Lt. Thomas Bancroft

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Lt. Thomas Bancroft

Birthplace: Derbyshire, England, United Kingdom
Death: December 14, 1684 (63)
Springfield, Hampshire County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
Place of Burial: Wakefield, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Bancroft, of Lynn and Ann “Jane” Bancroft
Husband of Hannah Barber; Alice Bancroft; Elizabeth Bancroft (Metcalf) and Margaret Bancroft
Father of Nathaniel Bancroft; Thomas Bancroft; Capt. & Dea. Thomas Bancroft, Jr.; John Bancroft; Elizabeth Bancroft and 10 others
Brother of Elizabeth Talmadge; Sarah Stratton; John Bancroft and Hannah “Anna” Griffin

Managed by: Private User
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About Lt. Thomas Bancroft

Thomas Bancroft, along with his "cousin," William Hooper, Hooper's brother-in-law, Thomas Marshall, and another possible relative, Deacon Thomas Parker, were among the first dozen or so settlers of Reading, Massachusetts. Reading was set off from Lynn, MA and old Reading is today three towns, including Reading and Wakefield. Notice that he is buried in Wakefield (earlier known as South Reading). They apparently all sailed on the "James" together and are hypothesized to be from Reading, England.

THOMAS6 BANCROFT, LIEUT. 1622 (JOHN5, THOMAS4, RALPH3, JOHN2, WILLIAM1)9,9 was born 1622 in Swarkston, Derbyshire, England, and died August 19, 1691 in Age 69 in Lynnfield, MA.

Thomas had four wives:

1ST WIFE: He married (1) ALICE BACON10 March 31, 1647 in Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA, daughter of MICHAEL BACON and ALICE. She was born 1619 in Winston, Suffolk, England, and died March 29, 1648 in Dedham, Norfolk, MA. More About ALICE BACON: Christened: 1620. Burial: Wakefield, Middlesex, MA. Cause of Death: Died in child birth.

2ND WIFE: He married (2) ELIZABETH METCALF11,12,13 September 15, 1648 in Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA, daughter of MICHAEL METCALT and SARAH ELWYN. She was born September 30, 1626 in Norwich, Norfolk, England. ELIZABETH METCALF lived in: Dedham, Reading and Lynn, MA

3RD WIFE: He married (3) MARGARET WRIGHT14,15 December 08, 1653 in Springfield, MA, daughter of SAMUEL WRIGHT and MARGARET. She was born June 30, 1624 in Springfield, Hampden, MA, and died 1668 in Westfield, MA.

4TH WIFE: He married (4) HANNAH GARDNER16 November 22, 1676 in Hadley, Hampshire, MA, daughter of SAMUEL GARDNER and LYDIA OLDHAM. She was born Abt. 1642 in Springfield, Hampden, MA, and died December 11, 1711 in Enfield, Hartford, CT.

Notes for THOMAS BANCROFT, LIEUT. 1622: It is recorded that Thomas was the first settler of Freshwater Brook, now Thompsonville, Enfield, Connecticut. In 1668 he resided in Westfield, Massachusetts, where he was a selectman (legislator). On March 1680 he sold his property and moved back to Enfield, CT.

His cattle mark was "Ye top of both ears cut off and a little piece cut out of ye off ear."

His will is recorded in Springfield, dated November 1684. It gave to his eldest son, Thomas Jr., 15 acres of land on south side of the Waxanoak River. To his sons Samuel, John and Nathaniel, he gave equal shares in Enfield. He gave seven pounds to each of his daughters Anna and Rebecca. To his loving wife, he gave the house and contents. Since this will was not signed, by witnesses, it could not be settled until 1703.

According to "The History of Lynn, MA": The Bancroft's were men of substance. In early Puritan days the congregation were placed by officials in pews according to their position in society. It was called "seating the church." Thomas Bancroft and his successors were given a highly honorable place.

Lieutenant Thomas Bancroft, who is buried at Wakefield has the oldest tombstone in that town. He was interred in the first burial ground, where the Common's is now, not far from the Pagoda. When the Commons was made, his stone along with the others, was moved to Wakefield,. As he belonged to Lynnfield, and died there, it would be a good plan to bring his monument back to where he lived and died.

More About THOMAS BANCROFT, LIEUT. 1622: Burial: Wakefield, Middlesex, MA, Old Burying Ground, First Parish Congregational Church


Child of THOMAS BANCROFT and first wife: ALICE BACON is:

	i.	 THOMAS7 BANCROFT, 1647, b. January 11, 1647/48, Dedham, Norfolk, MA; d. January 31, 1647/48, Dedham, Norfolk, MA.

