14th to 15th August 1970
SOUTHAMPTON AND THE MAYFLOWER
On July 27th, 1620, the Mayflower, hired in London to transport a band of nonconformists to the New World, arrived in Southampton Water with a group of colonists from England. A week later the leaders of the venture arrived in the smaller Speedwell, from Leyden, where their congregation had lived since fleeing from persecution in England in 1608.
Seven hundred pounds had already been spent in Southampton stocking the voyage. The Pilgrims’ intentions for a speedy departure were prevented by the need to repair leaks discovered in the Speedwell and thus they spent some 11 days in the port, (then of only 5,000 inhabitants, concentrated almost entirely within the medieval city walls). While they waited, an argument over the conditions under which London merchants were to finance the venture led to a breach with the adventurers and forced the Pilgrims to sell sixty pounds’ worth of vital supplies in order to meet outstanding bills in the city, before they could embark through the West Gate.
More propitiously, the Pilgrims gained a convert in Southampton, John Alden, a cooper. Alden, “a hopeful young man,” joined the voyage, and was in 1657 to rise to the office of Assistant Governor of the colony in New England, where one tradition has it that he was the first of the Pilgrim Fathers to step ashore.
The Mayflower and Speedwell sailed together on Saturday, August 15th, in favourable conditions. On August 23rd, however, further leaks in the Speedwell forced them to put in at Dartmouth and again later at Plymouth. Here the Speedwell was finally abandoned, together with 28 of the company of 130 which had left Southampton. Sailing alone on September 16th, the Mayflower took 67 days to cross the Atlantic, finally sighting Cape Cod, many miles to the north of their original destination in Virginia. Here was founded the Colony of New Plymouth, the first successful plantation in America, forerunner of the “Great Migration,” which left Southampton in 1630 for Massachusetts Bay.
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Peter Bramley, John Mitchell, David Bartlett, Judy Rake, John Carrington, Sonia Morris
David Bartlett reads
Elder William Brewster
Sir Robert Haunton (Secretary to the Privy Council).
Thomas Weston (Merchant adventurer).
Thomas Morton (Coloniser).
Peter Bramley reads
Pastor John Robinson.
Sir Dudley Carlton (English Ambassador at the Hague) John Alden.
James Shorley (Merchant adventurer).
John Carrington reads
Sir William Zonche (Court envoy).
Myles Standish (Pilgrim Commander).
John Mitchell reads
Governor William Bradford.
Deacon Robert Cushman.
Pecksuot (an Indian).
Sonia Morris reads
Judy Rake reads
Anthony Russell, Russell Wiles
|For the Maskers:|
|Technical Director||Ron Tillyer|
|Stage Manager||Tony Miles|
|Lighting||Colin Jurd, Ivan White|
|Properties||Jenny Rodway, Ray Green|
|Set Construction||Neil Pickering, Keith Hooper|
|Front Of House||Betty Riggs|
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John Carrington, John Michell, Sonia Morris
|CALENDAR OF EVENTS|
|1492||Columbus discovers America.|
|1517||Luther’s "95 Theses" begin the Reformation in Germany.|
|1541||Calvin’s Theocracy established at Geneva.|
|1533-39||Reformation in England under Henry VIII|
|1547-53||Protestant Edward VI, King of England.|
|1553-58||Catholic Mary Queen of England.|
|1558||Succession of Elizabeth 1.|
|1563||Anglican Church Settlement.|
|C.1580||Robert Browne founds first "Separatist" (or Congregationalist) Church.|
|1584-87||Sir Walter Raleigh’s unsuccessful attempts to colonise Virginia.|
|1593||"Separatists" (or "Brownists") hanged for "seditious" publications.|
|1603||Death of Elizabeth I, Succession of James I.|
|1605||Captain John Smith unsuccessfully attempts to colonise Virginia; saved from execution by Indians by Pocohontas.|
|1606||Formation of Separatist congregation at Scrooby, under Pastor John Robinson.|
|1608||Emigration of Scrooby congregation to Holland.|
|1608-20||Truce in war between Catholic Spain and Protestant Netherlands.|
|1620||Sailing of the "Mayflower" and foundation of New Plymouth.|
|1625||Succession of Charles I. Death of John Robinson.|
|1629-40||"Eleven Years’ Tyranny" of Charles I’s personal rule without Parliament.|
|1630||"Great Migration" to Massachusetts Bay.|
|1637||First Indian War.|
|1642||Outbreak of English Civil War.|
|New Plymouth finally free of financial obligations to Merchant adventurers.|
|1647||Confederation of the United Colonies of New England.|
|1649||Execution of Charles 1 ; abolition of Bishops in England|
|1653||Oliver Cromwell appointed Protector.|
|1658||Death of Oliver Cromwell.|
|1660||Restoration of Charles II.|
|1689||Expulsion of Catholic James II ; succession of Protestant William and Mary.|
|1692||New Plymouth absorbed into Massachusetts.|
|1763||American Declaration of Independence.|
|1856||Publication of Bradford’s History "Of Plymouth Plantation."|
John Robinson (1576-1625), the Pilgrim's Pastor. Born in Lincolnshire and fled with the congregation from persecution in England, to Leyden. Died in Leyden before achieving his desire to emigrate to New England and be reunited with his congregation. "Besides his singular abilities in divine things, he was also very able to give direction in civil affairs." (William Bradford).
William Bradford (1589-1657), Governor of New Plymouth, almost continuously from 1621, (when he succeeded John Carver) until the 1650's. Author of the colony's history. A member of the original congregation in Scrooby and Leyden. "A common blessing and a father to them all." (Nathaniel Morton).
William Brewster (1566-1643), born in Scrooby, briefly employed in the service of the State before joining the congregation. Their Elder in Leyden, he operated their printing press. Senior religious adviser to the colony at New Plymouth, "A man that bath done the Lord and this poor persecuted church faithful service in his place and calling." (William Bradford).
Edward Winslow (1595-1655), the Pilgrim's "ambassador-at-large" and several times Governor. Joined the congregation in Leyden. Publicist for New Plymouth and author of "Good News from New England." Imprisoned in England by Archbishop Laud in 1635. Appointed, by Oliver Croinwell to conquer the Spanish West Indies, where he died at sea.
Pilgrim Women.-Though rarely appearing in the public activities of the colony, their place in the church is revealed by the appointment of a Deaconess in Leyden. Of 18 wives on the Mayflower, only five survived the first winter, suggesting their self-sacrifice in the interests of their men and children.
Myles Standish (1584-1656), elected Captain-General of the Pilgrim army. Alone among the Pilgrim leaders, he never became a member of their church. "He is a man humble and meek toward all in ordinary course, but by occasion of provocation there may be wanting that tenderness of man's life which is meet." (John Robinson).
Massasoit (d.1661), Chief of the Wampanoag Indians, living 40 miles from New Plymouth, with which he signed a lasting treaty of peace and friendship. "You will never see his like amongst the Indians. He was not bloody and cruel like other Indians, ruled by reason, truly loving where he loved." (Hobbamok, an Indian Scout).
Thomas Weston (d. 1645), the London merchant responsible for organising the joint stock company (of which James Sherley was treasurer) which financed the Mayflower venture for profit. After a dispute over the conditions of the agreement, he dispatched a party to found a rival colony for his own profit, which collapsed after disastrous entanglements with the Indians. "All his promised help turned into an empty advice." (William Bradford).