Samuel Desborough, Esq.

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Samuel Desborough (Disbrowe), Esq.

Also Known As: "Samuel Disbrow"
Birthdate: (71)
Birthplace: Eltisley, Cambridgeshire , England
Death: December 10, 1690 (71)
Elsworth, Cambridgeshire, England
Place of Burial: Elsworth, Cambridgeshire , England, UK
Immediate Family:

Son of James Disbrowe and Elizabeth Hatley
Husband of Dorothy Desborough and Rose Disbrowe
Father of Sarah Milles and Dr. James Disbrowe
Brother of Elizabeth Disbrowe; James Disbrowe; Sarah Disbrowe; Major-General John Desborough; Rebecca Disbrowe and 8 others

Occupation: MP; First Magistrate of Guilford, CT; Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Samuel Desborough, Esq.

Samuel Desborough

  • Birth: November 1619 - Eltisley, Cambridgeshire, England
  • Death: 10 December 1690 - Eltisley, Cambridgeshire, England
  • Parents: James Desborough of Eltisley, Cambridgeshire; Elizabeth Hatley of Over
  • Married: Dorothy Whitfield; Rose Hobson, widow of Samuel Penoyer
  • Children: Sarah, James

From Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 14, Desborough, John by Gordon Goodwin

Samuel Desborough was obliged to retire to America on account of his religion. He arrived at New Haven in 1639, and became one of the early settlers of Guilford, Connecticut, in 1641.

Returning home in the autumn of 1650 he sought employment under the Commonwealth (Savage, Genealog. Dict. ii. 41–2). In 1652 he was acting as a commissioner at Leith (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1651–2, pp. 281, 328, 1652–3, p. 221). On 4 May 1655 he was appointed by Cromwell one of the nine commissioners for Scotland (ib. 1655, pp. 108, 152), and keeper of the great seal of Scotland on 16 Sept. 1657 (Egerton MS. 2519, f. 17), an office in which he was continued by Richard Cromwell.

He represented Midlothian in the parliament of 1656 (Thurloe, v. 295, 366), and Edinburgh in that of 1658–9 (ib. vii. 584). Upon the prospect of the Restoration he prudently embraced the declaration of Breda, and signed his submission, in the presence of Monck, on 21 May 1660. He obtained a full pardon, with restitution of goods and lands, on the following 12 Dec. (Egerton MS. 2519, ff. 32, 34). After this he retired to his seat at Elsworth, Cambridgeshire, which, with the manor and rectory, he had purchased in 1656 (Lysons, Mag. Brit. vol. ii. pt. i., Cambridgeshire, p. 183). He died there on 10 Dec. 1690 (Will reg. in P. C. C. 66, Vere).

He was twice married: first, to Dorothy, daughter of Henry Whitfield of Ockley, Surrey, the first minister of Guilford (Savage, iv. 517). By her, who died in 1654, he had a daughter Sarah, born in March 1649, and a son James, a doctor of medicine (Munk, Coll. of Phys. 1878, i. 477; Lysons, Environs, ii. 499). The son married, on 9 March 1678–9, Abigail, daughter of John Marsh of St. Albans, Hertfordshire (Chester, Marriage Licenses, ed. Foster, 4941), and had a daughter Elizabeth, who became the wife of Matthew Holworthy, only son of Sir Matthew Holworthy, knight, of Great Palgrave, Norfolk. He died at his house in Stepney Causeway about the same time as his father, for his will, dated on 26 Nov. 1690, was proved on 14 Jan. 1690–1 (Reg. in P. C. C. 4, Vere).

Desborough married for the second time in 1655 Rose Hobson, who had previously been married, first to a Mr. Lacey, and secondly to Samuel Penoyer, merchant and citizen of London. She died on 4 March 1698–9, aged 82 (Will reg. in P. C. C. 58, Pett).


NEHGR, 41:360, is a pedigree chart of the family of Samuel Desborough/Disbrowe and his wife Dorothy Whitfield, a daughter of the Rev. Henry Whitfield, who lived for a time in Guilford, Connecticut. By his wife Dorothy, Samuel Desborough is shown only to have had a son, James, of Stepney, Middlesex. James is shown with a daughter Elizabeth. I believe this Elizabeth Desborough married a Mr. Holworthy; and I thinkI read someplace, or saw it implied, that she died without issue.

But reading through Samuel Desborough's 1680 will (NEHGR, 41:355-56 [PCC Vere 66]), I see that he gives "my three grand children, Christopher, Samuel & James Mills, twenty pounds apiece." He also says that, "I would have my son give my son Mills and my grand children mourning." The 1698 will of Samuel Desborough's second wife, Rose--by whom he had no issue--mentions: "my son Christopher Mills Esq. and his lady," and "my grandson Samuel Mills Esq. and his lady"

"Samuel Desborough, the first magistrate of Guilford, Connecticut, returned to England and became, under Cromwell, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland. His brother John had married Cromwell’s sister Jane.(footnote 13)"

  • Footnote 13 in The new Oxford DNB states that Samuel married Dorothy, daughter of Henry Whitfield of Ockley, Surrey. They had one daughter, Sarah, who was born in March  1649. They had a son, James, who married Abigail Marsh of St Albans, Hertfordshire on 9 March 1679. Samuel's first wife died of smallpox in  1654. In 1655 he married Rose, widow of Samuel Penoyer, a merchant of  London.

From The Disbrow's - Chapter 2

John Desborough, Desbrough, or Disbrow(e), the second son of old James, to whom the worthy Mr. Pepys refers, was a major general under Oliver Cromwell in the Great Rebellion and one of the seven major generals who, under Cromwell ruled Great Britain during the days of the Commonwealth. On June 3rd, 1636 he married Jane, sixth daughter of Robert Cromwell of Huntingdon, and sister of Oliver. Following the Restoration he passed through several adventures, including a sojourn in Jamaica and a brief visit to New England and was imprisoned in the Tower, but, after a judicial examination in 1667, he was set at liberty and appears to have been allowed to reside quietly in England for the rest of his life. He died at Hackney in 1690. ...

... by 1636, the environs of Boston had become, for some of the hardier souls, so uncomfortably overcrowded that they, with their families, were already on the move westward to the Connecticut River Valley where, in that year, they founded the settlements of Windsor, Hartford and Wethersfield. In 1638 Puritans from England came via Boston and Long Island Sound to Quinnipiac where they founded a village soon to be called New Haven. It was here in the following year that John Desborough's brother Samuel came to this country. Samuel stayed only a year or so, returning home in ample time to become as involved in Cromwell's affairs as did his more famous brother. He too became an M.P., a member of the Scottish Council of State and later Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland. Unlike John Desborough, however, he seems to have kept himself out of the Tower.

In the early 17th Century the feeling between the Crown and the Commons was running higher and higher; the Dissenters were having a very tough time indeed. John and 'Samuel were becoming powers in the move to curb the King. What was more likely than that these two powerful brothers should help some of their poorer relatives get passage to the New World where they could start life free from economic and religious compulsions.




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Samuel Desborough, Esq.'s Timeline

November 1619
Eltisley, Cambridgeshire , England
Age 29
Age 29
December 10, 1690
Age 71
Elsworth, Cambridgeshire, England
Age 70
Elsworth, Cambridgeshire , England, UK