Plymouth Council for New England
Some of the persons involved had previously received a charter in 1606 as the Plymouth Company and had founded the short-lived Popham Colony within the territory of northern Virginia (actually in present-day Maine in the United States). The company had fallen into disuse following the abandonment of the 1607 colony.
In the new 1620 charter granted by James I, the company was given rights of settlement in the area now designated as New England, which was the land previously part of the Virginia Colony north of the 40th parallel, and extending to the 48th parallel (thus including all of present day New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) Unlike the previous charter, the new charter specified colonial rights of the company "from sea to sea".
Unlike the original Plymouth Company, the Plymouth Council was more successful. The first settlement in the area owned by the council was the Plymouth Colony in present day Plymouth, Massachusetts, although the council did not inititate the Plymouth Colony.
After the success of the Plymouth settlement, much of the rest of the company's territory was given away in further grants to other colonial ventures, notably: the Massachusetts Bay Company in 1628, and the Province of Maine to Sir Ferdinando Gorges and John Mason in 1622.
The Company's first attempt at settling Maine came in 1623, when King Charles I granted 6,000 acres (24 km2) of land to Captain Christopher Levett, a member of the Council for New England, to found a settlement, the third colony in North America. King Charles also directed that Anglican churches take up offerings to support the endeavor. Levett built a house in Casco Bay, left a company of men behind and returned to England. Located at the present-site of Portland, Maine, the settlement failed, and Levett never returned to Maine, although he was on hand to greet John Winthrop when he landed in Massachusetts in 1630. (For additional information see Stephen Bachiler who was to be leader of the Province of Maine).
The Plymouth Council is not to be confused with the Plymouth Colony, which was established in 1620 on land owned by the Council and outside the territory of the London Company. The Pilgrims of the Plymouth Colony had been granted permission to settle in the Hudson River area, but practical difficulties resulted in their settlement farther north on Cape Cod Bay. The colony obtained land patents from the Council in 1621 and in 1630, but was governed independently from the Council under the Mayflower Compact.
The Council surrendered its charter to the crown in 1635 and ceased to exist as a corporate entity.