In light of the current fervour surrounding the upcoming 400th Anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower, the Association sincerely feel that the word on all our lips at this moment in time should be ‘legacy’. What we will leave behind after September 16, 2020 and the ‘for one day only’ celebrations are over. And we, at the Pilgrim Father’s UK Origins Association already have a clear idea of what that should be.
In our part of England, our story is not just about a ship. Our story began long before the sailing of the Mayflower and involves the principle Pilgrims aboard that ship and what happened to them during the two decades leading up to that fateful voyage. Our story is about the legacy that they left to us that enriches our lives right now and that hopefully shall continue to do so long into the future
The first recorded influx of American visitors to William Brewster’s Scrooby arrived in the early 1850’s and at a time when crossing the Atlantic to journey to England was long, arduous and not without its dangers. Nonetheless, many intrepid Brewster Mayflower Descendants did just that and were quickly joined by those of William Bradford at Austerfield. At that time we in England had long since forgotten their names, let alone their incredible story of courage.
Ever since those early days, our Pilgrims’ descendants have continued to make their own personal pilgrimages back to England to retrace these great men’s steps. Even during World War 2 thousands of US servicemen made their way to Scrooby and Austerfield to pay homage. Today descendants who can trace their lineage back to just these two Pilgrims number in the millions. And yet the lack of facilities expected at such important historical destinations has remained woefully the same- non-existent- and with many a visitor beholden to the good will of local householders for the desperate use of something as basic as a lavatory.
We at the Association also believe that the story of the Separatists is not just an American one. Instead we firmly believe that local people should be proud to reclaim these Separatist Pilgrims as local heroes without whom we might not enjoy many personal freedoms that we take so much for granted today.
There is currently little of substance in Scrooby to celebrate these local heroes and the shining light that they set to others seeking religious freedom.
With your help, we the Pilgrim Fathers UK Origins Association plan to change this so that Mayflower descendants may be better acquainted with their spiritual home and for local people to become familiar with this joint heritage. By using our current very modest resources, coupled with any donations that we receive, The Association believe that we can change and improve upon this current unsatisfactory situation at Scrooby, and elsewhere connected to our Pilgrims,and that by investing those resources wisely, we believe that we have in our hands a once in our life time opportunity not only to hand forward that legacy left to us by the Separatists, but to re-endow that legacy with interest.
The loss of the barn at Scrooby that we had hoped to acquire as a Pilgrim Heritage Centre and as a result, the subsequent reluctant abandonment of our own PF0A Heritage Lottery Fund bid, have been nothing short of a body blow to our dreams of improving the visitor experience to the village and indeed the rest of the Mayflower Trail. Our current plan now is instead to negotiate with the church at Scrooby with a view to housing a mini visitor centre within that and to raise the funds to build a small extension to the existing village hall close by to house the necessary restroom facilities for visitors making their own personal pilgrimages in the footsteps of the Separatists.
If you feel that in your heart you would like to help us in our work, then a one-off donation, no matter how small, will help us to make a real difference. If however you would like a closer relationship with the Association then perhaps becoming a ‘Mayflower Friend of the PFOA’ and receiving regular E-Newsletters and updates about the Association and the happenings in our area is for you. If so then please take a moment to look at our membership page. We are also happy to accept corporate members who may display their company logos on our pages to show their support of our projects.
Thank You Sue Allan, Chair.
Dear Pilgrim Fathers UK Origins Association,
I am a descendant of William Brewster and had a delightful visit of Scrooby on a tour with the Mayflower Society. We were hosted by your Association who made arrangements for all of our activities. The whole day was historically enlightening and entertaining. We were treated to music, food, dancing and a visit to the church. I was amazed to now discover that this was a special occasion and that other visitors now could be met with locked doors to the village hall, and the church. They would not even have access to restrooms. I am requesting that the UK find a way to make this wonderful historic site a national tourism destination and upgrade the facilities in time to receive the numerous visitors who will want to attend the four hundred year celebrations in 2020.
Judy Mayo- Brewster Descendant, Illinois
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