Excerpt from Essex and the Lyon–The people who sailed in her to New England in 1632 and the Land to which they went by Winifred Ashwell, published in 1981 by the District Museum, Braintree, Essex, England.
The Ship Lyon
It is not know where the Lyon was built and there is no evidence to suggest that she might have been from an Essex shipyard.
It is certain that she was larger and more comfortable than the Mayflower (which as we know was unfit for another voyage, after the famous one in 1620 carrying the Pilgrim Fathers, and was broken up) and that the cost of the voyage was not a problem, as most of the passengers were able to afford such comfort as was available in those times; many indeed were people of some substance.
It is known that the captain’s name was Pierce and that the Lyon sailed from London about the 2nd of June, 1632 and arrived in Boston on Sunday, the 16th of September following
. . . after a voyage of eight weeks from Landsend, although the passengers had been aboard for twelve weeks. They had five days of east wind and fog, but no disaster. There were one hundred and twenty-three passengers of which fifty were children, all in good health . . ..
According to the records there were sixty men on the Lyon, and as fifty were children, the rest must have been wives and daughters. Many were related or became related by marriage. As an example, William Goodwin, one of the leaders of the group, was related by marriage to John White of Messing, the Olmsteads of Great Leighs and Joseph Loomis of Braintree, although the latter seems to have followed on the Susan & Ellen a year later.
It may seem a wild guess, but a very reasonabale one, that the Lyon belonged or was partly owend by the Vassel family of Eastwood, Essex. John Vassel had lived in Stepney; a merchant, a member of the Virginia Company of London, connected with the sea, and a ship owner.
Two sons, Samuel and William, had large active interests in Massachusetts, and although the date of their leaving England has not been discovered, it is certain that they did so, for their names appear in New England records.
Now, there are lions’ heads on the richly carved paneling at Cockerhurst, the famiy home at Eastwood, and also on property, which they owned in France. The lions’ head appears to be a sort of family emblem or trademark. Moreover, when John Winthrop lived in Essex he was a neighbor of the Vassels, so when planning the voyage for his wife Margaret and his family, it would be reasonable to expect that he might choose a ship belong to a friend.
Passenger list for the Lyon in 1632
William WADSWORTH of Braintree, county Essex, Cambridge
Mrs. Wadsworth, Sarah, William, Mary, John
John TALCOTT of Braintree, county Essex, Cambridge
Mrs. Dorothy, John, Mary
John COGSWELL of Halstead, county Essex, Roxbury
Robert SHELLEY of Roxbury
Mrs. Anne Shelley
John WATSON of Roxbury
William HEATH of Roxbury
Mrs. Mary, Isaac, Mary, Anna
Thomas UFFORD of Newbourne, county Suffolk, Springfield
Mrs. Isabel, John, Isabel
Isaac MORRILL of Hatfield Broadoak, Essex, Roxbury
Mrs. Morrill, Sarah, Katherine
John WITCHFIELD of London, Dorchester
Jonathan WADE of Northampton, Charlestown
John WHIPPLE of Bocking, Essex, Dorchester
John BROWNE of Plymouth
Mrs. Dorothy, Mary, John, James, William
Thomas WILLETT of Yarmouth, Norfolk, Plymouth
John TOTMAN of Roxbury
Nathaniel RICHARDS of Cambridge
William CURTIS of Nazing, county Essex, Roxbury
Mrs. Sarah, Thomas, Mary, John, Philip
Nicholas CLARK of Cambrdige
Daniel BREWER of Roxbury
Mrs. Joanna, Daniel, Anne, Joanna
John BREWER of county Sussex, Cambridge
John BENJAMIN of Heathfield, Sussex
Edward CARRINGTON of Charlestown
William GOODWIN of Bocking, county Essex, Cambridge
Mrs. Goodwin, Elizabeth
Ozias GOODWIN of Bocking, county Essex, Cambridge
Mrs. Goodwin, William
John WHITE of Cambridge
Mrs. Mary, Nathaniel, Mary
James OLMSTEAD of Fairstead, county Essex, Cambridge
Nehemiah, Nicholas, Richard, John, Rebecca
William LEWIS of Cambridge
Mrs. Felix Lewis, William
Edward ELMORE of (perhaps) London, Cambridge
Mrs. Elmore, Richard, Edward
Edward HOLMAN of Clapham, county Surrey, Plymouth
Charles GLOVER of Salem
Place by the Elms © Walt Steesy, 2007
Last Updated 31 October 2008