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Winthrop, John (1588–1649)

  1. Dietrich Gotthilf Buss

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc1471

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Buss, D. G. 2011. Winthrop, John (1588–1649). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


John Winthrop was the founding governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was born in Edwardston, Suffolk, England on January 22, 1588, one of nine children of a Puritan family. His father, Adam Winthrop, was a successful lawyer. Winthrop attended Trinity College, Cambridge where his Puritan upbringing matured into lifelong convictions. He withdrew before earning a degree to be married to Mary Forth who bore him six children. Winthrop was appointed justice of the peace at 18 and held his first court in Groton Hall. In 1626 he was appointed one of the attorneys in the Court of Ward and Liveries. This advancement brought him in contact with Parliament and writing bills for legislative committees. Mary's death after 11 years led him to three successive marriages, all as a widower.


  • Winthrop, John (1588–1649);
  • puritans, chafed under “popish” high church practices;
  • message “a modell of christian charity” (1630)