[29] William Bradford was baptised at the font in St. Helen’s Church on the nineteenth of March, 1589/90.


​[30] The church was restored in 1897. A carving of a so-called Sheila-na-gig was uncovered when layers of plaster were removed from the capitals on the nave pillars. The significance of such carvings of naked women is debated; they may be fertility symbols or warnings against lust.

​34] Between Bawtry and Gringley-on-the-Hill, the road to Gainsborough crosses the River Idle. In 1608 Pilgrim women and children fled in small boats, following the Idle to the coast. The men made their way overland to the ship that was waiting to take the group to Holland.

​​35] A century and a half after the Pilgrims’ flight into exile, the Chesterfield Canal Company created a waterway to connect the Trent River at Gainsborough with Chesterfield’s coal mines farther west. The canal opened on June 4, 1777. Besides transporting coal and bricks, the canal served to bring stone used to build the Houses of Parliament to London. Horse-drawn canal boats accomplished the first part of the journey, then the stone was transferred to coastal ships and brought up the Thames to London. Now the canal serves fishermen, bird watchers, and canal boat enthusiasts.

[33] Traditionally associated with the Bradford family, this substantial Austerfield manor house may have belonged to William Bradford’s grandfather, and his uncles Robert and Thomas, wealthy farmers who helped raise the orphaned boy. It was originally half-timbered. Structural beams survive, but the daub-and-wattle walls have been replaced with brick.

[26] St. Helen’s Church, Austerfield, dates from Norman times (twelfth century). By the end of the nineteenth century, the north aisle had fallen down and the nave arches on that side were bricked up. With generous donations from the General Society of Mayflower Descendants in the United States, the aisle was reconstructed, using a stone doorway and window tracery that had survived.

​27] The chapel is here seen from the east in the evening with a light shining through the stained glass of the gothic chancel window


​[31] The Norman round arch gives access to the gothic chancel in the little chapel. The communion rail was a liturgical innovation required by Archbishop William Laud, on whose orders Pilgrim Edward Winslow was imprisoned in 1634.

[32] St. Helena’s church has several excellent windows by one of England’s greatest stained glass artists, Charles Eamer Kempe (1837-1907). Babworth church is also proud of its Kempe window.




​[28] Above the door in the church’s south porch is a lively dragon carved about nine hundred years ago. The surrounding arches are characteristic of architectural decoration from the end of the eleventh century, when the Norman Conquest of 1066 resulted in architectural innovation.