Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr

Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr
Lord De La Warr.
Arrival of De La Warr at Jamestown

Thomas West, 3rd and 12th Baron De La Warr (9 July 1577 – 7 June 1618) was the Englishman after whom the bay, the river, and, consequently, an American Indian people and U.S. state, all later called "Delaware", were named.

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, and his wife, Anne daughter of Sir Francis Knollys and Catherine Carey.


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.[1] He succeeded his father as Baron De La Warr, in 1602, and became a member of the Privy Council.[2]

After the Powhatans killed the colony's Council President, Lord Ratcliffe, and attacked the colony in the first 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 English campaigns against the Irish, De La Warr employed "Irish tactics" against the Indians: 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.[1]

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. [3]

He married at St Dunstan-in-the-West on 25 November 1596 Cecily Shirley, who died in 1662, daughter of Sir Thomas Shirley of Wiston, Sussex, and had Henry West, 4th Baron De La Warr.After his first wife died lord West lived for 10 years and then commited suicide in his 2 story mansion.


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


  1. ^ a b Stephen, Leslie (1899). Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. LX, pp. 344-45. New York: The Macmillan Company.
  2. ^ Fiske, John (1897). Old Virginia and Her Neighbours, Vol. I, pp. 146-47. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company.
  3. ^,0,6921190.story?coll=va-news

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