There are several museums that have researched and brought together information and artifacts related to the original Separatists and the 102 passengers of the Mayflower who became the Pilgrim Fathers.
In the United Kingdom the Bassetlaw Museum in Retford in Nottinghamshire and Gainsborough Old Hall have researched the origins of the local Separatists and their subsequent leadership roles as Mayflower Pilgrims. Bassetlaw Museum has some archive material relating to the subject. At Doncaster there is the Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery and the Doncaster Archives.
Our Association Historian, Sue Allan, has recently published three new Brewster related books,‘In Search of Scrooby Manor’, ‘James Brewster, Bawtry Chapel & A Trybe of Wicked People’, and ‘William Brewster- The Making of a Pilgrim’ which are all full of new research and information not seen before.
Dr. Jeremy Bangs, Director of the American Pilgrim Museum Leiden and one of the leading Mayflower Pilgrim historians, has recently published a comprehensive new book – ‘Strangers and Pilgrims, Travellers and Sojourners. Leiden and the Foundations of Plymouth Plantation’ which provides extensive detail on the heritage of the local Separatists and their reasons for leaving England for Holland.
Boston on the East coast of Lincolnshire has a strong heritage link to the Separatists who were once held in the Boston Guildhall cells after their failed escape attempt in 1607.. Plymouth in Devon is twinned with Plymouth, Massachusetts.
The key institutions in the United States that have extensively researched the heritage of the Pilgrim Fathers are the Plimoth Plantation, the Pilgrim Hall Museum and the Mayflower Society Museum, all of which are located in Plymouth, Massachusetts, which is 40 miles South of Boston. They have extensive archives and artefacts regarding the heritage of the Pilgrim Fathers from their landing at Plimouth Rock on 9th November 1620. Plymouth in Massachusetts celebrates this heritage and their twinned link with Plymouth in Devon.
Robert Browne was the first leader of the English Separatist movement during the reign of Elizabeth I. He lived at Lilford Hall in Northamptonshire, founded his own church and published his principles which became those followed by Richard Clifton of Babworth Church and William Brewster of Scrooby Manor before they left Lincolnshire with others for Holland in 1608.
In Holland these Separatists eventually settled in Leiden until they sailed to England in the Speedwell in 1620 prior to their departure, as the Pilgrim Fathers, for America. The Leiden American Pilgrim Museum in Leiden, whose Director is Dr. Jeremy Bangs maintains details of their time in Holland together with some artifacts of that time.
Caleb Johnson brings together extensive information about the Pilgrims on his excellent Mayflower History.com website.
New England Beginnings, is a partnership to encourage and promote activities that commemorate the cultures that shaped early New England. The activities we are focused on are designed to 1) tell the stories of the region in the seventeenth century to a wide, general public audience and 2) enhance accessibility of resources for future scholarship in the field.
Numerous articles have been written over the years about the Pilgrim Fathers heritage as well as several new films and documentaries including Kirk Cameron’s ‘Monumental’ and Ric Burns PBS ‘Pilgrims’ both of which featured our Association Historian.
The heritage has also stimulated an historical adventure novel, The Mayflower Maid, which is set among the Separatist Pilgrim and Gainsborough Old Hall
An educational Heritage pack has been developed by Sherwood Forest Trust. These heritage activity packs are available for download.
In the USA materials have been developed by a Mayflower descendant for use by both children and their teachers. Additional materials are on the Mayflower Society for Pennsylvania web page.
There is additional rich heritage connecting Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire to the foundations of the United States. Captain John Smith, who was a leader in the foundation of Jamestown, was born in Willoughby in East Lincolnshire and William Wilberforce of Hull in South Yorkshire led the campaign to abolish slavery