Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr

Last updated

Thomas West
3rd Baron De La Warr
Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr (1605).jpg
Portrait, c.1605
Born(1576-07-09)9 July 1576
Died7 June 1618(1618-06-07) (aged 41)
Atlantic Ocean, en route to Jamestown, Virginia, from
London, England
BuriedJamestown, Virginia
Noble family De La Warr
Cecilia Shirley, Lady De La Warr
(m. 1596)
Father Thomas West,
2nd Baron De La Warr
Mother Anne Knollys
Signature Signature of Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr.png

Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr ( /ˈdɛləwɛər/ DEL-ə-wair; [1] [2] [3] 9 July 1576 – 7 June 1618), was an English nobleman, for whom the bay, the river, and, consequently, a Native American people and U.S. state, all later called "Delaware", were named. A member of the House of Lords, from the death of his father in 1602 until his own death in 1618, he served as the governor of Virginia from 1610 to 1611.


There have been two creations of Baron De La Warr, and West came from the second. He was the son of Thomas West, 2nd Baron De La Warr, of Wherwell Abbey in Hampshire, and Anne Knollys, daughter of Catherine Knollys; making him a great-grandson of Mary Boleyn, the sister of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII. He was born at Wherwell, Hampshire, England, and died at sea while travelling from England to Virginia. Counting from the original creation of the title, West would be the 12th Baron. [4]

Early life

As the eldest son of the 2nd Baron De La Warr, Thomas West received his education at Queen's College, Oxford. He served in the English army under Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, and, in 1601, was charged with supporting Essex's ill-fated insurrection against Queen Elizabeth I, but acquitted of those charges. [5] He was a Member (MP) of the Parliament of England for Lymington in 1597. [6]

He succeeded his father as Baron De La Warr in 1602. [7] It was said that he became a member of the Privy Council, but this has been disproved. [8] In 1645 Dame Cicly petitioned the House of Lords to continue the pension that King James had granted her husband. [9]

Governor of Virginia

Arrival of Baron De La Warr at Jamestown, Virginia, in June 1610. Arrival de la warr.jpg
Arrival of Baron De La Warr at Jamestown, Virginia, in June 1610.

Lord De La Warr was the largest investor in the London Company, which received two charters to settle colonists in the New World, and furnished and sent several vessels to accomplish that aim. He was appointed governor-for-life and captain-general of the Virginia, to replace the governing council of the colony under the presidency of Captain John Smith. [10] Subsequently, in November 1609, the Powhatans killed John Ratcliffe, the Jamestown Colony's Council President, and attacked the colony in what became the First Anglo-Powhatan War. [11] As part of England's response, De La Warr recruited and equipped a contingent of 150 men and outfitted three ships at his own expense, and sailed from England in March 1610. [12]

In 1610 captain Samuel Argall named Delaware Bay in honor of Lord De La Warr. Shortly afterwards Dutch settlers along the bay gave it a different name, but the name Delaware Bay was restored when the English took control of the area in 1665. [13] Lord De La Warr contracted malaria or scurvy in 1611. He left the colony on a ship captained by Sir Samuel Argall headed to the West Indies to recover but was blown off course by a storm and forced to return to England. [14]

Later that year, De La Warr published a book titled The Relation of the Right Honourable the Lord De-La-Warre, Lord Governour and Captaine Generall of the Colonie, planted in Virginea. [15] Although attributed to De La Warr, the book was actually written by company employee Samuel Calvert. [8]

In the Autumn of 1616, Baron De La Warr and his wife Lady Cecilia, introduced John Rolfe and his wife, Pocahontas, into English society. The visitors from Virginia were in London to raise funds for the Virginia Company of London and to encourage colonization of Virginia. De La Warr remained the nominal governor, and after receiving complaints from the Virginia settlers about Argall's tyranny in governing them on his behalf, he set sail for Virginia again in 1618 aboard the Neptune to investigate those charges. He died at sea on 7 June [5] [14]


It was thought for many years that Lord De La Warr had been buried in the Azores or at sea. [5] By 2006, researchers had concluded that his body was brought to Jamestown for burial. In October 2017, archaeologists excavated remains from underneath one of the churches at Historic Jamestowne, but it is not yet known if De La Warr's is one of those. [16]

Personal life

Coat of Arms of Thomas West Coat of Arms of Thomas West.svg
Coat of Arms of Thomas West

On 25 November 1596, De La Warr married Cecily Shirley (died c.1662), the daughter of Sir Thomas Shirley of Wiston, Sussex, and his wife Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Kempe. [17] They had children:

