Sir Francis Wyatt, first English Royal Governor of Virginia

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Francis Wyatt, Knight

Birthplace: Boxley Parish, near, Maidstone, Kent, England
Death: before August 24, 1644
Boxley Parish, near, Maidstone, Kent , England
Place of Burial: Boxley, Kent, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir George Wyatt, of Boxley Abbey and Jane Wyatt
Husband of Margaret Wyatt
Father of Henry Wyatt; Elizabeth Garlington [Wyatt]; Francis Wyatt; Edwin Wyatt; Frances Wyatt and 5 others
Brother of Eleanor Wyatt; Anne Twisden; Rev. Hawte Wyatt; Margaret Wyatt; Henry Wyatt and 5 others

Occupation: Twice Governor of the Virginia Colony (1621-1625; 1639-1642)
Managed by: Charles W Lewis, II
Last Updated:

About Sir Francis Wyatt, first English Royal Governor of Virginia

When Sir Francis Wyatt arrived in Jamestown in October 1621 on "The George," he brought with him a new constitution for the Colony. This famous ordinance furnished the model of every subsequent form of Anglo-American government.

Sir Francis Wyatt (1588–1644) was the first English royal governor of Virginia. He sailed for America on August 1, 1621 on board the George. He became governor shortly after his arrival in October, taking with him the first written constitution for an English colony. In 1622 he rallied the defense of Jamestown which was attacked by Native Americans, during which the lives of some 400 settlers were lost and he then oversaw the contraction of the colony from scattered outposts into a defensive core.[1]

Wyatt was from Boxley Manor in Kent and attended St Mary Hall, Oxford, (from July 1, 1603) and Grey's Inn (1604). He was knighted July 7, 1618 at Windsor.[2]

Wyatt was governor of Virginia from November 1621. Virginia became a royal colony in 1624, but Sir Francis, at the request of the crown, remained on as governor until September 18, 1625, when Sir George Yeardley, whom he had succeeded, resumed the office. In 1624, Wyatt resided in Jamestown with his wife, his brother Haute, and seventeen servants. In 1625, he received a black servant girl after a court settlement from her previous employer.[3] After leaving office, he left Virginia for the Ireland and England to settle his father's estate. He was appointed governor again in 1639, sailing from England to take up his post. He served from November 1639 until February 1641 and was then succeeded by Sir William Berkeley. He arranged the purchase of the home of the previous governor to use as the first designated "state house" of the colony, the government previously having met in the church.[4]

Wyatt returned to England after his second term as governor and died in Boxley. He was buried there on August 24, 1644.

Sir Francis Wyatt organized the General Assembly which had been called in 1619. This was the first legislative body in America. Sir Francis caused its privileges to be embodied in a written constitution, the first of its kind in the New World.


Francis Wyatt's grandfather was Thomas Wyatt the younger who had led Wyatt's rebellion trying to replace Queen Mary with Elizabeth and his great-grandfather Thomas Wyatt was briefly imprisoned in the Tower of London for his alleged relationship with Anne Boleyn.

Sir Francis's wife was named Margaret; she was the niece of George Sandys, the Treasurer of Jamestown. Francis and Margaret had children including Henry and Francis who was at King's College, Cambridge, 1639.

Although Sir Francis left no direct descendants in what would later become the United States of America, his brother, the Reverend Haute Wyatt who had arrived in Virginia with Francis, is considered the common ancestor to those who claim kinship to the pre-1700 Wyatt family in the Americas.


1.^ "“to quitt many of our Plantacons and to vnite more neerely together in fewer places the better for to Strengthen and Defende ourselve.", Gov. Francis Wyatt, quoted in At the Edge of the Precipice: Frontier Ventures, Jamestown’s Hinterland, and the Archaeology of 44JC802, Seth Mallios, APVA Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities July 2000

2.^ [The Virginia magazine of history and biography, Volume 3 By Virginia Historical Society, p. 177, 1895

3.^ A Study of the Africans and African Americans on Jamestown Island and at Green Spring, 1619-1803, Martha W. McCartney, 2003




Wyat, (Sir) Francis (Wiat) of Kent, arm. fil. nat. max. St. Mary Hall, matric. 1 July, 1603, aged 15; of Boxley Abbey, student of Gray's Inn 1604 (as s. George, of Boxley, Kent, esq.), governor of Virginia, knighted 7 July, 1618; buried at Boxley 24 Aug., 1644; brother of George, Hawte, and Henry, father of Henry 1638. See Foster's Gray's Inn Reg.

Birth: 1588

Kent, England

Death: 1644


Kent, England

Sir Francis Wyatt, who came to Virginia twice as Governor (1621-1629 & 1642) returned to England and died there. With the death of his son and heir, Edwin Wyatt, this line became extinct. The Virginia Wyatts legitimately succeeded, but no claim by them to the title or to the ancestral seat in England was prosecuted. Other sons of Sir Francis died in infancy, but his youngest son, Edwin, who was born in 1629, the family fame continued. Edwin Wyatt rose to distinction in the legal and professional world (as is fully described by the massive genealogical monument erected by himself in the church. He was Justice of the Peace for Kent, Sergeant-at-Law, 1684, etc. "Boxley Parish". Cave Brown (p. 183)

The village of Boxley, Kent, England, with its Allington Castle, Parish Church, St. Andrew's Cottage (a part of the old Abbey) all associated with Wyatt antecedents, is a shrine visted in recent years by several descendents of the present generation. Letters from two soldiers of the World War, Mr. Wyatt Rushton, deceased, and Mr. marion Rushton, of Montgomery, Alabama, give vivid descriptions of these historical places. In 1928 the writer made a pilgrimage to Boxley and the nearby castle. Lady Conway, wife of Sir Martin Conway, archaeologist, then owner of the property, graciously permitted a thorough inspection of the ancient structure. The Parish church pavement hold the remains of that Jamestown Minister, Sir Francis Wyatt, and Rev. Hawte Wyatt, who left issue in Virginia, as recorded in the Wyatt monumental tablet, set in the wall of the chancel.

Family links:

 George Wyatt (1550 - 1624)
 Jane Finch Wyatt (1555 - 1644)



Boxley Church Cemetery


Kent, England WYATT (Sir)1

Francis WYATT (Sir)

Born: 1588, Boxley Manor, Kent, England

Died: Aug 1644

Notes: Royal Governor of Virginia.

Father: George WYATT (Sir)

Mother: Jane FINCH

Married: Margaret SANDYS


1. Henry WYATT

2. Edwin WYATT

3. Francis WYATT

4. Richard WYATT

view all 18

Sir Francis Wyatt, first English Royal Governor of Virginia's Timeline

Allington Castle, Kent, England, United Kingdom
Maidstone, Kent, England
December 27, 1601
Age 13
Allington, Kent, England, United Kingdom
Age 30
Boxley, Kent, England
Age 31
England, United Kingdom
September 8, 1620
Age 32
Boxley, Kent, England
September 9, 1621
Age 33
Boxley, Kent, England
Age 35
Boxley, Kent, England
Age 38
Boxley, Kent, England
Age 38
Governor of Virginia, USA