Capt. Thomas Willoughby, Ancient Planter

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Thomas Willoughby

Birthdate: (56)
Birthplace: Wallaton, Kent, England
Death: April 15, 1657 (56)
All Hallows, Barking, London, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Willoughby of Barbados and Elizabeth Clemence Willoughby
Husband of Alice Willoughby
Father of Thomas Willoughby, Jr. and Elizabeth Allerton
Brother of Alice Phripp

Occupation: "Ancient Planter", Burgess, Virginia Colony
Managed by: Daniel Robert May
Last Updated:

About Capt. Thomas Willoughby, Ancient Planter

Sir Thomas Willoughby b. 1587 England d. bef Apr 1657.

  • parents: Thomas Willoughby b: 1571 in Bore Place, Kent, England & Elizabeth Middleton b: 1575 in Kent, England

The name of his wife is unproven: Alice Brewster, Alice Layton and others have been mentioned. Other sources have Elizabeth Newton. "1644-47 returned to Eng. described as merchant of Red Lyon Alley St. Botolph, London. Son Thomas admitted to Merchant Taylor's school. 1654 brought wife Alice and children Thomas and Elizabeth with him. patented 1500 acres. wife and children among headrights.

1650. home called "Willoughby's Hope" (from deposition) by Apr 15 1657. Thomas had died (will proved). Adm.granted to Thomas Middleton, Esq. nephew, late of VA but deceased in All Hallows Barking, London. died in Eng. age 56/57.

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Born in 1600 (1), probably in Wallaton, Kent, England, although second sources (2) (7) indicates his birth date was 1601. a third source (3) states that he signed a deposition in November 1650 and gave his age as 52 years, making his birth date as 1598. The 1600 date is the most often used. Nephew of Sir Percival Willoughby of Wallaton, Kent. WilloughbyBorePlaceMiddletonWollaton.html (2) came to America in 1610 on Prosperous (7) and settled in Hampton (a trading post established by Lord Delaware) on the site of the Indian village of Kecoughtan. He is listed as a resident in Elizabeth Cittye in 1623. The area was later called Elizabeth City county. He was granted a patent of 100 acres. (3)(4) In 1625, he was given permission to take 200 acres near the York River, but hostile Indians prevented its use. (3)

He made a trip to England in 1627 and upon returning, Lieutenant Pippet and Ensign Thomas Willoughby were ordered to attack the Chesapeake Indians. As a result, Thomas Willoughby became known as an Indian fighter and this battle may have resulted in the extinction of the Chesapeake tribe. (1) He patented and additional 300 acres adjoining his original 100 acres in Hampton. (3)

In 1628-29 and again in 1630-32, Lieutenant Thomas Willoughby was appointed Commissioner (justice) for Elizabeth City County (Hampton). (2) He represented Elizabeth City county in the House of Burgesses from 1629 to 1632, and in the latter year became a member of the governor's council. (2)(4)

In 1636, he secured a patent for 200 acres of land which included the site of the ancient Indian village of SKI-CO-AK (Norfolk) and extended north from the Elizabeth River to the current Bute Street. He also took 100 acres across the river which included the present Navel Hospital.

Thomas Willoughby, in a sense, was the first citizen of Norfolk though his home may not have been in the grant. He allowed the grant to eventually escheat (revert) to the colony. (5) See map (courtesy of Kirn Memorial Library).

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Children: Thomas (#3), Elizabeth m. Isaac Allerton, Francis, Jonathan, Hugh and Alice

Thomas was a leading merchant in the Colony. He was a justice in Elizabeth City County in 1628; a member of House of Burgesses for the upper part of Elizabeth City County, 1629-1632; Council, 1644-46 (Henning).

"Virginia Biographical Encyclopedia"

Name: Thomas Willoughby was a nephew of Sir Percival Willoughby, of Wollaton, who was from Kent, married his relative, the heiress of the Willoughbys of Wollaton, and had several brothers. At least so runs the family tradition. Thomas was born in 1601, came to Virginia when he was nine years old, and lived first, in Elizabeth City county, and afterwards in Lower Norfolk. After reaching manhood, he was for many years one of the leading merchants of the colony. There is to be found in Sainsbury's "Calendar of Colonial State Papers" (vol. i.) a certificate, dated 1627, by Thomas Willoughby, of Rochester, aged twenty-seven years, in regard to a ship in which he was about to go to Virginia. There can hardly be a doubt that this was the Virginian returning from a visit to his old home. As soon as he arrived in Virginia, he was engaged in warfare with the Indians, for on July 4, 1627, Lieut. Pippet and Ensign Willoughby were ordered to attack the Chesapeakes. As "Lieutenant Thomas Willoughby," he was appointed a commissioner (justice) for Elizabeth City, on March 26, 1628-29, and again in Feb., 1631-32, and Sept., 1632. On March 11, 1639, "Capt. Thos. Willoughby, Esq.," was presiding justice of Lower Norfolk. He represented the "Upper Part of Elizabeth City," in the house of burgesses at the session of March, 1629-30, and was again a member for "Waters Creek and the Upper Part of Elizabeth City," in Feb., 1631-32. In Sept., 1632, he was a burgess, but was absent, at least at the beginning of the session, being in England about this time. On Jan. 6, 1639, Willoughby was present as a member of the council, and on Aug. 9, 1641, he was again commissioned as a councillor under Gov. Berkeley, and was present at the meetings of Feb., 1644-45, March, 1645-46, and Oct., 1646. In the last named year he was "high lieutenant" of Norfolk county. He was included in the commission of the council issued by Charles II. at Breda in 1650, but was not among the councillors elected by the house of burgesses in April, 1652. In Nov., 1654, the assembly made the following order: "It is ordered by the present Grand Assembly in the difference between Capt. Thos. Willoughby and Bartholomew Hodgskins (Hoskins) that Hodgskins the then sheriff is noway liable to make Willoughby any satisfaction, and the former proceedings against the said Willoughby were grounded upon very good reasons, because it appeareth that the said Willoughby was not sworn nor acted as a Councillor of this Country before the Levy was made which he refusing to pay, occasioned all the damage, which in this petition he doth pretend to." Thomas Willoughby patented large tracts of land in Lower Norfolk county which his descendants owned for several generations. Part of this estate, Willoughby Point, near Norfolk, known as the "manor plantation" was until lately the property of descendants through female lines. The name of Capt. Willoughby's wife is not known, unless, as seems probable, it appears under a patent to him in 1654, when Alice, Thomas and Elizabeth Willoughby are mentioned as head rights. In the old records of Lower Norfolk is the following: "At a Court held 16th August, 1658. Upon Peticon of Mr. Tho. Willoughby a commission of Adm'con is granted unto him on his father's estate, Capt. Tho. Willoughby who deceased in England, hee putting in Security according to law."


This is the first Willoughby to have come to America. He came in 1610 and apparently married here ca. 1623-31 but returned to England and died there ca. 1657.

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Capt. Thomas Willoughby, Ancient Planter's Timeline

Wallaton, Kent, England
December 25, 1632
Age 31
Willoughby Point,Norfolk,Virginia,USA
September 27, 1635
Age 34
Parnham, Suffolk, England
April 15, 1657
Age 56
All Hallows, Barking, London, England