Children of THOMAS BANCROFT and second wife: ELIZABETH METCALF are:

ii. THOMAS7 BANCROFT, DEACON, 1649, b. July 14, 1649, Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA; d. June 19, 1718, Age 69 in Reading, Middlesex, MA.

iii. JOHN BANCROFT, 1649, b. March 03, 1649/50; d. January 25, 1738/39, Lynn, Essex County, MA.

	iv.	 ELIZABETH BANCROFT, b. November 04, 1650, Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA; d. Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA.
	v.	 RALPH BANCROFT, 1660, b. August 20, 1660, Reading Middlesex, MA; d. July 13, 1661, Reading Middlesex, MA.
	vi.	 RAHAM BANCROFT, b. June 27, 1662, Reading Middlesex, MA; d. May 19, 1683, Reading Middlesex, MA; m. ABIGAIL; d. March 26, 1728, Wakefield, Middlesex, MA.  More About ABIGAIL: Burial: Wakefield, Middlesex, MA, Old Burying Ground, First Parish Congregational Church
	vii.	 SARAH BANCROFT, 1665, b. April 01, 1665, Watertown, Middlesex, MA; d. February 23, 1696/97, Reading Middlesex, MA; m. JOHN WOODWARD.

viii. EBENEZER BANCROFT, CAPTAIN, b. April 26, 1667, Reading Middlesex, MA; d. June 06, 1717, Wakefield, Middlesex, MA.

	ix.	MARY BANCROFT, b. May 16, 1670, Reading Middlesex, MA.

Children of THOMAS BANCROFT and third wife: MARGARET WRIGHT are:

	xi.	 LYDIA BANCROFT17, b. February 05, 1654/55, Enfield, CT; d. July 30, 1655, Enfield, CT.
	xii.	 MARGARET BANCROFT, b. August 16, 1656, Enfield, CT; d. February 03, 1702/03, Enfield, CT.
	xiii.	 ANNA BANCROFT18, b. July 01, 1658, Enfield, CT; d. 1757, Enfield, CT; m. THOMAS GILBERT, April 09, 1690, Springfield, MA.
	xiv.	 THOMAS BANCROFT, 1659, b. November 21, 1659, Enfield, CT; d. 1753, Cape May, New Jersey. Notes for THOMAS BANCROFT, 1659: Thomas was at Cape May, NJ by 1700. 
	xv.	 ANNA BANCROFT, b. May 05, 1663; d. March 16, 1773, Westfield, MA; m. (1) JAMES SEXTEN; m. (2) THOMAS GILBERT.
	xvi.	 JULIA BANCROFT, b. July 30, 1666, Enfield, CT; d. July 30, 1666, Springfield, MA.
	xvii.	 SARAH BANCROFT, 165719, b. March 14, 1657/58, Reading Middlesex, MA; d. June 19, 1661, Reading Middlesex, MA.


xviii.NATHANIEL7 BANCROFT, 1683, b. October 24, 1683, Enfield, Hartford, CT; d. August 26, 1764, Granville, MA.

	xix.	 RUTH BANCROFT, 1670, b. August 29, 1670, Westfield ,Hartford, CT; d. 1714, Hartford, CT; m. JOHN STILES, Westfield, MA.  Notes for RUTH BANCROFT, 1670:  Ruth and John had 13 children. They had 2 sets of twins. She died in childbirth. 
	xx.	 REBECCA BANCROFT20, b. February 03, 1679/80, Springfield, MA; d. December 31, 1725, Suffield, CT; m. SAMUEL GILBERT, January 22, 1701/02, Suffield, CT21; b. Suffield, CT.


