Mayflower 400: Series of history talks for anniversary of iconic ship’s departure from Rotherhithe

Josh Salisbury (11 November, 2019)

The first talk in the Mayflower 400 series can be booked from November 28th, which is Thanksgiving Day


A series of history talks from experts in the history of the Mayflower has been announced ahead of the ship’s historic 400th anniversary next year.

2020 will mark 400 years since the Mayflower set off for its maiden voyage to the New World from Rotherhithe – and to mark the occasion a series of monthly talks will run from April-November.

Booking for an introductory free talk will open on November 28th – Thanksgiving Day – which also marks the start of the Mayflower 400 commemoration year.

“Our line-up  features some of the leading experts in the Mayflower world but the talks will still be very accessible, with the first evening bringing us all up-to-speed and introducing key themes to be investigated further in the lectures which follow,” said Michael Daniels, president of the Bermondsey & Rotherhithe Local History Society.

“Join us on a journey of exploration as we discover the remarkable story of The Mayflower, from its early beginnings to its legacy and beyond.”

The series of events will take place in the Canada Water Theatre – close to where The Mayflower set sail.

The ship set off from Rotherhithe in 1620 to Southampton, before eventually setting off from Plymouth later that year to reach the New World.

The ship’s captain and part-owner Christopher Jones is buried in St Mary’s Churchyard, but the exact location is unknown.

“These talks are part of a national and international series of Mayflower 400 events across multiple locations in Britain, the US and the Netherlands, commemorating the 400th anniversary of this world-shaping voyage and its legacy,” added

“Rotherhithe is part of that international partnership and these lectures in Rotherhithe are a great way to explore our shared history.”

The talks are £3 each, unless free, and must be booked by visiting or phoning 020 8692 4446.

The full list of Mayflower 400 talks organised:

– Introduction –

The Mayflower Compacted

Wed 29th April 7:30pm-8:30pm, a free event

Rita Cruise O’Brien, author of The Mayflower: Myths, Truths and Legacies, introduces the Mayflower story and the importance of Rotherhithe in its early days.

– The People –

The Long Search for Freedom

Wed 27th May 7:30pm-9pm

Adrian Gray, author of From Here We Changed the World, discusses the origins of the people who became known as The Pilgrim Fathers.

– The Money –

Seafarers, Puritans and Beaver Hats

Wed 24th June 7:30pm-9pm

Nick Bunker, author of Making Haste from Babylon, investigates the role of money and The

City behind the Mayflower’s voyage.

– A Local Walk in Rotherhithe –

History, Art & The Mayflower by Blue Badge Guides

Wed 29th July 7:00pm and 7:30pm departures, a free event.

– The Faith –

“One of my horses could preach as well as the curate!”

Wed 2nd September 7:30pm-9pm

James Evans, author of Emigrants: Why the English Sailed to the New World, considers the state of the clergy in England at the time and the establishment of new faith communities.

– The Voyage –

‘One Small Candle’

Wed 30th September 7:30pm-9pm

Rebecca Fraser, author of The Mayflower Generation: The Winslow Family and the Fights for the New World, identifies the people who made the voyage and their fate in America.

– The Legacy –

The Making of the Mayflower Myth

Wed 25th November 7:30pm-9pm

Rita Cruise O’Brien, author of The Mayflower: Myths, Truths and Legacies, considers the myths and legacies of the Mayflower story.



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