Sunday, September 20, 2020

Dan Snow presents documentary marking Mayflower 400 this week

Gainsborough is featuring in a documentary presented by famed TV historian Dan Snow marking the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower.

Gainsborough has a special connection to the Mayflower anniversary through the Separatist movements that originated in this region, some of whom later led the journey to America.

Presented by Dan Snow, the documentary – which airs on the exact date of the historic journey –  will reflect the story of the Pilgrims’ roots and their journeys, the impact on the Native American people who helped them when they first arrived and the wider colonial context of the Mayflower’s voyage.

Dr Anna Scott, West Lindsey District Council’s Mayflower 400 Officer, was invited to be interviewed for the programme talking about Pilgrims’ heritage and legacies.

“It’s been important to commemorate such a significant moment in international history and highlight Gainsborough’s role in that. Pilgrims’ history and heritage is complex and difficult at times, and has had enduring legacies across the world which we need to talk about more,” she said.

Recognising the area’s connection to the story, West Lindsey District Council have a series of plans that will leave a lasting legacy for residents and visitors which includes art, music and literature.

An historic journey

The Pilgrims’ journey began some years before 1620 when they decided to break away from the established Church at a time when this was illegal.

Known as the Separatists, a group of them were thought to have worshipped in secret at Gainsborough Old Hall – now regarded as one of the best-preserved medieval manor houses in Britain, and similar to famous Pilgrim William Brewster’s original home in nearby Scrooby.

Religious pressures where too much for the Separatists and on 10 May 1608, a group of them left from Gainsborough in search of religious freedom. Some walked overland while others left via the River Trent on a small barge called ‘The Francis’ for Stallingborough near Immingham, where they would meet a larger boat that would take them to Amsterdam in Holland. By the time they reached Stallingborough, there were more than 80 people on-board.

However, they only lived there for 12 years before deciding to embark on their journey to America. They returned to England and met the Mayflower, which set sail on 16 September 1620 (after a failed first attempt).

The special History Hits Mayflower programme will air on Wednesday 16 September at 6pm. You can watch it online by clicking here.

Image shows: Anna Scott, Mayflower 400 Officer at West Lindsey District Council being interviewed at Gainsborough Old Hall as part of the online documentary

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