Marker Twofer! #103 Shapley Line and #120 Bound Rock

4 11 2009

IMG_0248 Marker Text:

Based on the 1640 southern boundary of Bachiler‘s farm, it was surveyed by Capt. Nicholas Shapley in 1657, dividing the Province of New Hampshire from the Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1689-1741. In 1662 three Quaker women, being banished from the territory, were freed south of here by Constable Walter Barefoot. Edward Gove, imprisoned in the Tower of London for leading the rebellion against Lt. Gov. Cranfield in 1683 lived nearby.

This Marker is located on US1 in Seabrook, at the corner of Rocks Road, and was erected in 1975


And the Bonus Marker:


Marker Text:

This rock, originally in the middle of the Hampton River, indicated the start of the boundary line surveyed by Capt. Nicholas Shapley and marked by him "AD 1657-HB and SH" to determine the line between Hampton and Salisbury, HB meaning Hampton Bound and SH, Shapley’s mark. Lost for many decades due to the shifting of the river’s mouth, the original course of the river and the Bound Rock were rediscovered in 1937. This historically important boulder, still serving as a boundary marker, was enclosed by the State of New Hampshire that same year.

Located on a small lot near the End of Woodstock St. At the Light south of the Hampton Harbor Bridge, turn into Hookset St, then left on Ocean Drive, and Left on Woodstock.


This pair of markers represent the settlement of a longstanding feud between the towns of Hampton and Salisbury.  As we have seen previously, the Early New Hampshire Towns were eventually ceded to Massachusetts because of the confusion over the various grants.

Once the Reverend Bachilor recieved his land grant for his farm, the good folks in nearby Salisbury (there was no Seabrook then) complained to the Massachusetts Bay Court that the land belonged to them.  The bickering and surveying went on for years, until finally, in May 1657 Capt. Shapley surveyed the border and the court settled the matter.

The westernmost end of the line was originally a very large tree that stood where the Shapley Marker now is, and was replaced by the stone you can see in the top photo.  The eastern end was marked by Bound Rock.

For many years Bound Rock was lost to the shifting coastal sands and meandering of the Hampton river.  It was re-discovered in 1937.  The town of Hampton purchased the small lot of land it was found on.  As it was found below the ground and an enclosure was built for it.

IMG_0250 November , 2009

The day I was there, looking through the grate that covers then enclosure, all that was visible was a lot of water.  From this photo, it looks as though the rock is about 20 feet below ground.

Lane Memorial Library photo


With the settling of this border spat, the borders of the first 4 towns in New Hampshire – Strawberry Banke (Portsmouth), Dover, Exeter, and Hampton – were defined.

Here is a Map I highlighted to emphasize the town boundaries.  The original is from  Stackpole’s History, Vol 1, Page 31.

shapleyClick the image for a large version.


Marker #119 Old Landing Road

2 11 2009


Marker Text:

“This was the first roadway from the ancient landing on Hampton River taken on October 14, 1638, by Rev. Stephen Bachiler and his small band of followers, when they made the first settlement of Hampton, originally named Winnacunnet Plantation. For the next 160 years this area was the center of the Town’s activity. During that period and into the Town’s third century, Landing Road provided access for fishing, salt-marsh haying, mercantile importing and exporting, and transportation needs of a prospering community.”

It’s Located east of US 1, at the corner of Park Avenue and Landing Road at Founders Park, near Winnacunnet High School. Erected in 1977.



Founders Park, Hampton. 11/01/09

The story of Rev Bachiler is an interesting one.  By the time he made it here to Hampton in 1638 he was already around 77 years old.  His story begins for us with his arrival in Massachusetts in 1632.  For details of his life before arriving here, the Lane Memorial Library, in Hampton has a terrific treasure trove of information on-line

Bachiler first settled in Lynn MA and headed a church there.  But he, like Reverend Wheelwright the Founder of Exeter, ran into trouble with with the Puritan Church in Massachusetts Bay.

In February, 1636, Bachiler moved to Ipswich, the home of John Winthrop, where he received 50 acres of land, but, apparently discouraged by his troubles at Sagus, gave up the active work of the ministry. This latter fact was mentioned in a letter of the period from a Puritan minister in England, as a result of the reign and bigoted spirit in New England, which deterred many from coming to this country.

Early in 1638, in the winter time, Bachiler tried to form a settlement near Yarmouth on Cape Cod, where his Wing grandchildren lived; and walked there from Ipswich. But, says Winthrop, "He and his company being poor men, gave it over, and others undertook it." In the spring of 1638, he removed to Newbury …

Victor Sanborn, 1898

Now there’s an old man with some good shoes! Walked from Ipswich, near Gloucester all the way to Yarmouth half way down Cape Cod.

It was in September of 1638 that Bachiler and others recieved permission for Massachusetts to establish a settlement at Winnacunnet .  “ The settlers went by shallop and begun the settlement October 14, 1638. (Stackpole, pp 47,48)

The Memorial Boulder, at Founders Park, Dedicated in 1925


Memorial Boulder, November 2009

It seems that scandal of one sort or another followed Bachiler wherever he went.  In 1641 when Massachusetts swallowed up New Hampshire he was soon booted out of the church, then let back in later.  By 1644 he had been pastor in Exeter, returned to Hampton, finally settling in Strawberry Banke. You can read all the gory charges, machinations and politicking here, here, and here.

In his mid-80s now and hoping to live out his life peacefully at Strawberry Banke, life would throw him another curve-ball by the name of Mary.  In 1647 and probably infirmed, a young woman was assigned to assist him in day to day life.  She turned out to be a gold digger that tricked him into marriage in 1648.

This woman was, of course, much younger than her deluded husband; but her original name and age are unknown. She soon passed over into the jurisdiction of Gorges’ colony, living on her land in Kittery, and used her married name as a cover for vice. In October, 1650, she was arrested on suspicion of adultery with one George Rogers, and a year later the York records show that she was convicted of the offence, and sentenced to receive forty stripes save one at the first town meeting held at Kittery, six weeks after her delivery, and be branded with the letter "A."  F. B. Sanborn – 1900

Could she have been the inspiration for Hester Prynne in Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter? The parallels are intriguing.


He petitioned for divorce, Gov. Winthrop refused. He returned to England where he died near London in 1656.

I really want to thank the Lane Memorial Library in Hampton again.  Your web site was invaluable for this and markers to come.