Lease agreement on patent owned by Gorges and Mason, Kittery, 1637

Contributed by Maine Historical Society


In 1629, Englishman Ferdinando Gorges and his partner John Mason divided the Province of Maine, with Gorges taking the land east of the Piscataqua River, calling it New Somersetshire, and Mason creating the Province of New Hampshire to the south.

Richard Vines, an English colonist worked as Gorges's agent to advance settlement in Maine. In this indenture, Vines, along with agents Henry Joselin and Thomas Wannerton, leased about 100 acres to Francis Matthews. This document obligated Matthews and his descendants to pay Gorges and his heirs 2 shillings per year for rent, up to 1000 years.

English King Charles disliked the name “New Somersetshire” and decreed the land be called the “Province or County of Mayne and not by any other name or names whatsoever." Despite the decree, Somerset County continues to carry this early name.

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About This Item

  • Title: Lease agreement on patent owned by Gorges and Mason, Kittery, 1637
  • Creator: Richard Vines
  • Creation Date: 1637-10-01
  • Subject Date: 1637-10-01
  • Location: Kittery, York County, ME
  • Media: Ink on paper
  • Local Code: Coll. 420, B9 F29
  • Collection: John S. H. Fogg autograph collection
  • Object Type: Text

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Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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