Lord De La Warr's brother, John West, later became governor and married Anne Percy, daughter of George Percy. [22]


  1. Németh, Robert Stuart (13 September 2006). "The De La Warr Pavilion". Building Opinions. Latest Homes. Archived from the original on 13 July 2013.
  2. Billings, Warren M. "Thomas West, Twelfth Baron De La Warr (1576–1618)". Dictionary of Virginia Biography. Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  3. "Delaware Place Names" (PDF) (Report). United States Geological Survey.
  4. Thomas West, 12th Baron De La Warr at the Encyclopædia Britannica
  5. 1 2 3 Pollard, Albert Frederick (1899). "West, Thomas (1577–1618)"  . In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography . Vol. 60. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 344–45.
  6. "West, Thomas III (1577-1618), of Wherwell, Hants" via The History of Parliament. Reprinted from P.W. Hasler, ed. (1981). The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603. Boydell & Brewer.
  7. Fiske, John (1897). Old Virginia and Her Neighbours. Vol. 1. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company. pp. 146–47.
  8. 1 2 Rose, E.M. (2020). "Lord Delaware, First Governor of Virginia, 'the Poorest Baron of this Kingdom'". Virginia: Virginia Magazine of History 128.3. pp. 226–258. JSTOR   26926494.
  9. House of Lords. Main Papers. (3 December 1645) "Petition of Dame Cicily Dowager De la Ware." Lords Journals, VIII. 21. In extenso. The National Archives Kew Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  10. "The Jamestown Chronicles Timeline", 12 May 2016
  11. Lamont, Edward M. (2014). The Forty Years that Created America: The Story of the Explorers, Promoters, Investors, and Settlers Who Founded the First English Colonies. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 121. ISBN   978-1442236608.
  12. Brown, Alexander (1898). The First Republic in America. New York: Houghton, Mifflin. p.  126.
  13. [ht11tp:// Delaware Place Names] Archived 2017-08-11 at the Wayback Machine United States Geological Survey p. 35.
  14. 1 2 "West, Thomas, twelfth baron de la Warr (1576–1618)". Encyclopedia Virginia.
  15. De La Warr, Thomas West, Baron (1611). The Relation of the Right Honourable the Lord De-La-Warre, Lord Governour and Captaine Generall of the Colonie, planted in Virginea at
  16. Ruane, Michael E. (27 October 2017). "Experts have uncovered remains at the first permanent English colony. But whose bones are they?". The Washington Post . Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  17. Cokayne 2000 , p. 161
  18. Cokayne 1983 , p. 140, Hammond 1998 , p. 128, Mosley 2003 , p. 630.
  19. Mosley 2003 , pp. 630, 1075.
  20. Mosley 2003 , p. 1075
  21. Cokayne 2000 , p. 161, Mosley 2003 , p. 1075.
  22. Bradburn, Douglas; Coombs, John C. (2011). Early Modern Virginia: Reconsidering the Old Dominion. University of Virginia Press. p. 50. ISBN   978-0813931708.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Earl De La Warr</span> Earldom in the Peerage of Great Britain

Earl De La Warr is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1761 for John West, 7th Baron De La Warr. The Earl holds the subsidiary titles of Viscount Cantelupe (1761) in the Peerage of Great Britain, Baron De La Warr (1572) in the Peerage of England, and Baron Buckhurst, of Buckhurst in the County of Sussex (1864) in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. The barony De La Warr is of the second creation; however, it bears the precedence of the first creation, 1299, and has done so since shortly after the death of William West, 1st Baron De La Warr. The family seat is Buckhurst Park, near Withyham, Sussex.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Earl of Chichester</span> Peerage

Earl of Chichester is a title that has been created three times, twice in the Peerage of England and once in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. The current title was created in the Peerage of the United Kingdom in 1801 for Thomas Pelham, 2nd Baron Pelham of Stanmer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Baron Gerard</span> Extinct barony in the Peerage of England

There have been three baronies created for the Gerard family who lived historically at Bryn, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Lancashire and Kingsley, Cheshire, in the 13th century. The third and current barony was created in 1876.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William de Berkeley, 1st Marquess of Berkeley</span> English peer

William de Berkeley, 1st Marquess of Berkeley was an English peer, given the epithet "The Waste-All" by the family biographer and steward John Smyth of Nibley. He was buried at "St. Augustine's Friars, London" according to one source, but most likely in the Berkeley family foundation of St Augustine's Abbey, Bristol.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Samuel Argall</span> 16/17th-century English naval officer and colonial official in Virginia

Sir Samuel Argall was an English sea captain, navigator, and Deputy-Governour of Virginia, an English colony.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas Dale</span> English naval commander and Virginia Colony statesman

Sir Thomas Dale was an English naval commander who served as deputy-governor of the Virginia Colony in 1611 and again from 1614 to 1616. Dale is best remembered for the energy and the extreme rigour of his administration in Virginia, which established order and in various ways seems to have benefited the colony, although he was criticised for high-handedness. He is also credited with the establishment of Bermuda Hundred, Bermuda Cittie, and the Cittie of Henricus.