  • Thomas Bancroft
  • Birth: Dec. 14, 1626 Derbyshire, England
  • Death: 1684 Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts, USA
  • According to Springfield records Thomas arrived in Springfield 1653, resided in Springfield 31 years until his death in 1684.
  • Thomas Bancroft
  • First Marriage December 8, 1653
  • Margaret WRIGHT
  • Father Deacon Samuel Wright
  • His wife died
  • Children with Margaret Wright
    • c1 Lidia
    • b. April 6, 1655.
    • c2 Margaret
    • b. October 16, 1656.
    • c3 Anna
    • b. September 1, 1658,
    • d. August 30, 1659.
    • c4 Thomas
    • b. January 21, 1659.
    • c5 Anna
    • b. May 5, 1663,
    • m1 Thomas GILBERT,
    • m2 James SEXTON
    • c6 Julia
    • b. ____,
    • d. July 30, 1666
    • c7 Samuel
    • b. Jan 25, 1667,
    • d. Jan 30, 1667
    • c8 Samuel
    • b. ____
  • Second Marriage at Westfield
  • Hannah
  • Children with Hannah
    • c9 Ruth
    • b. August 29, 1670
    • m. ____ STILES.
    • c10 Rebecca
    • b. February 23, 1680,
    • m. Samuel GILLETT.
  • Bancroft in his will, made in 1684, mentions Nathaniel who is not included in the above, who married Ruth HALE.
  • Family links:
  • Parents:
  • John Bancroft (1592 - 1637)
  • Jane Bonython Bancroft (1601 - 1644)
  • Spouses:
  • Hannah Gardner Barber (____ - 1711)*
  • Margaret Wright Bancroft (1633 - 1699)*
  • Sibling:
  • Thomas Bancroft (1626 - 1684)
  • Anna Bancroft Griffin (1627 - ____)*
  • Burial: Springfield Cemetery, Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Plot: Willow Avenue 2-97
  • Find A Grave Memorial# 112539557
  • From:


  • WRIGHT, Margaret
  • b. 1634 Springfield, Hampden, Mass.
  • d. 17 DEC 1699 Westfield, Hampden, Mass.
  • Parents:
  • Father: WRIGHT, Samuel
  • Mother: STRATTON, Margaret
  • Family:
  • Spouse: BLISS, Thomas
  • Family:
  • Marriage: 8 DEC 1653 Springfield, Hampden, Mass.
  • Spouse: BANCROFT, Thomas
  • b. 10 FEB 1621/2 London, Middlesex, England
  • d. 14 DEC 1684 Springfield, Hampden, Mass.
  • Children:
    • BANCROFT, Margaret b. 16 AUG 1656 Enfield, Hartford, CT. d. 3 FEB 1702/3
    • BANCROFT, Thomas
    • BANCROFT, Ann
    • BANCROFT, Lydia b. 6 FEB 1664/5 Enfield, Hartford, CT.
    • BANCROFT, Samuel
    • BANCROFT, Ruth
    • BANCROFT, Rebecca
    • BANCROFT, Nathaniel
  • From:


  • Lieut Thomas Bancroft, Sr
  • Birth: Feb. 10, 1622 London, England
  • Death: Aug. 19, 1691 Lynnfield, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Son of John and Anne Bancroft.
  • Married (1) Alice (Bacon) Bancroft on March 31, 1647 in Dedham, Norfolk, MA.
  • Married (2) Elizabeth (Metcalf) Bancroft on Sept. 15, 1648 in Dedham, Norfolk, MA.
  • Source
  • Source
  • Forum posting
  • Source
  • Family links:
  • Spouse:
  • Elizabeth Metcalf Bancroft (1626 - 1711)*
  • Children:
    • Thomas Bancroft (1649 - 1718)*
  • Inscription:
  • Here Lyes the body of Lt. Thomas Bancroft, age 69 y died 8/19/1691
  • Burial: Old Burying Ground, Wakefield, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Find A Grave Memorial# 28463456
  • From:



  • METCALF, Elizabeth
  • b. ABT 1626 England
  • d. 11 MAY 1711 Reading, Middlesex, Mass.
  • Family:
  • Marriage: 1648
  • Spouse: BANCROFT, Thomas
  • b. 1622 England
  • d. 1691
  • Children:
    • BANCROFT, Thomas
    • BANCROFT, Elizabeth
    • BANCROFT, John
    • BANCROFT, Sarah b. 14 MAR 1657/8 Reading, Middlesex, Mass. d. 19 JUL 1661 Reading, Middlesex, Mass.
    • BANCROFT, Raham b. 27 JUN 1662 Reading, Middlesex, Mass. d. 19 MAY 1683
    • BANCROFT, Sarah
    • BANCROFT, Ebenezer
    • BANCROFT, Mary b. 1670 Reading, Middlesex, Mass. d. 1691
  • From:


