Friday, October 13, 2017

Along the Pilgrim Trail ~ Harwich, Essex, England

Along the Pilgrim Trail, Part 4

Vincent and I recently took the General Society of Mayflower Descendants Historic SitesTour of England, Wales and The Netherlands along with 41 other enthusiast participants (known as "The 43").  We traced the footsteps of the Separatists and the Mayflower passengers and crew all around these countries with some amazing tour directors, guides, historians and authors.  We were given access to places off the usual tourist trails, and behind the scenes.  We had a wonderful time, and I will be blogging about it over the next few weeks.

Harwich in Essex, England is an old coastal town on the North Sea.  It was once the home of the Royal Navy Dockyard from 1652 until 1992.  Today the international ferry runs from here to the Hook of Holland (Hoek van Holland).   In our tour, tracing the footsteps of the Pilgrims, we learned that the Captain of the Mayflower, and part owner of the ship, Christopher Jones, Jr. (about 1570 – 1622) was born here.  Harwich is currently the home of the Harwich Mayflower Project (see below).

"The appraisment and valuation of one fortopsail
and one maintopsail one forebunnett and piece of
forsail taken up at sea (by C'psr Jones of Harwich,
 Mr. of the Mayflower of the same place) near Gore end.
Praised by us, John Holborne and James Seger,
mariners, the 14th of January 1610
PRO, HCA 12/74
This plaque was on display at the Harwich Mayflower Project
Christopher Jones, Sr. and his wife, Sybil, lived in Harwich, and had a son named Christopher Jones, Jr. about 1570.  The Jones familes, for both generations, lived in a house on Kings Head Street only one block from the waterfront.  Across the street is a pub named “The Alma” which is where Jones’s first wife, Sara Twitt lived.  Christopher Jones and Sara Twitt married on 27 December 1593 at the St. Nicholas Church.  She died in 1603 with no surviving children.  Captain Jones married a second time later in 1603 to Josian, the widow of Richard Gray, at St. Nicholas Church in Harwich.  He had eight children with Josian, and named one of his ships Josian.

Kings Head Street

Captain Christopher Jones House

The Alma Pub across the street from the Jones House

In 1609 Christopher Jones became part owner of the Mayflower.  The Jones family removed to Rotherhithe, London in 1611, where he lived until he died in 1622, shortly after returning from New England. 

I’ll be blogging about Rotherhithe a bit later… stay tuned!

On the waterfront at Harwich is this cute, tiny, free museum
about the Mayflower and Captain Christopher Jones

After touring the waterfront, we were treated to a tour of the Harwich Mayflower Project.  The team at this venture have been endeavoring to build a replica of the Mayflower for the 400th anniversary of the voyage to New England.  They would like to have it finished by 2020 and sail it to Plymouth, Massachusetts.  They have a long way to go on fundraising several million pounds, and to starting to build the ship.

They are assembling the keel of the Mayflower replica

Every penny and pound helps
this effort in Harwich

Part 1 of this series "Babworth, Nottinghamshire":

Part 2 of this series “Scrooby Manor, Nottinghamshire, England”


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Along the Pilgrim Trail ~ Harwich, Essex, England”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted October 13, 2017, ( accessed [access date]). 

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