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Ship Recovery Voyage to Dorchester 1633/34

The Recovery sailed from Weymouth, Dorsetshire in England on March 31, 1633, headed for New England.

The ship arrived safe at Massachusetts Bay, although no arrival date has been found. The passenger list includes everyone who was supposed to be ready to board on embarkation date. This often was in advane of the actual sailing by up to several weeks. It is possible that some passengers may have left the vessel before she left port. It is also likely that some passengers died of disease or accident during the voyage.

Master Gabriel Cornish, 1633

This information was transcribed in the 19th century by James Savage, and later by Michael Tepper from records found in London, the Public Rolls Office, PRO:E190/875/8.

For each common date of record, groupings of persons in consecutive order in the roll often indicate some relation by kinship, household or town origin. Either the persons were present in person before the scribe at that time and queued up in their natural groupings to enroll, or the documents of fealty arrived to the scribe from particular sources and were registered in order as received.

Dating the Recovery's List

The date which appears on the Recovery's passenger roll, 31 March 1633, is misleading. The vessel had not left by 30 April 1633, when one of it's passengers witnessed a lease in England. 9 The subsequent voyage would have taken only two months or so; yet no reference has been found to any passengers in the New World until nearly a year and a half later.

On 1 September 1634, Mr. Thomas Newberry and Robert Elwell are both mentioned in records of colonial Dorchester.10 Two days later, three passengers (Newberry, John Hardy, and John Pope) were made freemen of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.11 Frequent mentions are made thereafter to Recovery passengers. It would seem that the clerk who entered the passenger list wrote 31 March 1633 in error for 31 March 1634. Under the Old Style dating then in effect, the year 1634 would have begun only one week earlier.

Correcting the date of the Recovery's voyage also helps to clarify two other records that have perplexed researchers.

First, Stephen Terry, another of the passengers, appears in a colonial Dorchester record 3 April 1633.12 This date can be reconciled with his appearance on the Recovery list only if the ship's roster was actually compiled on 31 March 1634; it would seem that he left the colony for England in the spring of late 1633 and returned on the Recovery the following year (early 1634).

Second, the "Recovery of London" is almost certainly the ship that Coldham places at London on 8 March 1633/34,13 a mere twenty-three days before the corrected date; and it is surely this voyage of the Recovery which is referred to in the diary of William Whiteway of old Dorchester in Dorsetshire, who wrote: "April 17, 1634, Mr. Newburgh [sic] of Marthwoodvale and many others set saile from Waimouth towards New England."14 Mr. "Newburgh" was more precisely, Mr. Thomas Newberry, whose name led the list of passengers aboard the Recovery.

Accepting the premise that the passenger list should have been dated 31 March 1634, then the ship sailed into Massachusetts Bay in late June or July 1634;15 and it was very likely one of the fourteen said to have arrived that June.16

Passengers of the Recovery,
Spring of 1633
Prename Surname Roll#
Thomas Newbery 1
Thomas Long 2
David Phippen 3
Jonathan Gillet 4
Elizabeth Parkman 5
Mary Coggen 6
Thomas Wakeley 7
Daniel Norchat 8
Joseph Androes 9
Robert Dible 10
John Pope 11
Stephen Terrey 12
Robert Elwell 13
John Wotts 14
William Bowne 15
John Hardy 16
Sarah Hill 17
John Woolcocke 18
Thomas Shawe 19
Antony Eames 20
Thomas Swift 21
George Pl----- 22
Thomas Biscomb 23
Ezechia Hore 24
John Elderman 25
John Pinny 26

Based on information from the Winthrop Society Passengers of the Recovery.