Gainsborough’s role in the Pilgrims’ story has been recognised as the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded £45,000 in development funding for the Pilgrim Roots Project.
West Lindsey District Council and Bassetlaw District Council are working together to commemorate the region’s religious heritage.
This ambitious project will share the history of our area’s early Pilgrims, who made a major contribution to global history and the seminal journey aboard the Mayflower to Plymouth USA in 1620.
They were some of the earliest European colonists in the ‘New World’.
The project is entitled ‘Pilgrim Roots: The Separatists’ Story’ and focusses on William Brewster, William Bradford and other influential Separatists from Gainsborough, Scrooby, Babworth, Austerfield and Sturton-le-Steeple.
It will relay how their journey in pursuit of tolerance and freedom resonates with similar issues that are highly relevant today.
The project will dispel the myth that ‘the Pilgrim Fathers’ were predominately elderly and male and address the significant role women and the young played in the story.
It will also explore the effect of the settlers on the indigenous native population.
West Lindsey District Council’s Chair of the Prosperous Communities Committee, Coun Sheila Bibb said: “This is wonderful news for West Lindsey. Gainsborough played an important role in the Pilgrims’ story, and the Heritage Lottery Fund have recognised the potential of this project by lending their support.
“We want to work with our partners across Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire to tell this fascinating story and inspire people to find out more about their local heritage.”
The Pilgrim Roots project partnership is working towards applying for a Stage Two Heritage Lottery Fund grant in 2018.
This will develop and enhance the existing Mayflower Trail, linking the story at sites in Gainsborough, Retford and associated villages.
The Mayflower Trail will be strengthened through a substantive digital offer, which will bring the trail to life for modern audiences.
An enhanced visitor offer at churches and locations that would have been known by the pilgrims will be complimented by an exciting year-long programme of events to mark the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower in 2020, engaging communities and volunteers, as well as attracting local, national and international visitors.
The project will also develop a Pilgrim Roots Gallery at Bassetlaw Museum in Retford.
A three year educational and cultural programme would take place across the Pilgrim Roots region, which covers heritage sites in Lincolnshire, North Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire.
West Lindsey District Council will also be working with Bassetlaw Christian Heritage and the University of Lincoln on the project to create a lasting legacy beyond 2020.
Jonathan Platt, Head of HLF East Midlands, said: “The story of the Mayflower is one of international significance, and has its roots in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire.
“We are delighted that money from National Lottery players can help support the plans for this important anniversary, and we look forward to seeing the detailed proposals in due course”.
West Lindsey District Council is a member of the Mayflower 400 Partnership.
This is a partnership of 11 UK destinations, as well as Leiden (Netherlands) and Plymouth (USA), who have all signed the Modern Mayflower Compact.
This is an agreement to work together to jointly commemorate the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower in 1620.
Find out more about the national Mayflower 400 project at www.mayflower400uk.org.