  • Herbert Clarence Burleigh fonds - Family files series - Metcalfe (ii)
  • Pg.3
  • .... etc.
  • Michael Metcalf's wife, Sarah Ellwyn, was born, our old records in this country say, "June 17, 1593, in the adjoining town of Waynham. The adjoining town is Rayn-
  • Pg.4
  • ham, with parishes East, West and South Raynham. And there has been quite a controversy over the name. The registers of all have been searched for the record of Sarah Ellwyn' s birth and marriage. But further investigation has shown that Sarah Ellwyn was born at "Heigham," the daughter of Thomas and Elisabeth Ellwyn. Thomas Ellwyn was born in 1564 and died in 1648. Sarah Ellwyn was born in Heigham June 17, 1595 and was married to Michael Metcalf Oct. 15, 1616. Their seven oldest children were born and baptized in St. Benedict's, Norwich, Norfolk co., and the four younger children at St. Edmondsbury.
  • Michael Metcalf, son of Rev. Leonard Metcalf, Rector of Tatterford, was born at Tatterford, co. Norfolk, Eng., June 17, 1587.
  • Sarah Ellwyn, daughter of Thomas and Elisabeth Ellwyn, was born at Hingham, co. Norfolk, Eng., June 17, 1593.
  • They were married at Hingham Oct. 13, 1616. They sailed for New England April 15, 1637.
  • Their children were:
    • 1. .... etc.
    • 6. Elisabeth, born Oct. 4, 1626; married Sept. 15, 1648 Thomas Bancroft, of Reading.
    • 7. .... etc.


The link above Thomas, to John & Jane resulted from a wild bit of luck.

From Harvey Bancroft I traced the Bancroft line upward using primarily the Utzinger database on Rootsweb.

I'd stumbled upon it and traced the Bancroft line just because I found it interesting.

The glimpses into life of early colonists plus the spacial relationships that became apparent as the various events appeared in the Google Earth database I have running on the side made it addictive. They settlers spent generations clinging to the edge of a continent of wilderness.

The sources Utzinger gives for William are:

Title: Notable Kin, Volume I, Gary Boyd Roberts, 1998

Page: 192:2

Title: New England Historical & Genealogical Register


Media: Book

Page: 94:215, 137:239

That line stops with Thomas

And gives this information:

Birth about 1625 in England

Death 19 Aug 1691 in Lynn MA

I am certain that the place and date of death is wrong, based on the evidence below.

Feeling mildly disappointed that I wasn't going to get to see where in England they came from, I did a couple of searches.

Up came the Clayton database on Rootsweb.

It had a William who died in MA at around the right time, and his parents, John and Jane, but it didn't follow the line down from William. And the other information wasn't a perfect match.

John and Jane had 3 sons they named Thomas, one of whom stayed in England and one of whom is listed as dying in Enfield Conneticut, and one in Springfield MA. That one it says was buried in Wakefield MA (which is adjacent to Reading, where all the later members of the Harvey Bancroft line lived). It also contained the original church serving the community. Shipping a body all the way from Springfield in those days shows great determination.

It turns out that the William we want was part of a group that settled in Lynn, didn't like it and, so founded Wakefield/Reading further inland.

This history from the still extant church's website seems to explain everything. . Thomas Bancroft was a member of the parish in 1648

"England, in the 1620's during the reign of Charles I, was feeling the unease that was a prelude to the revolution, eventually resulting in Cromwell victory. For the stewart yeoman of many a British town, the unrest in the government and the pressure of religious persecution became intolerable. To this discontent the rosy claim of such astute gamblers in the American Dream as the London Company and the Plimouth Company sounded a siren call.

Independent young family men of standing and some substance in their communities answered this summons, and sought peace, freedom of worship and the gold at the end of the rainbow in the new world.

John Endicott, a staunch Puritan, sailing on the "Abigail" with a party of about fifty, established the Salem settlements of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1628. Lynn was settled the next year.

In 1639, some of the Lynn settlers expressed dissatisfaction with the coastal lands allotted them and requested permission to settle further inland. A grant of land was recorded in 1639 to these Lynn families, "extending six miles to the west to Reddings two ponds." The court, in granting land to the Lynn petitioners, did it "on condition that they shall within two years make some good proceedings in planting so it may be a village fit to contain a convenient number of inhabitants which in due time may have a church there." This expression of intent to have a church (1639) is the first recorded thought of a church or meetinghouse in this locality. After the data of this grant, a number of families from Saugus and from England joined the original petitioners and settled nearby.

On November 5th, 1644, forty-one (41) men and women organized a church and the same year erected a meetinghouse. The names of the persons who organized it are not among existing records, but four years later forty members were recorded as brothers and sisters of the "Church of Redding", now First Parish.

In 1686 a payment was rendered and a deed recorded to several Indian owners of the tract comprising the Lynn and Redding settlements in the amount of 10 pounds and 16 shillings. One of the signers was James Quonophit, a member of John Elliots praying band and for whom Lake Quannapowitt is named. Samuel K. Hamilton, in a commemorative address in 1919, commented "It is pleasant to know that this Parish holds the land on which this building stands by right of purchase from its lawful owners."

