Edward Digges, Colonial Governor of Virginia

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Gov. Edward Digges, Governor of VIrginia

Also Known As: ""The Immigrant""
Birthdate: (53)
Birthplace: Chillham Castle, Kent, England
Death: March 15, 1675 (53)
Bellfield Plantation, York County, Virginia
Place of Burial: Yorktown, York, VA, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Dudley Digges, MP and Lady Mary Kempe
Husband of Elizabeth Digges
Father of Mary Kempe; Col. William Digges, Dep. Gov. of the Province of Maryland; Catherine Herndon; Ann D Digges and Dudley Digges
Brother of Anne Digges; Thomas Digges; John Digges; Dudley Digges; Richard Digges and 7 others

Occupation: Governor of Virginia Colony 1655-1656, govenor, 2nd Governor of Colonial Virginia, Colonial Governor of Virginia, Gov. of VA 1655-1657, Colonial Governor of Virginia from March 1655 to December 1656
Managed by: Private User
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About Edward Digges, Colonial Governor of Virginia


He entered Greys' Inn 19 May, 1637, and came to Virginia in 1650, settling at "Belfield," on York River. He was a member of the Council in 1654, Auditor-General 1670-75, and Governor from 31 March, 1655, to 13 March, 1657. His wife Elizabeth, who died about 1691, is believed to have been a sister of Col. John Page of York county. By her he had six sons and seven daughters. The Digges arms are on the tomb of Dudley Digges at Belfield.

entered Gray's Inn 19 May 1637, emigrated to Virginia by 11 Dec 1650, elected Governor of Virginia 1655. Attempted silk culture on his plantation "Belfield" in York county. Thirteen children of whom three sons and five daughters died in infancy, or by 1691, without issue.

Old Churches, Ministers, and Families of Virginia. Article XVIII.

Governor of Virginia 1655 / 1658

Edward Digges was Colonial Governor of Virginia from March 30, 1655 to December 1656.

He immigrated to the Virginia Colony about 1650 and purchased the Bellfield Plantation in present-day York County, Virginia, near Yorktown. His efforts at this plantation are noted as one of the first attempts by the colonists to raise silkworms in hopes of production of Virginia silk to compete with the Orient. Edward Digges employed two Armenians to help him but the industry proved a failure.

   BELLFIELD - The six hundred acres of land granted to John West extended eastward in the Mine Depot from Poli's Point on Felgate's Creek taking in what was then and is still known as "Bellfield", which was used during the war as an Aviation Training Camp and considered by naval flyers as one of the best landing fields in the country. The abandoned hangers and buildings are being salvaged as occasion arises for use of material. Here his son, John West, the founder of West Point up the York River, was born in 1633, who was the first child of English parents born in the York settlement.
   In 1650 the older West sold the property to Edward Digges Esquire (later Governor Digges), a son of Sir Dudley Digges, Master of the Rolls to King Charles The First. This plantation is noted as the scene of one of the first attempts by the Colonists to raise silk worms for the production of silk designed to compete with the Orient. He employed two Armenians to help him but the industry proved a failure.To this day there is left on this estate to remind us numerous mulberry trees transplanted from abroad, the leaves of which served as food for the silk worms.
   A massive tombstone still attests the presence of Edward Digges' grave near the site of the original home. The estate continued in the Digges' family for over one hundred years during which time it was noted for its flavored plant of sweet-scented tobacco known as the "E. Dees" and which never failed to bring in England "One shilling on the pound when other tobaccos brought not three pence". The original Bellfield house was a seventeenth century structure of brick but has long since disappeared, another of wood erected near its old foundations. The house being of no value, is occupied and rapidly going to decay. Naturally this is a particularly revered spot to Virginia antiquarians being from 1654 to 1656 the home of Governor Edward Digges, one time Colonial Governor of Virginia. The burying ground, a short walk from the house, holds four well-marked graves.
   (1) S
   To the memory of Edward Digges Esq.
   Sonne of Dudley Digges of Chilham in Kent Kn t & Bar t Master of the Rolls in the rain of K. Charles the First. He departed this life 15th of March 1674 in the LIII d year of his age, one of his Mag ty Councill for this his colony of Virginia. A gentlemen of most commendable parts and ingenuity, the only introducer and promoter of the silk manufacture in this colony. And in everything else a pattern worthy of all Pious Imitation. He had issue 6 sons and 7 daughters by the body of Elizabeth his wife who of her conjugal affection hath dedicated to him this Memorial.
   (Governor of Va. March 30, 1655 - March 13, 1658, succeeding Richard Bennet)

Occupation: Served as Governor of Virginia BET 30 MAR 1655 AND MAR Virginia Note: succeeding Richard Bennet and governor for a two-year term, the latter during the period of the Cromwellian Commonwealth.

Occupation: Councilor BEF 1655 VA Note: served the Colony as councilor, as well as auditor-general, receiver-general, a Virginia agent in England,

Residence: BEF 11 DEC 1650 Kent Co., England

Residence: E. D. Plantation, York River AFT 11 DEC 1650 Yorktown, York Co., Va. Note:

   developed the famous "E. D. [Edward Digges] Plantation" with its noted quality tobacco.

Event: Member of Council Misc BET 1654 AND 1675

  • Governor of VA ... 2nd of 3 men who served as governor of Commonwealth of VA during 8 yr. period from 1652-1660
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Edward Digges, Colonial Governor of Virginia's Timeline

March 29, 1621
Chillham Castle, Kent, England
May 29, 1621
Age 3
Age 29
Hampton, Elizabeth City County, Virginia Colony
March 1654
Age 32
Elizabeth City, Hampton, Virginia
Age 34
Governor of the Virginia Colony
November 20, 1658
Age 37
Yorktown, York, Virginia
Age 43
Warwick County Virginia