John Bonython Eleanor Myleinton
St. Breage, Cornwall, England St. Breage, Cornwall, England
  William Leigh Phillippa Prest
St. Thomas by Launceston, Cornwall St. Thomas by Launceston, Cornwall
1150 Captain Richard Bonython
bp. 8 Apr 1580
St. Columb Major, Cornwall, England
York County, Maine

Lucretia Leigh

St. Thomas by Launceston, Cornwall, England
York County, Maine
Relationship Events:
  Marriage Richard Bonython to Lucretia Leigh by about 1607 in England
  John Bonython, Jr, b. say 1607
Agnes (possibly Gavrigan) in England by about 1650 Five Children: Thomas, John, Eleanore, Gavrigan, and Winifred Bonython
  Francis Bonython buried St. Breage Cornwall, 22 Jan 1609/10 (an infant).      
  Grace Bonython bp. St. Breage, Cornwall, 19 Apr 1610; no further record      
  Elizabeth Bonython bp. St. Breage, Cornwall, 20 Sep 1612
Richard Cummings in York County, Maine about 1647 Two Children: Elizabeth and Thomas Cummings
Susannah Bonython bp St. Breage, Cornwall, 5 Feb 1614/5
Richard Foxwell in York County, Maine by 1635 Eight Children: Richard, Esther, John, Lucretia, Suzannah, Philip, Mary, Sarah Foxwell
What We Know


Richard Bonython was a second son in a family that belonged to the English gentry in Cornwall. His father John had inherited the Bonython manor in the parish of Cury near Land's End, but Richard was born at his mother's family's estate in St. Columb Major on the north coast of Cornwall.

Bonython Manor in Cornwall Map


The Bonython estate in modern times has been taken over by new owners, who have renovated the original original Georgia manor and landscaped the property with beautiful gardens available to the public. The photo below is of today's estate.

Bonython Gardens

As a second son and not in line for the manor's inheritance, he trained in the military and commanded a company in the wars against France, earning himself the rank and title "Captain."

On 29 Feb 1629/30, the Council for New England granted to Richard Bonython and his partner Thomas Lewis the propietorship of Saco in what is now Maine. Lewis had visited earlier, and returned to the new land to take charge of the patent while Bonython stayed to recruit the 50 people to be sent over within seven years. It's not known exactly when he himself arrived in Saco, but his house was ready by 25 Mar 1636 when the first Court in the Province was called by William Gorges and held at the Bonython house.

On 14 Jul 1647, Captain Bonython acquired 100 acres of land in a land exchange with Dr. Robert Child for his daughter Elizabeth and son-in-law, Richard Cummings. The documents were witnessed by Elizabeth Bonython (then fiance?) and Lucretia Bonython, so we know that Lucretia accompanied her husband and their three surviving children to the New World and that she was still living in 1647.

On the 29 Jun 1654, Richard's two sons-in-law, Richard Cummings and Richard Foxwell, were plaintiffs in an action of trespass against Mr. John Bonighton, who apparently pulled down their house and laid claim to their land. We know by this action that John's father, Captain Richard Bonython had died before this date.

It appears that Captain Richard and his wife Lucretia were spared the tragedies that occurred to subsequent generations in the Indian attacks that beseiged the Maine area not long after. His son John died of injuries sustained in an attack by Indians. His grandson John, his wife, and four of their seven children were carried off by Indians and never seen again. His great grandson Nathaniel Foxwell was also killed in a battle with Indians. The families fled from Saco to the Marblehead area.

Each of the three children who accompanied their parents Richard and Lucretia to the New World married and was the ancestor of a famous or infamous person in American history.



Son John was the grandfather of Sarah Churchwell, first confessor then accuser at the Salem witchcraft trial that led to the hanging of her employer George Jacobs, Sr. in 1692.

Daughter Elizabeth Bonython and her husband Richard Cummings were the fifth great grandparents of American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.


Daughter Suzannah Bonython and her husband John Ashton were the grandparents of three young mariners captured by pirates and having different outcomes.