"the chances of a popular election had caused this former ruler to descend a step or two from the highest rank"
The Elopement (1764)
Public DomainThe Elopement (1764) - Credit: John Collett

In the 1642 election, after just one year of power, Bellingham lost his place to his rival John Winthrop. His fall from office was no doubt precipitated by the fact that he was the subject of a local scandal: he had recently taken a rather unedifying starring role as one third of a love triangle. A friend of his who was lodging in his house at the time had been seeing 20-year-old Penelope Penham whom he hoped to marry. She and Bellingham, 30 years her senior, fell in love, and the smitten governor misused his ministerial powers to preside over their hastily-arranged marriage before the banns could be published. When the matter came before the court, Bellingham refused to step down from the bench to face his fellow magistrates, leading to an embarrassing impasse.

After his ousting, he returned to his previous position as an assistant to the council, providing advice to his successor and serving as a judicial authority.