Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore
Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Lord Baltimore
The Lord Baltimore
Governor of Newfoundland
In office
Proprietor of the Maryland colony
In office
Personal details
Born August 8, 1605(1605-08-08)
Kent, England [1]
Died November 30, 1675(1675-11-30) (aged 70)
Middlesex, England
Spouse(s) Anne Arundell
Relations Benedict Calvert, 4th Baron Baltimore (grandson)
Children Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore
Alma mater Trinity College
Occupation laywer
Religion Roman Catholic

Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, 1st Proprietor and 1st Proprietary Governor of Maryland, 9th Proprietary Governor of Newfoundland (August 8, 1605 – November 30, 1675), was an English peer who was the first proprietor of the Province of Maryland. He received the proprietorship after the death of his father, George Calvert, the 1st Lord Baltimore, for whom it was intended. Cecil Calvert (as he was known) established and managed Maryland from his home in England; as a Catholic, he continued the legacy of his father by promoting religious tolerance in the colony.

Maryland became known as a haven for Catholics in the New World, particularly important at a time of religious persecution in England. Calvert governed Maryland for forty-two years.[2] He also served as Governor of Newfoundland. He died in England on November 30, 1675, aged 70 years.


Early life and education

Cecilius Calvert, whose first name was sometimes spelled Cæcilius, or Caecilius, was born on August 8, 1605, in Kent, England to George Calvert, the 1st Lord Baltimore and Anne Mynne (or Mayne).[3] He was generally known as Cecil Calvert, and was the first of several sons of the couple. At the time, his father was under pressure for conformity, and all ten children were baptized as Anglican (Protestant).[4]

Calvert entered Trinity College at the University of Oxford in 1621. His mother died the following year. She was buried in a Protestant cemetery. [4] His father converted to Catholicism in 1625, and it is likely that his children followed him; at least his sons did.

On August 8, 1633, Calvert was admitted to Gray's Inn as a barrister.[3]

Marriage and family

He married Anne Arundell, daughter of the 1st Baron Arundell of Wardour, in 1627 or 1628. They had nine children. Of the nine, only three, including Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore, survived to adulthood.[1]

Settlement of the Maryland colony

Maryland Charter

Calvert received a charter from Charles I of England for the new colony of Maryland, named for the Queen Consort Henrietta Maria. This was shortly after the death of his father, the 1st Baron Baltimore, who had long sought the charter to found a colony in the mid-Atlantic area to serve as a refuge for English Catholics.[5] The original grant would have included the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay as far south as the Potomac River and the entirety of the eastern shore.[5] When the Crown realized that settlers from Virginia had already crossed the bay to begin settling the southern tip of the eastern shore, the grant was revised to include the eastern shore only as far south as a line drawn east from the Potomac River.[5] Once that alteration was made, the final charter was confirmed on June 20, 1632.[5]

Baltimore's fee for the charter, which was legally a rental of the land from the King, was one-fifth of all gold and silver found and the delivery of two Native American arrows to the royal castle at Windsor every Easter.[6] The charter established Maryland as a palatinate, giving Baltimore and his descendants rights nearly equal to those of an independent state, including the rights to wage war, collect taxes, and establish a colonial nobility.[7] In questions of interpretation of rights, the charter would be interpreted in favor of the proprietor.[8] Supporters in England of the Virginia colony opposed the charter, as they had little interest in having a competing colony to the north.[9] Rather than going to the colony, Baltimore stayed behind in England to deal with the political threat and sent his next younger brother Leonard in his stead. He never traveled to Maryland.[9]

While the expedition was being prepared, Baltimore was kept busy in England defending the charter from former members of the Virginia Company; they were trying to regain their charter, including the entirety of the Maryland colony, which had previously been a part of Virginia.[10] They had informally tried to thwart the founding of another colony for years, but their first formal complaint was lodged with the Lords of Foreign Plantations in July 1633.[10] The complaint claimed that Maryland had not truly been unsettled, as stated in its charter, because William Claiborne had run a trading station on Kent Island.[10] It also claimed that the charter was so broad as to constitute a violation of the liberties of the colony's citizens; at this point there were few Marylanders in residence.[11]

The Ark and The Dove

Modern reconstruction of the Dove, one of the two ships that carried settlers to plant Lord Baltimore's first settlement in Maryland in 1634.
Leonard Calvert, Lord Baltimore's younger brother and the first governor of the Maryland colony.

The first expedition consisted of two ships that had formerly belonged to Baltimore's father, The Ark and The Dove.[12] They departed Gravesend with 128 settlers on board; they were chased and forced to return by the British navy so that the settlers could take an oath of allegiance to the King as required by law. They sailed in October 1632 for the Isle of Wight to pick up more settlers.[12] There two Jesuit priests and nearly 200 more settlers boarded before the ships set out across the Atlantic.[13]

Baltimore sent detailed instructions for the governance of the colony. He directed his brothers to seek information about those who had tried to thwart the colony and to contact Claiborne to determine his intentions for the trading station on Kent Island.[14] He also emphasized the importance of religious toleration among the colonists, who numbered nearly equally Catholic and Protestant.[14] With these last instructions, the expedition crossed the Atlantic and founded the first settlement at St. Mary's in 1634 on land purchased from the native Yaocomico.[15] From England, Baltimore tried to manage the political relations with the Crown and other parts of government. William Claiborne, the trader on Kent Island, resisted the new settlement and conducted some naval skirmishes against it.[16]

