2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the journey of the Pilgrim Settlers to America. To commemorate the strong connections between our county and this internationally significant event Nottinghamshire Local History Association have linked up with Nottinghamshire County Council to present a programme of talks by recognised experts in the field.
The events are free and booking for the talks will be via Eventbrite. An email will be sent to you with a link for each talk. Please do remember to check your junk/spam folders as the email may land in there!
All queries should be directed to James Wright, Programme Secretary for Nottinghamshire Local History Association: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday 2 December 2020, 7.30pm
Not Plymouth… but Notts: Why the Pilgrim journey began here
The journey of the ‘Mayflower’ Pilgrims did not begin in Plymouth, Southampton or even Leiden, but in Nottinghamshire many years before. Adrian Gray’s talk explores the roots of the movement that really began with Cranmer and Sir John Markham, then developed into a radical tradition from which Clifton, Brewster, Smyth and other Separatists sprang. It reconnects the Pilgrims with the culture and attitudes of their native north Nottinghamshire, with a dash of Lincolnshire. But also shows how this then connected forwards into some of the great names of the English Civil War.
Adrian Gray studied history at Cambridge and is an education management consultant. He has written more than twenty books including ‘Sherwood Forest and the Dukeries’, ‘Restless Souls, Pilgrim Roots’ about the development of Christianity in Notts, and ‘People and Places of North Notts.’ He is an adviser to the community history projects Pilgrims & Prophets and Bassetlaw Christian Heritage and a NLHS committee member.
Eventbrite booking link here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mayflower-400-adrian-gray-tickets-127002591169
Wednesday 9 December 2020, 7.30pm
Colonialism and the Mayflower: Warrior tribe, religious refugees or a bunch of chancers?
Much of the publicity surrounding the Mayflower voyage and its passengers has suggested that they were a rapacious crew whose aim was to exploit the Native American population. It has been suggested they were involved in the slave trade, that they killed many by spreading disease, that they drove the people from their lands.
The narrative has been skewed by the amount of publicity given to the Native Americans who lived in the area settled by the voyagers. They did indeed come to the aid of the settlers once half of them had died, but anniversary organisers Mayflower 400 and The Box Museum in Plymouth, Devon, have been keen to ‘debunk some of the myths surrounding the voyage’ and emphasised the impact of British colonialism on the Wampanoags with tales of ‘of persecution, loss and oppression.
Is this a fair representation? Certainly the Native Americans, the Wampanoag deserve a place in the story but the pilgrims were refugees. Of the total on board, half were women and children; hardly a warrior tribe. They made a peace with the Wampanoag, in March 1621 which lasted more than 50 years.
As for the ‘chancers’ who hoped to make their fortune trading fur and fish there were so few of them left after the winter of 1621 that, far from driving the Wampanoag away they struggled to survive and for the most part lived as harmoniously with the tribes people as the pilgrims.
Richard Holledge is a freelance journalist based in the UK. Author of Voices of the Mayflower; the saints, strangers and sly knaves who changed the world. Also; The Scattered, an account of the genocidal expulsion of the French population of Nova Scotia – the Acadians – by the British in 1755. Writer of Life and Chimes, a year in the life of Portsmouth Football Club. Formerly an executive editor at The Times of London, assistant editor at The Independent and several other national newspapers now specialises writing about the arts and life style for the Wall Street Journal, Gulf News, the FT and the New European.
Eventbrite booking link here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mayflower-400-richard-holledge-tickets-127012887967