye said Alexander Shapleigh, who did peaceably Enjoy it without any disturbance all his life; Neither did the Depont ever hear of any that pretended or Challenged any right to the aforesaid Lands, either above or below at Kittery point… this first day of May 1688." [24]

"Whereas Mrs Katheren Treworgy being sumoned to appeare at a Courte houlden for this Province of Mayne in Accomenticus the 5th of July 1650 to shew what Cause she had to challenge or Claim any Interest or Propriety in the Estate of Mr Alexsander Shapleigh deceasd then it was made appear by a Deed bearing Date the 26th of May 1642 from Mr Alexsander Shapleigh to Mr James Treworgy... all the Estate for sarten Sums of Money... that he the sd James Treworgy was engaged for as by the sd Deed more at large doth & may appeare & by another Deed from the sd James Treworgy all the Estate was made over to Mr Nicholas Shapleigh for & in Consideration of ye Sum of £1500... So it appeared to the Court that the Estate of Mr Alexsander Shapleigh was of no Consequence or to be approved of as capable of Bequest nor no Will proved soe it was determined that the Estate was Mr Nicholas Shapleigh's & Mrs Katheren Treworgy to renounce all Interest therein So the Court did find & determine that the sd Mrs Treworgy is any Way possessed of the Estate of the sd Mr Alexsander Shapleigh or liable to any Debtes of the sd Estate... 6th of July 1650. pr me Edw : Godfrey Governr, Basill Parker Re : Cor :".[25]

The ruins of the old mill on Shapleigh Creek on River Rd. in Eliot can still be seen having been preserved by the salt water. The current home on the site of Kittery House in Eliot was built in 1802 by Capt. Elisha Shapleigh. There is a bronze plaque on River Rd. in front of the house placed there by the Shapleigh Family Association in 1912.

"Site Of The Kittery House

Erected About 1638 By
Alexander Shapleigh
The Immigrant
This House Gave Name
To The Town Of Kittery
This Tablet Was Placed Here By
The Shapleigh Family Association

August 19, 1912"

Alexander's son, Major Nicholas Shapleigh, bore the arms "Vert, a chevron between three escallops Argent".


  1. New England Historic Genealogical Society library catalog, "Shapleigh Family" (1987); catalog entry, _AmericanAncestors.org_ (accessed 2014) for title: "Shapleigh family."
  2. The 1993 work may be accessed via OpenLibrary.
  3. "Book Reviews," _New England Historical and Genealogical Register_ 149 (1995):317-318, for entry by Lois Ware Thurston, C.G., "_The Shapleigh, Shapley and Shappley Families: A Comprehensive Genealogy, 1635-1993, by Brian J.L. Berry (Baltimore, Md.: Gateway Press, Inc., 1993 ....)"
  4. Brian J. L. Berry, _The Shapleigh, Shapley and Shappley Families: A Comprehensive Genealogy, 1635-1993_ (1993), 38; digial images, _OpenLibrary_ (accessed 2014).
  5. Admiralty Records quoted in Coldham's "English Adventurers" found on the Shapleigh Family Association web site at:
  6. Shapleigh Family Association web site at:
  7. Notes and Queries- Shapleigh and Treworgie- Charles Haseltine- NEHGR- Vol. 50, pp. 219-20 (Apr. 1896)
  8. Genealogical Dictionary of Maine & New Hampshire- pp.623-4
  9. Shapleigh Family Association web site at:
  10. Alexander Shapleigh of Kittery and Some of his Descendants- Ralph Bartlett, NEHGR- Vol. 95, pp. 180- 2 (Apr. 1941)
  11. Shapleigh Family Association web site at:
  12. Gleanings in the Early History of Maine and New Hampshire- The Shapleigh Family- NEHGR- Vol. 5, pp.345-9 (July 1851)
  13. Gleanings in the Early History of Maine and New Hampshire- The Shapleigh Family- NEHGR- Vol. 5, pp.345-9 (July 1851)
  14. Shapleigh Family Association web site at:
  15. Alexander Shapleigh of Kittery and Some of his Descendants- Ralph Bartlett, NEHGR- Vol. 95, pp. 180- 2 (Apr. 1941)
  16. Genealogical Dictionary of Maine & New Hampshire- pp.623-4
  17. York Deeds- Vol. I, pt. 1, fol. 156
  18. York Deeds- Vol. I, pt. 1, fol. 16
  19. Shapleigh Family Association web site at:
  20. Shapleigh Family Association web site at:
  21. York Deeds- Vol. I, fol. 7
  22. Genealogical Dictionary of Maine & New Hampshire- p. 447
  23. Gleanings in the Early History of Maine and New Hampshire- The Shapleigh Family- NEHGR- Vol. 5, pp.345-9 (July 1851)
  24. Gleanings in the Early History of Maine and New Hampshire- The Shapleigh Family- NEHGR- Vol. 5, pp.345-9 (July 1851)
  25. York Deeds- Vol. I, fol. 11
  • Sybil Noyes, James Libby, Walter Goodwin Davis, _Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire_, in five parts, paginated continuously (1928-1939), 623 for entry, “Shapleigh: 1 Alexander”; digital images, FamilySearch (accessed via Family History Library Catalog, 2014).
  • Brian J. L. Berry, _The Shapleigh, Shapley and Shappley Families: A Comprehensive Genealogy, 1635-1993_ (1993); digial images, _OpenLibrary_ (accessed 2014). Click here.
  • Ralph Sylvester Bartlett, "Alexander Shapleigh of Kittery, Maine, and some of his descendants," _New England Historical and Genealogical Register_ 95 (1941):180-184; 264-276; 96 (1942):27-36 (including "Addendum Additions and Corrections"); 196, for additional corrections; digital images, _AmericanAncestors.org_ (accessed 2014).
  • Ralph Sylvester Bartlett, "Notes and Historical Intelligence: Alexander Shapleigh of Kittery, Maine, and Some of his Descendants: Additions," _New England Historical and Genealogical Register_ 102 (1948):73-74; digital images, _AmericanAncestors.org_ (accessed 2014.

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Comments: 5

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Shapleigh-64 and Shapleigh-14 appear to represent the same person because: 1561 most probable birth year if father d 1570.

Please merge

posted by Beryl Meehan
Both parent died before the birth of this profile... Please check your sources and adjust accordingly.

Thank you!

posted by Stephen McCallum
Shapleigh-26 and Shapleigh-14 appear to represent the same person because: These have been sitting as an unmerged match for almost a year. Hopefully they can be looked at and merged if deemed to be the same person.
Shapleigh-26 and Shapleigh-59 appear to represent the same person because: this was sitting in 'unmerged' for almost 1-1/2 years. Just came across it. Hopefully the merge can proceed.
Setting Shapleigh-14 and Shapleigh-59 as unmerged matches while we collaborate to resolve the Gustave Anjou factor.
posted by GeneJ X

S  >  Shapleigh  >  Alexander Shapleigh

Categories: Gustave Anjou Fraud | Kittery, Maine