Thomas Wentworth
Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford by Sir Anthony Van Dyck (2)
Thomas Wentworth, about 1639,
portrait after van Dyck.
1st Governor of Strafford Bay
In office
1 September 1620 – 17 October 1654
Monarch Charles I [note 1]
(1620 - 1649)

Charles II [note 2]
(1649 - )

Deputy See Below
Preceded by Position Created
Succeeded by John Berkeley
Personal details
Born Thomas Wentworth
13 April 1593 (O.S.)
London, Kingdom of England
Died 1 May 1670
Mount Ormond, Trenton,
Strafford Bay Colony
Resting place Chapel Field, Trenton
Nationality English
Spouse(s) See Below
  1. Charles I was beheaded in 1649.
  2. As governor Wentworth aligned with the Royalist cause in the English Civil War, and recognized Charles II as sovereign.

Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford (13 April 1593 (O.S.) – Present) was an English statesman, colonizer, and prominent figure in the period leading up to the English Civil War. In England he served as a member of Parliament and was a major supporter of Charles I. As a result he was appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland from 1632 to 1640, where he established a strong authoritarian rule.

Wentworth took an interest in the British colonization of the Americas, at first for commercial reasons, but also to create a refuge for persecuted groups in the Kingdom of England, particularly English Catholics. In 1620 he was granted a royal charter, which would become the Strafford Bay Colony. After leaving Ireland Wentworth became a leading adviser to the King during his disputes with Parliament, but ultimately was unable to diffuse the conflict leading up to the civil war. In 1641 he accepted a deal to flee into exile at Strafford Bay, fearing a possible trial and execution.

From 1641 to 1654 Wentworth remained governor of the colony, guiding the colony toward economic autonomy and toward the Royalist cause in the civil war. As a result of his Royalist loyalties, Parliament would pass a law forbidding trade between England (and her other colonies) and Strafford Bay. In 1654 Parliament dispatched an armed force under John Berkeley to replace Wentworth, and he surrendered without bloodshed in exchange for retirement to his personal property near Trenton, and safety for his family and supporters.

Deputy GovernorsEdit

The Strafford Bay Colony originally was chartered as a proprietary colony under the leadership of Thomas Wentworth. Although he nominally was the governor of the colony from 1620 to 1641, he never visited the colony during this time, and did not govern in person until after his exile to the colony began. In 1620 the colony was left instead to Wentworth's brother, George Wentworth, who was the first true governor of the colony. George Wentworth would serve as governor for the majority of 1620 to 1641, but on several occasions left the colony in the hands of a deputy.

  • Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford (1620 - 1641, absentee)
    • George Wentworth (1620 - 1633)
    • Sir Christopher Wandesford, 1st Baronet (1633 - 1635)
    • Henry Pendelton (1635 - 1637)
    • George Wentwoth (1637 - 1639)
    • Sir Thomas Roe (1639 - 1640)
    • George Wentwoth (1640 - 1641)
  • Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford (1641 - 1654, in person)
    • George Wentwoth (1645 - 1646)
    • Samuel Pepys (1651 - 1652)


Strafford was married three times, with which he had the following children:

Strafford had two brothers, whose descendants are as follows:

  • George Wentworth (1598 - 1672) -- Anne Ruish
  • Sir William Wentworth (b. 1600 - 1671)
    • Sir William Wentworth, High Sheriff of Yorkshire (b. 1633 - 1694) --Isabella Apsley, daughter of Sir Allen Apsley
      • Thomas Wentworth (b. 1672) - Duke of Strafford
      • Charles Wentworth (b. 1675)
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