Lady Alice Boteler Fenwick

Lady Alice Boteler Fenwick

In 1645, shortly after giving birth to her second daughter with Colonel George Fenwick, Lady Fenwick died. Colonel Fenwick was said to be so distraught that within a couple of years he and his two young daughters, Elizabeth and Dorothy, went back to England. He lived the rest of his life in Berwick-on-the-Tweed near the Scottish border where he died in March of 1656. His monument is inscribed “A Good Man is a Public Good.” History describes Lady Fenwick as one of “great cheerfulness ” who cultivated flower, fruit and herbs for medicinal purposes, kept pet rabbits and had a “shooting gun” of her own.

Lady Fenwick’s original grave site sat alone on “Tomb Hill” on the Connecticut River riverfront, approximately “40 rods” from the water (seen in photos at right and below left). That equates to a location that would have put her grave in the parking lot area by Old Saybrook’s Vicky Duffy Pavilion across College Street from the Saybrook Point Inn. 

When it was clear that the railroad would be coming through, town citizens decided to relocate Lady Fenwick from Tomb Hill to Cypress Cemetery just up the street. When her remains were disinterred from her deep grave in 1870 and inspected by George Chapman, Robert Chapman and William Burrows, they found a disintegrated casket, but her skeleton was said to be intact (with the exception of a missing pinky joint). A lock of her hair was present and was cut into pieces and given to those attending the disinterment. Her hair, described as being auburn red, was more flaxen in color (perhaps a result of the age of the lock – it had been 225 years since her death when collected and 365 years since her death today?). The photo below right is a framed lock of her hair that is displayed at the Old Saybrook Historical Society. Her remains were laid out on a table in a home on College Street and then placed in a new coffin and carried to the 

Her disinterment and the stripping of the sand and gravel deposit hills seen on the riverfront in the left photo at left (the original fort gun mound on the river where the old Dock & Dine Restaurant formerly stood) were necessary due to the construction of railway and ferry facilities. All of those facilities have been removed, except for the last vestiges of the Connecticut Valley Railroad roundhouse and turntable that was used to turn the steam engines around for the trip back to Saybrook Junction. The turntable was originally built in 1871 and in 1994, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Old Saybrook Historical Society has possession of two locks of her hair, including one that was said to be carried around in a glass vial for years by a local historian. Historical documents indicate that Matthew Griswold and his descendants are responsible for the upkeep of the tomb. Congregational Church where Reverend S. McCall held a commemorative service prior to her reinterment in Cypress.