Mayflower Pilgrims in Nottinghamshire

The 400th anniversary

Mayflower mast

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower – one of the most influential journeys in global history. This commemoration will involve an exciting national and international programme inspiring people across nations with the stories of that iconic voyage, exploring themes of migration, tolerance, freedom and democracy.

Nottinghamshire is one of 11 UK destinations that make up the Mayflower 400 partnership and Nottinghamshire County Council will be programming a series of events, activities and capital projects to mark the occasion.

Nottinghamshire County Council is also part of the Pilgrim Roots Partnership that has been tasked to deliver activity on a regional scale.

The History of the Mayflower

In 1620 a ship named the Mayflower, set sail from England for the new world. The passengers who made that famous journey settled in America and formed one of the first English colonies. The Mayflower pilgrims helped lay the foundations of the United States and today 25 million Americans descend from the 102 passengers of the Mayflower. Many of the leading figures of the group, were from Nottinghamshire.

William Brewster and William Bradford

William Brewster was born in Scrooby in North Nottinghamshire and, along with William Bradford, followed Reverend Richard Clyfton at the All Saints Church at Babworth. Clyfton preached religious separatism, encouraging people to move away from the traditional religion and church law at the time. This inspired Brewster and Bradford to start the Pilgrim Movement. Brewster used his own house in Scrooby, to form the first separatist church in 1606.

However, these activities were not ignored by the authorities and Brewster and his friends were frequently driven into hiding. Eventually the group were forced into exile in Holland, until 1620, when Brewster and Bradford decided to lead a group of followers across the Atlantic Ocean to form an English colony in the New World.

William Brewster was the religious leader of the community. Much of what is known of the early life of the pilgrims can be found in the writings of William Bradford, who was Governor of the new colony for over 35 years.

Download the William Brewster Commemorative Booklet [PDF]

LANDING - Short film

LAND/NG is a creative project led by artist Hetain Patel, and made with the people of Nottinghamshire. It responds to the history of the Mayflower and to the events of 2020 around the world.

LAND/NG draws on ideas about our relationship to place, belonging, and community, wherever we land. The project is produced by Kate Stoddart and Jo Wheeler and the film is directed by Hetain Patel and produced by Mark Bushnell and Ashley Gardiner.


  • Inspire Culture and Libraries
  • Inspire Your Arts
  • Inspire Learning
  • Bassetlaw District Council
  • Broadway Media
  • Nottinghamshire County Council
  • Mansions of the Future
  • Savoy Cinema Group
  • University of Lincoln
  • Transported
  • University of Nottingham
  • Writing East Midlands
  • Arts Council England

Useful websites and documents

Click the links below to find out more about the story of the Mayflower Pilgrims:


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