Henry Rolfe (1585 - 1643) MP

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Nicknames: "Henry Rolph"
Birthplace: Melchett Park, Downton, Wiltshire, England
Death: Died in Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts
Managed by: Thomas Edward Shirley
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Henry Rolfe

Additional Curator's Notes:


The Rolfe names come in various spellings including Rolfe, Rolph, Roffe, Rof and Roff. Many sources will try to make this Henry Rolfe a brother of John Rolfe, Ancient Planter of Jamestown, Virginia. I cannot prove that relationship. Henry's family was from Wiltshire and John's from Norfolk. They were undoubtedly related, cousins of some degree. It is even possible that Henry's wife Honour was more closely related to the Ancient Planter.

Henry Rolfe was born September 5, 1585 in Melchett Park, Downton, Wiltshire England, and died March 1, 1642/43 in Newbury, Essex, MA. He married Honour Rolfe on May 26, 1631 in Whiteparish, Wiltshire, England. She was born abt 1598 in Hamptonworth, Wiltshire, England and died December 19, 1650 in Charleston, Middlesex, MA, in the home of her daughter, Anne Blanchard. Henry and Honour were first cousins, once removed. Henry's father was the brother of Honour's maternal grandfather.

Henry, Honour and their three eldest children, Ann, Hannah and John were the first family bearing the surname Rolfe to immigrate to New England where they settled in Newburyport Mass, in 1635. Their part of the town, in 1764, separated as the town of Newbury. In 1642 Henry was registered as a "proprietor of Lands." He was not recorded as a Freeman, probably because of his early death (1643). It is not known on which vessel they sailed to New England.

It is often reported that they sailed as passengers on the "Confidence" as did his brother John Rolfe and family and his nephew, Thomas Whittier, ancestor of the famous poet John Greenleaf Whittier. Henry's brother John (b 1558 in Melchett Pk. Wiltshire, England d. 1664) sailed on the Confidence in 1638, but there is no mention of Henry and his family.

Children of Henry Rolfe and Honour Rolfe

  • Anna Rolfe, b. Abt. 1626, Whiteparish, Wiltshire, England; d. November 16, 1678, Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts.
  • Hannah Rolfe, b. Abt. 1630, England; d. November 16, 1678, Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts.
  • John Rolfe, b. May 10, 1634, England; d. October 01, 1681, Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts.
  • Benjamin Rolfe, b. 1640, Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts; d. August 1710, Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts.

Maria Edmonds-Zediker, Volunteer Curator, 9/9/2011

Links to additional material:

Will of Henry Rolfe of Newbury' "The 15th 12th month 1642 I desire to comend my soule into the hands of the lord Jesus Christ, I desire my goods may be equally divided to my wife & all my children, only my sonne John Roffe must have the howse & land more then all the rest of my children and that their porcons shalbe divided when they be 21 yeares of age if they marry not before In case my wife dye or marry then the goods shalbe divided; otherwise not till my eldest childe come to be 21 yeares of age But still to remayne in their mothers hands with the rest till that either of them are 21 yeares of age or marry. If any of my children dye then that porcon shalbe equally divided betweene my wife & the rest of my children I doe give vnto my wife one great brasse pott and one great brasse pann, and a great brasse posnett and a chafing dish and five pewter platters I doe give vnto my Kinsman Thomas whittear a swarme of bees. I desire my brother John Roffe and my Cosen John Saunders of Sallisbery and william Mondy of Newberry to oversee my will & order it to my desire & accordinge to my will."

Henry Roffe

Witness: Thomas Hale, Thomas Cowllman, william Mose. Proved 28:1:1643 Ipswich Deeds, vol. 1, leaf 2.

Inventory taken 1:1:1642, by John Woodbridg, Henry Short and Richard Knight: howse & land, £30; Six kowes, £30; foure oxen, £24; one bull & one steere, 3 yeare old, £7. 10s.; three beasts, two years old, £8; two beasts, one yeare old, £2. 10s.; three Calves, £1. 4s.; three hoggs, £1. 4s.; Bees, £7. 10s.; haye, £4; Soyle, £1; Cart, Slead & 3 Yoaks, £1. 6s.; within the howse: one fetherbed & flockbed, £3. 10s.; Six fether pillowes, 18s.; 4 Coverleds, £2; 5 blanketts, £1. 10s; 3 paier of Sheets, £1. 8s.; 2li. and a halfe of bee wax, 2s. 6d.; bowlster Case & pillow & napkins, 10s.; porke, £2. 7s.; butter & Cheese, 12s.; barrells & butte[r] Cherne & other lumb., 18s.; Pewter, £1. 7s. 6d.; Brasse, £3. 13s.; a Brasse pott, £1; iron potts, £1. 6s.; A chafing dish & a posnet, 5s.; 12 bushells of indian corne, £2. 2s.; 9 bushells of wheate, £2. 6d.; 2 bushells of pease, 9s.; hogsheads & howes & other lumber, 16s.; in apparrell, stockins & shoes, £3; muskett & fowling peeces & 2 Swords & bandileers, £1. 19s.; working Tooles & lanthorne, 15s.; bookes, £1; spining wheeles, 10s.; a chest & chaiers & other lumb., 16s.; harrow tines, 10s.; total £153. 8s. 6d. Ipswich Deeds, vol. 1, leaf 3.

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Henry Rolfe's Timeline

1578
1578
Whiteparish, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom
1583
September 5, 1583
Whiteparish, Wiltshire, England
September 5, 1583
Whiteparish, Wiltshire, England
1585
September 5, 1585
Melchett Park, Downton, Wiltshire, England
September 5, 1585
Whiteparish, Wiltshire, England
September 5, 1585
Whiteparish, Wiltshire, England
September 5, 1585
Whiteparish, Wiltshire, England, England
September 5, 1585
Whiteparish, Wiltshire, England, England
1626
1626
Age 40
Whiteparish, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom
1629
1629
Age 43
Whiteparish, Wiltshire, England