The Town of Bellingham was named for the third Governor of the colony of Massachusetts Bay, a puritan lawyer, Sir Richard Bellingham. Sir Bellingham, whose name is preserved in Hawthorne’s famous "Scarlet Letter", was born in England in 1591 and educated as a lawyer there.
Sir Richard Bellingham was one of the original twenty-six members to draw up the Massachusetts Bay Colony Charter, established in Boston by Puritan leaders for religious and political refuge. Settlers in Boston could not become citizens until they joined the church and were accepted as free men by vote.
In 1719, Bellingham was the last Town incorporated in Norfolk County. Early history and records show that the Town was once an active and flourishing manufacturing Town, producing boots, shoes and other leather goods.
Bellingham’s most significant contribution, in its 250 years of existence, was the part it played in the fight for religious liberty. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is in debt to this Town and its early settlers who hold a prominent place in the annals of history, in their fight for equality and liberty, a half century before Lexington and Concord.
The Town is eight miles long, two miles wide at its South end and three miles wide at the North end with an area of 18.55 square miles. It is surrounded by seven Massachusetts towns and Woonsocket, Rhode Island to its South end.
Today Bellingham is a vibrant community of 16,000 residents. The Town has a mix of industry, major distribution centers, as well as nearly 1,000,000 sq. ft. of retail which is located off exit 18 of Interstate 495. Thanks to the aggressive development of the 1990’s, Bellingham maintains a very modest residential tax rate and boasts some of the best services in the region.