Winthrop was born in Edwardstone, Suffolk, England, the son of Adam Winthrop (1548–1623) and his wife, Anne Browne. Winthrop briefly attended Trinity College, Cambridge, then studied law at Gray's Inn, and in the 1620s became a lawyer at the Court of Wards in London. Other Puritans who believed likewise obtained a royal charter for the Massachusetts Bay Company. Charles I of England was apparently unaware that the colony was to be anything other than a commercial venture to America. However, on March 4, 1629, Winthrop signed the Cambridge Agreement with his wealthier Puritan friends, essentially pledging that they would embark on the next voyage and found a new Puritan colony in New England. The colony's land was taken from Native Americans with Winthrop's excuse that the natives hadn't "subdued" the land and thus had no "civil right" to it.
1629 site of Winthrop's first home in Massachusetts, "The Great House" in City Square Park in Charlestown, Massachusetts across the Charles River from Boston
1630 Site of Winthrop's first home in Boston on State Street
Winthrop Building, site of Winthrop's final mansion house in Boston
Winthrop pledged £400 to the cause and set sail on the ship the Arbella—named after the wife of Isaac Johnson, daughter of Thomas Clinton, 3rd Earl of Lincoln. Winthrop befriended the younger Johnson (29 years old at his death) in earlier days in England, spending many days at Isaac's family home. The first Englishman in the Boston area, Blackstone, was a childhood and best friend of Isaac; they attended seminary together. Isaac's grandmother, the Lady Chatterton, was the daughter of one of the King James Bible translators, and the Johnson family owned two seminaries in England, one still used as a school to this day. Isaac Johnson's family lines can be traced to the earlier Norman Conquest of England from the Johnsons of Rouen, France, and are associated with William "the Bastard" as well as the earlier 968 conquest of southern...