Lord Baltimore attempted to stay closely involved in the governance of the colony, though he never visited it. During his long tenure, he governed through deputies, the last being his only son Charles. Calvert appointed his younger brother, Leonard Calvert (1606–1647), as the first Governor of the Province of Maryland.[17] He was the second son.[18]

Crisis during the English civil war

The enterprise took place in the context of serious unrest in England.[9] In 1629, King Charles had dissolved Parliament and governed for the next eleven years without consultation from a representative body.[9] The Church of England, led by the Star Chamber, intensified its campaign against both Puritans and Catholics.[9] The former left England for the Netherlands and then a colony in New England colony. Catholics began to see Maryland as their sole English-speaking place of refuge.[9]

Lord Baltimore, a Catholic, struggled to maintain possession of Maryland during the English Civil War by trying to convince Parliament of his loyalty; he appointed a Protestant, William Stone, as his governor. It's accepted he did this exclusively to maintain possession of the colony during the civil war, as his loyalties were with King Charles.

Religious toleration

The Maryland Toleration Act, passed in 1649.

In 1649 Maryland passed the Maryland Toleration Act, also known as the Act Concerning Religion, a law mandating religious tolerance for Trinitarian Christians only (excluding Nontrinitarian faiths). Passed on September 21, 1649 by the assembly of the Maryland colony, it was the first law establishing religious tolerance in the British North American colonies. The Calvert family sought enactment of the law to protect Catholic settlers and Nonconformist Protestants who did not conform to the established state Church of England of Britain and her colonies.

Regaining the colony

After the Battle of the Severn, Baltimore lost control of the colony for a brief period due to Puritan pressure during the rule of Oliver Cromwell. Despite that, the Assembly passed an act for religious toleration in 1649.

Baltimore regained the colony in 1657 after signing a treaty with Virginia Governor Richard Bennet. The by then primarily Protestant assembly in Maryland retained powers until April 27, 1658, when proprietorship was restored to Lord Baltimore. He ensured religious freedom and agreed to a general amnesty related to the years of political unrest. Lord Baltimore had retained his lands and powers, and avoided the deaths met by many of his Catholic contemporaries in England during this time. For Josias Fendall's loyalty during the Battle of the Severn, Baltimore appointed to succeed Stone as governor.

Governor Fendall soon had a falling out with Lord Baltimore and led a bloodless revolution in 1659. He and William Fuller reorganized Maryland's government to resemble that of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1660, the Restoration of Charles II forced Fendall into exile and restored Baltimore's proprietorship.

Baltimore's colony in Newfoundland

Lord Baltimore's family also had title to Ferryland and the Province of Avalon in Newfoundland. He administered the colony between 1629 and 1632 when he left for Maryland. In 1637, however, Sir David Kirke acquired a charter giving him title to the entire island of Newfoundland superseding the charter granted to his father, the 1st Baron. Baltimore fought against the new charter. Although in 1661, he gained official recognition of the old Charter of Avalon, he never attempted to retake the colony.


Cecilius's son and heir, Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore.

Cecilius Calvert died in Middlesex, England on November 30, 1675.[1] He was succeeded to the Baronetcy of Baltimore and to his other titles by his son and heir, Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore.

Legacy and honors


Numerous place names honor the Barons Baltimore, including the counties of Baltimore, Calvert, Cecil, Charles, and Frederick.

Cities include Baltimore City, Leonardtown, and St. Leonard. Calvert Cliffs was named in their honor. Anne Arundell's name survives in that of Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

Street names include Cecil Avenue, Calvert Street, and Charles Street in Baltimore; Calvert Street in Washington, DC, and Baltimore Street in Cumberland, Maryland.

Harford County is named for Henry Harford, the illegitimate son of Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore. Although precluded by his status from inheriting the peerage, he inherited the Lord Proprietorship, only to lose it during the American Revolution.


  • On the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland is the settlement of Calvert
  • Baltimore School is in nearby Ferryland.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Archives of Maryland (Biographical Series) Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Lord Baltimore (1605-1675) Retrieved February 2011
  2. ^ American History Website Retrieved February 2011
  3. ^ a b Richardson, Douglas (2005). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, p. 169. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company. ISBN 0-8063-1759-0.
  4. ^ a b Krugler, John D. (2004). English and Catholic: the Lords Baltimore in the Seventeenth Century. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-7963-9, p. 32.
  5. ^ a b c d Browne, Page 35
  6. ^ Browne, Pages 35-36
  7. ^ Browne, Page 36
  8. ^ Browne, Page 37
  9. ^ a b c d e f Browne, Page 39
  10. ^ a b c Browne, Page 43
  11. ^ Browne, Pages 43-44
  12. ^ a b Browne, Page 40
  13. ^ Browne, Page 45
  14. ^ a b Browne, Pages 46-57
  15. ^ Browne, Pages 59-62
  16. ^ Browne, Pages 62-64
  17. ^ "Leonard Calvert MSA SC 3520-198". Maryland State Archives. 2003-03-07. http://www.msa.md.gov/megafile/msa/speccol/sc3500/sc3520/000100/000198/html/198bio.html. 
  18. ^ Sparks, Jared (1846). The Library of American Biography: George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore. Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown. pp. 16-. http://books.google.com/books?id=RBsNAAAAIAAJ&pg=PR3&dq=Leonard+Calvert#PPA16,M1. 


Government offices
Preceded by
The 1st Lord Baltimore
Governor of Newfoundland
Succeeded by
William Hill
New title Proprietor of Maryland
Succeeded by
The 3rd Lord Baltimore
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
George Calvert
Baron Baltimore
Succeeded by
Charles Calvert

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