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Saybrook Colony
Coat of arms of Saybrook
Coat of arms
Map of Connecticut annotated to show its colonial history and the establishment of its modern borders
Map of Connecticut annotated to show its colonial history and the establishment of its modern borders
StatusColony of England
Common languagesEnglish
GovernmentSelf-governing colony
• 1635-1639
John Winthrop the Younger
• 1639-1644
George Fenwick
• Established
• merged with Connecticut Colony
CurrencyPound sterling
Succeeded by
Connecticut Colony

The Saybrook Colony was an English colony established in New England in late 1635 at the mouth of the Connecticut River which today is Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Saybrook was founded by John Winthrop, the Younger, son of John Winthrop the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Winthrop the Younger was designated Governor by the original settlers, including Colonel George Fenwick and Captain Lion Gardiner. They claimed possession of the land via a deed of conveyance from Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick. The colony was named in honor of Lords Saye and Brooke, prominent Parliamentarians and holders of the colony's land grants.


Early settlers of the colony were ardent supporters of Oliver Cromwell and of democracy. Settlement preparations included sending a ship with an unusual cargo of ironwork for a portcullis and drawbridges, and even an experienced military engineer. Saybrook's fort was to be the strongest in New England. However, prominent Puritans soon "found the countrie [England] full of reports of their going", and they were worried that they would not be allowed to sell their estates and board their ship. By 1638, the plans for Saybrook were abandoned. The sponsors remained in England and played their respective political and military roles in the English Civil War and its aftermath. As a consequence, the colony struggled and, by 1644, the colony merged with the more vibrant Connecticut Colony a few miles up river.

In 1647, Major John Mason assumed command of Saybrook Fort, which controlled the main trade and supply route to the upper river valley. The fort mysteriously burned to the ground, but another improved fort was quickly built nearby. He spent the next 12 years there and served as Commissioner of the United Colonies, its chief military officer, Magistrate, and peacekeeper. He was continually called upon to fairly negotiate the purchase of Indian lands, write a treaty, or arbitrate some Indian quarrel, many of which were instigated by his friend Uncas.

See also


Further reading

41°17′06″N 72°21′29″W / 41.285°N 72.358°W / 41.285; -72.358