Allen was christened at Saint Andrew Parish, Droitwich, Worcestershire, England, and was the son of John Allen. His mother’s name is not known. He probably arrived in Virginia during the 1640s as an agent for tobacco merchants trading out of Bristol, in which capacity he made at least one return trip to Bristol. He also dealt with several leading London merchants, among them Micajah Perry, Phillip Perry, and Thomas Lane. By 1649 Allen had settled between Lawnes Creek and Chippokes Creek in the southern part of James City County. When that area became Surry County in 1652, Allen was appointed to the court, and by 1661 he was a member of the quorum. He also served on theof Lawnes Creek Parish.
Arthur Allen may have married twice, not once about 1650 as stated in early histories of Surry County and Bacon’s Castle; and he probably had at least seven children, not the two or three who are mentioned in some accounts of the family. His first son, Humphrey Allen, was probably born in England early in the 1630s and died in Virginia in 1666.(ca. 1652–1710) inherited Allen’s Brick House, carried on the family name, and had a long and varied political career. Allen’s four daughters all married well, with the result that some of the area’s most notable persons were descended from him. Mary Long, the wife of the Arthur Long who commanded the company of Bacon’s men who occupied Allen’s Brick House, was probably yet another of Arthur Allen’s daughters.
Allen died late in May or early in June 1669. On May 15 he sat with the county court, but by the middle of June, when the tax list was compiled, his widow, Alice Tucker Allen, was charged with the eleven tithables resident at Allen’s plantation. She later married a widower, John Hardy, of Isle of Wight County.