Plymouth and the Harwich Mayflower Project

The following is a guest post.

Assembly at my senior school often involved the hymn, “To Be a Pilgrim by John Bunyan, although we always sang the highly modified version by Percy Dearmer from 1906. I thought of that yesterday when I heard on the news that Plymouth, a city in Devon had been accused of high jacking, metaphorically speaking, the Pilgrim Fathers.

The Pilgrim Fathers set sail for the colonies in 1620 and sailed from the famous steps in Plymouth. It is those very steps that have yielded Plymouth quite a tourist attraction and generally speaking, where there are tourists, there is a thriving economy.

The Pilgrims were essentially escaping from religious persecution and 121 people boarded the Speedwell in Southampton to make the long and dangerous journey. The ship was then reported to be taking on water and therefore docked at Dartmouth, along the south Devon coastline. Remedial repairs complete and the ship continued its journey, only though as far as Plymouth. Here the decision was taken to sell the vessel and purchase a new one.

Having purchased the new vessel, called The Mayflower, the captain and some of the crew continued the journey and finally sailed in September 1620.

Harwich, a coastal town in Essex have declared that the initial ship and crew were from Harwich.  There is no firm proof, that the Mayflower, which was built in approximately 1590 came from Harwich, but what is known is that the majority of the Merchant fleet and The Royal Navy came from the East Anglican coast, and in 1610 the vessel was moved by her master, Christopher Jones’, whose house has been preserved.

Meanwhile, a team in Harwich, known as the Harwich Mayflower Project are building a Mayflower replica with the plans that 2 it will set sail and repeat the journey taken in 1620 in commemoration of a 400 anniversary.

You can read about the Project at the organiser’s website
Julie Goucher is a Surrey girl, transplanted in Devon, where she lives with her husband and Border terrier called Alfie. Julie has a real passion for history and genealogy, antiques and book reading just to name a few. She can be found on her blog Anglers Rest. Read more of her guest posts here.


  1. Jean | Delightful Repast says

    Julie, thank you for the information. I’ll follow that link when I have a few minutes. I had nine ancestors plus two relatives aboard the Mayflower, so I love reading about it. Must visit both Plymouths one day.

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