The following is the earliest known list of First Parish members compiled in 1648, four years after the church was established. There well could be others who came earlier and left before 1648. The date after the name indicates the time of arrival in "Redding" as listed in Eatons History of Reading and Wakefield.

Francis Smith, 1647

Mrs. Frances Smith Green, 1645, widow of first minister

Deacon William Cowdrey and wife Joanna, 1642

John Pearson and wife Maudlin (one of earliest settlers)

Brother Dunton, 1647, probably Robert was selectman

George Davis, prior to 1648

Deacon Thomas Kendall and Rebecca, an original settler

Deacon Thomas Parker and Amy, prior to 1644

William Hooper, very early settler

Mary Swain, wife of Jeremiah, very early settlers

Joan Marshall, wife of Thomas Marshall, arrived before 1648

Sister Martin, no records

Thomas Hartshorne and wife Susanna, prior to 1648

Edward Taylor and wife, no record of arrival

Lieutenant Thomas Marshall, before 1648

Elizabeth Wiley, wife of John, one of the earliest settlers

Elizabeth Hart, wife of Isaac, 1647

Lidia Larkin, no records

Eliza Hooper, no records

Deacon Zachery Fitch and wife Mary, 1644

William Eaton and wife Martha, probably prior to 1648

John Batchelder and Rebecca, prior to 1651

William Martin, one of earliest settlers

Lieutenant Thomas Bancroft, prior to 1648

Jonas Eaton and Grace, prior to 1644

Judith Pool, no records

Abigail Damon, wife of Deacon John Damon, arrived early

Lieutenant John Smith and wife Catherine, prior to 1648

The First Meetinghouse

The church in Redding was "gathered" in 1644, and this log meetinghouse was built the same year. It was located at the northerly corner of Main and Albion Streets.

The first meetinghouse, erected near the northerly corner of Main and Albion Streets, was constructed of logs and was probably the joint work of the pioneer settlers, as there is no record of costs. This building was used until 1689, with the help of a gallery added in 1657.


The Second Meetinghouse

From 1658 to 1679, there was agitation over the need of a new meetinghouse. In 1688 a subscription from 108 subscribers, 72 from Redding, 26 from Linn End (Lynnfield), and 10 from Charlestown (now Stoneham), amounted to 207 pounds, 1 shilling. The probable cost of this second Meetinghouse was between $400 and $600.

The town voted that this meetinghouse should be "set up" at Hart's Corner or thereabouts. This is what is now the corner of Common and Church Streets, but the building was actually erected near the location of the burying ground. It was a square house with a hip roof and a small tower. A painting of it by Franklin Poole (from another painting) still exists. This second meetinghouse served the Parish for eighty years. The first meetinghouse was sold in 1629 for 25 shillings and was used as a "watch house" (police station).

From the settlement of the town to about 1713 the public provision for the erection of maintenance of a meetinghouse and the support of preaching the Gospel was paid for by all the voters of the town. Recognizing the injustice of requiring those who had no interest in religious instruction to share the expense, the people of the church adopted the English practice of having all Ecclesiastical affairs managed seperately from civil affairs by a body called "The Parish", a vogue in England for more than a thousand years.

Our Parish was not incorporated until the 1769-1770 session of the General Court, but many years before then the Parish had taken over from the town the responsibility of maintaining the Meetinghouse and supporting the minister.

The Third Meetinghouse

In June 1768, the Parish (not the town), voted to build a new meetinghouse with a steeple and a porch. This building was erected that same year, facing west. Some of the local stone used for the foundation of this third meetinghouse has been retained in all later structures. The handsome steeple end was adorned with a gilded weathercock. The great gale of 1815 blew down the steeple, which was later replaced with a dome, less beautiful, but considered safer. The building was the property of the Parish, and the pews were sold at an appraisal of "100 pounds, old tenner", except for number 1, which was set aside for the minister's family. The numbers on the pew doors showed the financial standing of the pew holder. Pews sold from 100 pounds to a bit more than 5 pounds, and the title to them would descend, on the death of the owner, as title, as any real property would do. A row of horse sheds was attached to this Meetinghouse, reflecting the presence of church members living at a distance.


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Lt. Thomas Bancroft's Timeline

February 10, 1621
Derbyshire, England, United Kingdom
Age 10
London to Lynn with parents
Age 10
From England on the "James" to New England
January 11, 1648
Dedham, Norfolk, MA
July 14, 1649
Dedham, Norfolk County, Massachusetts
November 3, 1650
Dedham, Norfolk, Massachusetts, USA
November 4, 1650
Dedham, Norfolk, Massachusetts, USA
December 7, 1653
Reading, Middlesex County, Massachusetts