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John Lothropp

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John Lothropp
Born20 December 1584
Died8 November 1653
Barnstable, Massachusetts
NationalityEnglish subject
Other namesJohn Lothrop, John Lathrop
EducationQueens' College, Cambridge
Spouse(s)Hannah House, Ann Hammond
ChildrenJane, Anne, John, Barbara, Thomas, Samuel, Joseph, Benjamin, Elizabeth, Barnabas, Abigail, Bathsheba, John

Rev. John Lothropp (1584–1653) – sometimes spelled Lothrop or Lathrop – was an English Anglican clergyman, who became a Congregationalist minister and emigrant to New England. He was among the first settlers of Barnstable, Massachusetts.

Lothropp was a strong proponent of the separation of church and state. This idea eventually became the mainstream view of people in the United States of America, because of the efforts of Lothropp and others. Lothropp influenced the culture of New England, and through that, upon the rest of the country. He has had many notable descendants, including at least six US presidents, as well as many other prominent governors, government leaders, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and businesspeople.


Early life[edit]

Lothropp was born in Etton, East Riding of Yorkshire. He was baptised on 20 December 1584. He attended Queens' College, Cambridge, where he matriculated in 1601, graduated with a BA in 1605, and with an MA in 1609.[1]

Ministry and incarceration[edit]

He was ordained in the Church of England and appointed curate of Egerton, Kent. In 1623 he renounced his orders and joined the Independents. Lothropp gained prominence in 1624, when he was called to replace Reverend Henry Jacob as the pastor of the 'First Independent Church' in London, a congregation of sixty members which met at Southwark. Church historians sometimes call this church the Jacob-Lathrop-Jessey (JLJ[2]) Church, named for its first three pastors, Henry Jacob, John Lothropp and Henry Jessey.

They met in private to avoid the scrutiny of the Bishop of London, William Laud. Following the group's discovery on 22 April 1632 by officers of the king, forty-two of Lothropp's Independents were arrested; only eighteen escaped capture. The arrested were prosecuted for failure to take the Oath of Supremacy. Evidence gleaned by the historians Burrage and Kiffin and from the Jessey records indicate many were jailed in the Clink prison. As for Lothropp, the question is unresolved. English historian Samuel Rawson Gardiner, whose book Reports of Cases in the Courts of Star Chamber and High Commission, gives an account of the courtroom trial and cites information from the trial record that the convicted dissenters were to be divided up and sent to various prisons. Historian E. B. Huntington suggests Lothropp was incarcerated in either the Clink or Newgate Prison.[3] Further, it may be that Lothropp actually served time in both prisons since it was customary to move prisoners from one prison to another due to space availability. In the end, the precise location of Lothropp's imprisonment is not confirmable from primary documentation.

While Lothropp was in prison, his wife Hannah House became ill and died. His six surviving children were, according to tradition, left to fend for themselves begging for bread on the streets of London. Friends, being unable to care for his children, brought them to the Bishop who had charge of Lothropp. After about a year, all were released on bail except Lothropp, who was deemed too dangerous to be set at liberty. The Bishop ultimately released him on bond in May 1634 with the understanding that he would immediately remove to the New World. Since he did not immediately leave for the New World, a court order was subsequently put out for him. Family tradition and other historical reflections indicate he then "escaped."


Lothropp was told that he would be pardoned upon acceptance of terms to leave England permanently with his family along with as many of his congregation members as he could take who would not accept the authority of the Church of England. Lathropp accepted the terms of the offer and left for Plymouth, Massachusetts. With his group, he sailed on the Griffin and arrived in Boston on 18 September 1634.[4] The record found on page 71 of Governor Winthrop's Journal, quotes John Lothropp, a freeman, rejoicing in finding a "church without a bishop ... and a state without a king." John Lothropp married Ann (surname unknown) (1616–1687).[5]

Lothropp did not stay in Boston long. Within days, he and his group relocated to Scituate where they "joined in covenaunt together" along with nine others who preceded them to form the "church of Christ collected att Scituate."[6] The Congregation at Scituate was not a success. Dissent on the issue of baptism as well as other unspecified grievances and the lack of good grazing land and fodder for their cattle caused the church in Scituate to split in 1638.

Lothropp petitioned Governor Thomas Prence in Plymouth for a "place for the transplanting of us, to the end that God might have more glory and wee more comfort."[7] Thus as Otis says "Mr. Lothropp and a large company arrived in Barnstable, 11 October 1639 O.S., bringing with them the crops which they had raised in Scituate."[7] There, within three years they had built homes for all the families and then Lothropp began construction on a larger, sturdier meeting house adjacent to Coggin's (or Cooper's) Pond, which was completed in 1644. This building, now part of the Sturgis Library in Barnstable, Massachusetts is one of John Lothropp's original homes and meeting houses, and is now also the oldest building housing a public library in the USA.


