SeacoastNH Home

Seacoast New Hampshire
& South Coast Maine

facebook logo

facebook logo

SEE ALL SIGNED BOOKS by J. Dennis Robinson click here
Where Kittery Got Its Name

Kittery Fisherman

The name Kittery goes way back to the early 1600s. The "oldest town in Maine" was settled some time in the 1620s and was incorporated in 1647. Like almost all towns along the Piscataqua, Kittery was named by English settlers in honor of their homeland. But this town was named, not for another town, but for a manor house.




READ: Portsmouth Steals Kittery History

The honor of naming the town is sometimes given to Alexander Shapleigh who was reportedly born around 1574 at the Manor of Kittery Court in Devon, England. Kittery Court is located in the village of Kingsweare, across the river Dart from the city of Dartmouth. Dartmouth, New Hampshire, of course, and Exeter and Appledore are also local place names borrowed from the this region in the county of Devon.

In England the Shapleights were merchants and a major importer of salt from France. It was a natural step to become involved in the fishing industry in which salted fish were imported from the Atlantic coast of America.

Alexander arrived in the New World in 1635 aboard his ship BENEDICTION that he co-owned with business partner Captain Francis Champernowne, a relative of Sir Walter Scott. Like the Pepperrells of Kittery, they also set up a salt fish operation at the Isles of Shoals and exported the popular product to Europe.

Kittery Court (also called Kittery Quay) still survives and is on the list of sites to visit in Kingsweare. That also boasts a mediaeval castle. Today a car ferry runs from Kingsware to Dartmouth and the sleepy village is a popular tourist spot. Visitors can also take a steam railroad train along the scenic winding coast.

Photo credit: Images from Kittery, Ancinet and Modern, 1925 brochure

The Shapleigh Family Association (beware pop-ups)
Pictures of modern Kingswear, Devon
More pictures of Kingswear

Kingswear, Kittery Court /

Kingswear, Devon, UK

Kingswear, UK, early PC




Please visit these ad partners.

News about Portsmouth from

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 
Please update your Flash Player to view content.
Please update your Flash Player to view content.
Please update your Flash Player to view content.

Copyright ® 1996-2016 All rights reserved. Privacy Statement
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Site maintained by ad-cetera graphics