The town of Wrentham Massachusetts was incorporated in 1673. It is situated 25 miles
south of Boston and is approximately 22 sq. miles with a population of about 20.000
Early white explorers who first viewed the area were undoubtedly attracted by its
natural beauty. The Geographic location was favourable, too, it being midway between
the towns of Providence and Boston.
Indians inhabited the area much earlier and Archaeological surveys indicate that
the site was occupied about 6500 B.C. and the last group of Indians, about the dawn
of the Christian era, who settled there called it Wollomonopoag, the place of shells.
In 1638 a Rector of Wrentham, Suffolk the Rev. John Philip together with many parishioners
went to New England and no doubt many were instrumental in founding the Township
of Wrentham Massachusetts.
Here in Wrentham, Suffolk the Thurston family have visited and traced back their
family links where their ancestors are recorded in the Church and Chapel records.
Thomas Thurston, who was a member of the commission designated by the General Court,
was given the responsibility for maintaining the town records at the first meeting
of the commissioners in 1673.
In 1941 the people of Wrentham, Massachusetts wrote to the Parish of Wrentham, England
stating that they where planning to raise money to present a Station Wagon to our
country in support of the British Relief Fund. A total sum of $1060.00 was turned
over to the British Relief Fund and a Utility Van was purchased and utilized in London
during the WW2.
In 1661 New Englanders, many of who came from East Anglia, moved into the area and
a committee meeting voted to purchase land from the Indians, in keeping with the
regulations of the General Court, recognizing the validity of the Indian ownership
of the land . The area of six hundred acres to be apportioned among settlers . The
sale price of this was not clear for some years. “Philip Sachem,” later known as
King Philip of Pocomoke, agreed to the sale of the land for £24 10s. This was to
be raised by assessing each of the proprietors according to the value of his cow-commons,
the land allotted to him for his cattle. Later when some Indians who lived in Wrentham
claimed that they had not been consulted in the sale, arrangements were made to provide
them with land within the town limits as compensation for land taken. In 1669 Philip
claimed a tract of land which the colonists believed to be part of their territory.
Philip asked to meet with representatives of the town “to treat about a tract of
land of four or five miles square”. In his letter Philip asked for a Holland shirt
to wear at a meeting of the General Court in Plymouth. It gave rise to the legend,
often repeated, that the tract was purchased for a shirt.
In their petition for the incorporation, the inhabitants of Wollomonopoag asked for
their town to be called Wrentham, following the pattern of other towns in naming
their settlements after English cities and towns. Some of the settlers must have
come from Wrentham near the coast in East Suffolk. Wrentham, Massachusetts, is probably
the only town of that name in the United States and there is a town named Wrentham
in Alberta, Canada.
Wrentham in Suffolk England has for many years maintained links with Wrentham, Massachusetts
and visitors from both Townships have been received by the communities in each country.