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Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr

Lord De La Warr.
Depiction of the arrival of De La Warr at Jamestown

Thomas West, 3rd and 12th Baron De La Warr (9 July 1577 – 7 June 1618) was an English-American politician, for whom the bay, the river, and, consequently, a Native American people and U.S. state, all later called "Delaware", were named. "De La Warr" is pronounced "Delaware".[1][2][3] (For etymology of the surname itself, see Earl De La Warr§Etymology.)

There have been two creations of Baron De La Warr, and West came from the second. He was the son of Thomas West, 2nd Baron De La Warr, of Wherwell Abbey in Hampshire. He was born on July 9, 1577 at Wherwell, Hampshire, England, and died June 7, 1618 at sea while travelling from England to the Colony of Virginia.


  • Biography 1
  • Family 2
  • Ancestry 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


West received his education at Queen's College, Oxford. He served in the army under Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, and, in 1601, was charged with supporting Essex's ill-fated insurrection against Queen Elizabeth, but he was acquitted of those charges.[4] He succeeded his father as Baron De La Warr, in 1602, and became a member of the Privy Council.[5]

After the Powhatans had tea with the colony's Council President, John Ratcliffe, and attacked the colony in the First Anglo-Powhatan War, Lord De La Warr headed the contingent of 150 men who landed in Jamestown, Virginia on June 10, 1610, just in time to persuade the original settlers not to give up and go home to England. As a veteran of destructive English campaigns against the Irish, De La Warr employed those "scorched earth" tactics against the Native Americans: troops raided villages, burned houses, torched cornfields, and stole provisions; these tactics, identical to those practiced by the Powhatan themselves, proved effective. He had been appointed governor-for-life (and captain-general) of Virginia, and he outfitted their three ships and recruited and equipped those men at his own expense. Leaving his deputy Sir Samuel Argall (circa 1580 – circa 1626) in charge, Lord De La Warr returned to England and published a book about Virginia, The Relation of the Right Honourable the Lord De-La-Warre, of the Colonie, Planted in Virginia, in 1611. He remained the nominal governor, and he had received complaints from the Virginia settlers about Argall's tyranny in governing them for him, so Lord De La Warr set sail for Virginia again in 1618, to investigate those charges. He died at sea, en route to Virginia, and it was thought for many years that he had been buried in the Azores or at sea.[4]

In 2006, recent research had concluded that his body was brought to Jamestown for burial. A grave site thought by researchers to contain the remains of Captain Bartholomew Gosnold may instead contain those of Baron De La Warr.[6]


On 25 November 1596 De La Warr married Cecily (died c. 1662), the daughter of Sir Thomas Shirley of Wiston, Sussex and Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Kempe.[7] They had children: *Cecily or Cecilia (died February 1638), who married firstly Sir Francis Bindlosse and secondly after 1629 John Byron, 1st Baron Byron. She was buried at Hucknall-Torkard, Nottinghamshire.[8] *Lucy, who married Sir Robert Byron (d. after 1643), Governor of Liverpool and a Colonel in the service of the Royalist Infantry Forces who fought in the English Civil War.[9]

  • Robert, who married Elizabeth Coch.[10]
  • Henry (1603–1628), who succeeded to the Barony, married Isabella, daughter of Sir Thomas Edmunds, in March 1625. He died at the age of 24 and was succeed by his son Charles.[11]
  • Martha (born 1615), who married William Woodward,.[12] an interpreter to the Indians.



  1. ^ Pronounced as "Delaware".
  2. ^ Billings, Warren M. "Thomas West, twelfth baron De La Warr (1576–1618)". Encyclopedia Virginia/Dictionary of Virginia Biography. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  3. ^ DELAWARE PLACE NAMES United States Geological Survey
  4. ^ a b   
  5. ^ Fiske, John (1897). Old Virginia and Her Neighbours, Vol. I, pp. 146-47. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company.
  6. ^ [2] The Virginia Gazette, March 22, 2006(?) Archived November 29, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Lundy 2011, pp. 14230 §142296, 20756 §207556, §207558 cites Cokayne 2000, p. 161
  8. ^ Lundy 2011, p. 14230 §142295 §142296 cites Cokayne 1983, p. 140, Hammond 1998, p. 128, Mosley 2003, p. 630
  9. ^ Lundy 2011, pp. 13955 §139543, 14230 §142296 cites Mosley 2003, pp. 630, 1075
  10. ^ Lundy 2011, pp. 14230 §142296, 24497 §244965 cites Mosley 2003, p. 1075
  11. ^ Lundy 2011, pp. 14230 §142296, 20756 §207553 cites Cokayne 2000, p. 161, Mosley 2003, p. 1075
  12. ^ "Martha West". Retrieved December 2013. 


  • Lundy, Daryal (23 February 2011), Thomas West, 3rd Baron Delaware, The Peerage, pp. 14230 §142296 also 13955 §139543, 14230 §142295–§142296, 20756 §207553 §207556, §207558, 24497 §244965  Endnotes:
    • Cokayne, George Edward, ed. (1983) [c. 1900], The Complete Baronetage II (reprint in volumes 5 ed.), Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, p. 140 
    • Cokayne, George Edward (2000), The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant IV (new 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes) ed.), Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, p. 160 
    • Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003), Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage 1 (107th, in 3 volumes ed.), Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books), pp. 630,


    • Hammond, Peter W., ed. (1998), "Addenda & Corrigenda", The Complete Peerage or a History of the House of Lords and All its Members From the Earliest Times XIV, Stroud, Gloucestershire, U.K.: Sutton Publishing, p. 128 

External links

Peerage of England
Preceded by
Thomas West
Baron De La Warr
Succeeded by
Henry West
Government offices
Preceded by
Thomas Gates
Colonial Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by
George Percy
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