Plymouth, England

The Mayflower and Speedwell were 300 miles clear of Land's End when the smaller ship once more began leaking badly and couldn't risk continuing. They turned about for Plymouth.

By this time, the cramped, damp and miserable passengers had already spent up to six weeks at sea basically getting nowhere, with a fair wind and good fortune they would have hoped to be closing on their destination by then. The Speedwell was finally declared unfit for the journey. Some of the Pilgrims dropped out; the remainder crowded onto the Mayflower, which required re-provisioning, despite funds running low.

She left on 16 September with up to 30 crew and 102 passengers on board. Just under half of them were Separatists, the rest were 'economic migrants' - skilled tradespeople sent by the investors to help build the new colony.

It is believed the Pilgrims received a warm welcome in Plymouth. Those that did not live on board ship probably stayed in or visited houses around the quay such as Island House and the Elizabethan House. These buildings still stand today.

Island House, situated on Southside Street, dates from between 1572 and 1600 and is reputed to be one of the houses the Pilgrims were entertained in prior their departure for the New World.

The Elizabethan House, situated on New Street, was called London House when it was built in the 1580s. It may have been the Plymouth offices of the London Company of Virginia. Today it is called the Elizabethan House because it was built in the time of Queen Elizabeth I.

The Protestant community were also sympathetic to the Pilgrims cause. Plymouth had a long Protestant tradition and the port had been previously used as a base for fighting Protestant England's war against Catholic Europe.

Furthermore, Plymouth people were deeply interested in the Pilgrims destination. When the Speedwell and Mayflower anchored in Plymouth, many families in the town had seen their men sail off to fishing grounds in New England and Newfoundland. They were probably aware too that the end of August was too late to set sail across the Atlantic and their men were due to return home.

The ship-builders in Plymouth said the Speedwell was unfit to cross the Atlantic, the Mayflower would therefore have to travel alone. There was not enough room for everyone on board one ship but, by then, some Pilgrims had already lost heart or were simply too weak and sick to continue the journey by sea

Visiting Plymouth

Plymouth - Britain's Ocean City

Plymouth has a reputation as a centre for voyage, discovery and military importance. For more than a thousand years the spectacular waterfront has been a port of call or point of departure for adventurers, emigrants, merchant traders, soldiers and sailors. Including of course the departure point of the Mayflower, marked by the Mayflower Steps.

The stunning views over Plymouth Sound from the Hoe will literally take your breath away. Take a boat trip our into the Sound - as the Pilgrims did - for amazing views back over the city.

Plymouth today is a melting pot of historical sites, memorials and museums - alongside a vibrant cultural scene, stunning places to eat and some of England's finest beaches are never far away!

Sightseeing in Plymouth is easily done of foot - explore the Barbican, Sutton Harbour, Royal William Yard and the Hoe. Volunteer tour guides 'One Small Candle' offer a friendly meet and greet service and act as Pilgrim Ambassadors.  

When in Devon - a cream tea is a must!

Also, visitors should head over the Tamar Bridge into Poldark's Cornwall - for more fabulous coastline, great seafood restaurants and attractions including the Eden Project.

 

Plymouth Mayflower Highlights

  • Mayflower Events
  • Attractions
  • Accommodation

01 Jan-30 Jun 21

Directions Screening 3: Utopian Landscapes (Date TBC)

Plymouth, England

01 Jan-30 Jun 21

Some Call It Home (Date TBC)

Plymouth, England

01 Jan-30 Jun 21

Plymouth and District Organists’ Association (Date TBC)

Plymouth, England

Smeatons Tower Plymouth Hoe

01 Jan-30 Jun 21

University of Plymouth: Britain and the World 2020 Conference (Date TBC)

Plymouth, England

01 Jan-30 Jun 21

Plymouth Philharmonic Choir (Date TBC)

Plymouth, England

29 Sep-18 Sep 21

Mayflower 400: Legend And Legacy

Plymouth, England

16 Sep 20

Dan Snow's History Hit: Mayflower 400 - Steering our future, informed by the past

Plymouth, England

04 Sep-30 Nov 20

Speedwell

Plymouth, England

01-31 Oct 20

Mayflower 400 - Get Active in October

Plymouth, England

10 Oct 20

The Story of the Mayflower

Plymouth, England

24 Oct 20

UK Each/Other weekly sewing circle launch

Plymouth, England

01-30 Nov 20

Plymouth Symphony Orchestra (Date TBC)

Plymouth, England

01-30 Nov 20

Mayflower 400 - Get Active in November

Plymouth, England

17 Nov 20

Blood Memory UK

Plymouth, England

Love and Fury Film Screening / Q&A Zoom with Director Sterlin Harjo

Plymouth, England

18 Nov 20

The Mayflower Story - A Conspiracy?

Plymouth, England

20 Nov 20

Still/Moving 'In Conversation'

Plymouth, England

01-31 Dec 20

University of Plymouth Choral Society (Date TBC)

Plymouth, England

01 Dec-31 Jan 21

Mayflower 400 - Get Active in December and January

Plymouth, England

18-21 Feb 21

Illuminate Plymouth

Plymouth, England

01-28 Feb 21

Mayflower 400 - Get Active in February 2021

Plymouth, England

01-31 Mar 21

Mayflower 400 - Get Active in March 2021

Plymouth, England

01-30 Apr 21

Mayflower 400 - Get Active in April 2021

Plymouth, England

29 Apr-06 May 21

Mayflower 400 Quilt Exhibition

Plymouth, England

15 May-19 Jul 21

Wampum: Stories from the Shells of Native America

Plymouth, England

01-31 May 21

Mayflower 400 - Get Active in May 2021

Plymouth, England

22 May 21

Roots Up! by Street Factory

Plymouth, England

09 Jun-03 Jul 21

400: A Historical Comedy

Plymouth, England

01-30 Jun 21

Mayflower 400 - Get Active in June 2021

Plymouth, England

Smeatons Tower Plymouth Hoe

08-11 Jul 21

Mayflower International Festival

Plymouth, England

08 Jul 21

The Rehabilitation Triathlon, hosted by the Royal Marines

Plymouth, England

10 Jul 21

Mayflower Muster

Plymouth, England

11 Jul 21

Mayflower 400 Four Nations Ceremony

Plymouth, England

28 Aug 21

Mayflower International Genealogical Conference

Plymouth, England

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