Coat of Arms of John Lathropp


Lothropp married Hannah House/Howse in England, on 10 October 1610. They had eight children:[5]

  1. Thomas Lothropp, baptised 21 February 1612/3 in Eastwell, Kent, England, by his grandfather Rev. John Howse, parson there. Record from Bishop's Transcript records at Canterbury.
  2. Jane Lothropp, baptised 29 September 1614 in Egerton, Kent, England; married Mayflower passenger Samuel Fuller (1608–1683), son of Mayflower passenger Edward Fuller (1575–1621).
  3. Anne Lothropp, baptised 12 May 1616 in Egerton, England; buried in Egerton 30 April 1617.
  4. John Lothropp, baptised 22 February 1617/8 in Egerton, England
  5. Barbara Lothropp, baptised 31 October 1619 in Egerton, England
  6. Samuel Lothropp, born about 1621 in Egerton, England
  7. Captain Joseph Lothropp, baptised 11 April 1624 in Eastwell, Kent, England
  8. Benjamin Lothropp, born December 1626 in Eastwell, Kent, England

After Hannah's death, Lothropp married again, to Ann Hammond in 1635. They had five children:[5]

  1. Barnabas Lothropp, baptised 6 June 1636 in Scituate, Massachusetts
  2. Unnamed daughter, buried 30 July 1638.
  3. Abigail Lothropp, baptised 2 November 1639 in Barnstable, Massachusetts
  4. Bathsheba Lothropp, baptised 27 February 1641/42 in Barnstable, MA
  5. Elizabeth Lothropp, born about 1643
  6. Captain John Lothropp, baptised 18 May 1645 in Barnstable, MA
  7. Unnamed son, buried 25 January 1649/50 in Barnstable. Died immediately after birth.


Lothropp's direct descendants in America and elsewhere number more than 80,000,[citation needed] including:

Family tree[edit]

Family tree
Hannah HouseJohn LothroppAnn Hammond

See also[edit]


  • Huntington, Rev E. B., A.M. "A Genealogical Memoir of the Lo-Lathrop Family in this country embracing as far as known the descendants of The Rev. John Lothropp of Scituate and Barnstable, Mass., and Mark Lothrop of Salem and Bridgewater, Mass. the first generation of descendants of other names." ; Ridgefield Ct. 1884.
  • Price, Richard. John Lothropp: "A Puritan Biography And Genealogy". Salt Lake City, Utah, 1984.
  • Otis, Amos. "Genealogical Notes of Barnstable Families". 1888.
  • Holt, Helene Exiled : the story of John Lathrop, 1584–1653, a biographical novel 1987


  1. ^ "Loothrop, John (LTRP606J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ McBeth, Leon (1987). The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness. Broadman. pp. 42–43. ISBN 0-8054-6569-3.
  3. ^ A plaque in the Lothrop Hill Cemetery in Barnstable, Massachusetts, the town which John Lothropp settled and where he died, states he was incarcerated in Newgate Prison during the years 1632–1634. The National Archives at London which would hold the records for Newgate Prison indicate they have nothing earlier than 1770. The lack of documentation is attributable to the Great Fire of London (1666), the Gordon Riots (1780), and the fact that upon the abolition of the Star Chamber in 1641, the court proceedings of the reign of Charles I deteriorated and failed to survive. A report to the Lords in 1719 noted that those documents were "in a very great heap, undigested, and without any covering from dust or security from rats and mice. "As for records of the Clink, the National Archives indicates they would be held at the London Metropolitan Archives, but those records start from 1690. The National Archives states that records from these earlier times are also not complete due to the fact that they were not created or kept for research purposes, but for use by the government or law courts of the day.
  4. ^ The State Papers in the new Record Office, Fetter Lane, London, preserved some of the Star Chamber records of John Lothropp's imprisoned days. The last record probably was the order of the court which opened the way for his escape to America. However, according to the National Archives, this office has not been in use since the 1860s and State Papers are now held at the National Archives.
  5. ^ a b c Great Migration 1634–1635, I-L. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008.) Originally published as: The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634–1635, Volume IV, I-L, by Robert Charles Anderson. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2005. John Lothrop pages 345–351
  6. ^ Huntington, 1884 p27
  7. ^ a b Otis, 1888 p198
  8. ^ KEITH W. PERKINS (21 March 2014). "Rev. John Lathrop". familysearch.org. Family Search. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  9. ^ The Progenitors and Descendants of James P. Edwards Baptist Missionary and Western Pioneer by Harry K. Windland, copyright 1996
  10. ^ Hollick, Martin E. (2008). "Notable Kin: The New England Ancestry of Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard's 28th President". NewEnglandAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society. Archived from the original on 28 December 2010. Retrieved 21 April 2010.
  11. ^ The Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records: Stafford 1719–1850, Tolland 1715–1850

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