It is pleasing to read that the Pilgrim Fathers’ Memorial has been given a spring clean, thanks to Coun Raymond Singleton-McGuire.
Readers may be interested to know that it was previously cleaned a few years ago when funds were generously donated by American Congregationalists.
On visiting the memorial these kind people were so sad to see that the wording on the plaque was incorrect that they raised sufficient funds to not only clean up the memorial, but to have an incised slate plaque bearing the correct information, inserted over the original.
For many years, indeed since the time of local historian Canon Arthur Malcolm Cook, Vicar of St Botolph’s 1932-1946, it has been pointed out that those separatists, later known as the Pilgrim Fathers, did not come from Boston, but from NE Nottinghamshire and NW Lincolnshire.
They did not have the king’s permission to leave the country (a requirement in 17th century) and they planned to leave the country in secret from the Boston river at Scotia Creek and sail to Holland for religious freedom.
However, the captain of the vessel (not the Mayflower) which was to take them to Holland had alerted the authorities and the ringleaders were arrested and imprisoned in the town gaol and/or the cells in the Guildhall.
The majority, including the women and children were not arrested and returned to their homes in NW Lincs and NW Notts. The men decided to sail in 1620 for the New World and eventually settled in ‘Plimouth’ in the Massachusetts Bay.
The story of the Boston Puritans who were members of the congregation of Rev John Cotton at St Botolph’s Church, is much more important to the town of Boston as it was these men and women who, in 1630, sailed with the Massachusetts Bay Company to found a new colony in the New World.
They not only had the king’s permission to leave, but they had his charter, which gave them the right to found a new colony and to trade.
The small neck of land on which they settled, was renamed Boston on September 7th, 1630, in honour of the hometown of many and in honour of Rev John Cotton.
The capital of the colony, Boston, continued to grow and developed into the great city that it is now. That is why this town is known as the ‘Mother Town’ and Boston Massachusetts is the ‘Daughter City’.