William West, 1st Baron De La Warr of the second creation was the elder son of Sir George West (d.1538), second son of Thomas West, 8th Baron De La Warr, by his third wife, Eleanor Copley, and Elizabeth Morton, widow of Robert Walden, and daughter of Sir Robert Morton of Lechlade, Gloucestershire. He was a nephew and adopted heir of his uncle of the half blood, Thomas West, 9th Baron De La Warr, eldest son of the 8th Baron's second wife, Elizabeth Mortimer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Baron West</span>

Baron West is a title created in the Peerage of England in 1402. The title has been in abeyance since 1554, although it is possible to argue that it has been merged.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Richard West, 7th Baron De La Warr</span>

Richard West, 7th Baron De La Warr and 4th Baron West was the son of Reginald West, 6th Baron De La Warr, by his first wife, Margaret Thorley, daughter of Robert Thorley, esquire, of Tybesta, Cornwall, and his first wife, Anne de la Pole, widow of Sir Gerard de Lisle, and daughter of Michael de la Pole, 1st Earl of Suffolk.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas West, 8th Baron De La Warr</span> English courtier

Thomas West, 8th Baron De La Warr and 5th Baron West, KB, KG was an English courtier and military commander during the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas West, 9th Baron De La Warr</span>

Thomas West, 9th Baron De La Warr and 6th Baron West, KG was the eldest son of Thomas West, 8th Baron De La Warr, by his second wife, Elizabeth Mortimer, daughter of Sir Hugh Mortimer of Martley and Kyre Wyard, Worcestershire, by Eleanor Cornwall, daughter of Sir Edmund Cornwall.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas West, 2nd Baron De La Warr</span>

Thomas West, 2nd and 11th Baron De La Warr of Wherwell Abbey, Hampshire, was a member of Elizabeth I's Privy Council.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas Gates (governor)</span> 16th/17th-century Governor of Jamestown, in the English colony of Virginia

Sir Thomas Gates was the governor of Jamestown in the English Colony of Virginia. His predecessor, George Percy, through inept leadership, was responsible for the lives lost during the period called the Starving Time. The English-born Gates arrived to find a few surviving starving colonists commanded by Percy, and assumed command. Gates ruled with deputy governor Sir Thomas Dale. Their controlled, strict methods helped the early colonies survive. Sir Thomas was knighted in 1596 by Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex for gallantry at the Capture of Cadiz. His knighthood was later royally confirmed by Queen Elizabeth I.

Francis West was a Deputy Governor of the Colony and Dominion of Virginia.

John West was an early member of the Virginia General Assembly and acting colonial Governor of Virginia from 1635 to 1637, the third West brother to serve as Governor and one of the founders of the West Family of Virginia, which would include many politicians.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anne Knollys, Baroness De La Warr</span>

Anne West, Lady De La Warr was a lady at the court of Queen Elizabeth I of England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas Burgh, 3rd Baron Burgh</span> English noble (c.1558–1597)

Thomas Burgh, 3rd Baron Burgh KG 3rd Baron Borough of Gainsborough, de jure7th Baron Strabolgi and 9th Baron Cobham of Sterborough was the son of William Burgh, 2nd Baron Burgh and Lady Katherine Clinton, daughter of Edward Clinton, 1st Earl of Lincoln and Elizabeth Blount, former mistress of King Henry VIII. He was one of the peers who conducted the trial of the Duke of Norfolk in 1572.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Adrian Poynings</span>

Sir Adrian Poynings was a military commander and administrator. The youngest of the illegitimate children of Sir Edward Poynings, he played a prominent role in the defence of the English garrison at Le Havre in 1562–63.

Sir John Clinton, 7th Lord Clinton, KB was an English peer. He was also known as John Fiennes.


Parliament of England
Preceded by
Richard Blount
John Knight
Member of Parliament for Lymington
With: Henry Wallop
Succeeded by
Sir Francis Darcy
Thomas Ridley
Peerage of England
Preceded by Baron De La Warr
Succeeded by
Henry West
Government offices
Preceded by Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by