By Stacy B. C. Wood, Jr.
The 400th anniversary celebrates the start of the twelve year voyage by the Scrooby Separatist contingent. An unsuccessful attempt to flee religious intolerance by the Church of England the previous year from Scotia Creek, Fishtoft, just east of Boston, and also in Lincolnshire, had landed them all in prison in nearby Boston for a month. In those days it was illegal to leave England without official permission and such permission was not given to Roman Catholics and dissenters. The second escape attempt from that Humber River port further to the north the following April would not be with out problems: before the women and children and final half of the men could be ferried to the awaiting Dutch escape vessel, the armed authorities arrived. The ship departed and those left behind were arrested. However, they were soon released and by August had managed to make their way to Amsterdam. The next dozen years would be spent in Holland: the first year in Amsterdam and the remainder in Leiden. For many, the voyage would not begin to conclude until the ship Mayflower brought them to New England in 1620. Others either came later or never completed the trip.
“Pilgrim 400” activities will begin on July 12, 2008 and continue for nine days through the 20th. “American inspired” activities such as corn-husking and Thanksgiving- related dinners are to be included. There are plans to publish a commemorative booklet for all the Immingham school children “to let them know of their town’s place in American – and world – history.” There is to be a short film made about the Pilgrims’ departure. Ms. McIsaac is going to present copies of William Bradford’s history “Of Plimoth Plantation” to the town and a “Pilgrims 400” page appears on http://www.shonamcisaac.com.
The Pilgrims live on in this port town of approximately 12,000 residents. There are the Allerton Elementary School and “The Pilgrims” soccer team. There are streets named Bradford Road, Mayflower Avenue, Pilgrim’s Way and Leyden Close. A memorial to the Scrooby contingent was erected there by the Anglo-American Society of nearby Hull in 1924 incorporating granite from Plymouth, MA.
Mayflower Quarterly editor Alice C. Teal writes of the welcome and hospitality of the officials of Immingham and neighboring towns during a Pilgrim Tour in 1997. While being served refreshments and tea accompanied by a talented musical group, “We were pleased to observe the American flag displayed from the flag pole at the municipal hall; and they were proud to call our attention to the flag which had been brought by a tour group a few years earlier.”