Michael Wigglesworth was born October 18, 1631 in Wrawby, Lincolnshire. His father was Edward Wigglesworth, born 1603 in Scotton, Lincolnshire, and his mother was Ester Middlebrook of Wrawby (born in Batley), who married on October 27, 1629 in Wrawby. The family moved to New England in 1638. They originally lived in Charlestown, Massachusetts, then soon moved to New Haven, Connecticut. When Wigglesworth was ten years old his father became bed-ridden, forcing him to leave school to help maintain the family farm.
He graduated from Harvard in 1651 and taught there as a tutor until 1654, sometimes preaching in Charlestown and Malden, Massachusetts. He became a minister in Malden in 1654 but not actually ordained until 1656.