Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Along The Pilgrim Trail ~ James Chilton and Canterbury, Kent, England

Along the Pilgrim Trail, #13

St. Paul without the Walls, Canterbury, Kent

Vincent and I recently took the General Society of Mayflower Descendants Historic Sites Tour 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.

It is possible that James Chilton (about 1556 - 1620) was born in Canterbury, Kent, England.   He was made a freeman in 1583 in Canterbury, and was described as a tailor. His eight children were born and baptized here, at the church of St. Paul-without-the-walls, and then removed to Sandwich where he had three more children.  The name of his wife is not on any record. This church gets its curious name because it is outside of the original medieval walled city of Canterbury.

Sometime after 1609, when his wife was charged with a secret burial of a child, they left for Leiden, Holland.  He was recorded in Leiden when he sought the services of a local doctor after being stoned in a religious riot in 1619.  His oldest daughter, Isabella, married Roger Chandler in Leiden on 2 July 1615. Another daughter, Angel, married Robert Nelson in Leiden in 1622, and remarried in Leiden to Daniel Pietersz in 1636, and to Matthijs Tilligem in 1637.  A daughter, Christina, married Joris Abrahamsz in Leiden in 1635, and to Dionys Van Steenstraten in Leiden in 1636.

James, his unknown wife, and their youngest daughter, Mary, went to New England on board the Mayflower.  James and his wife died that first winter in the New World, but his daughter survived.   James Chilton is famous for being the oldest passenger on board the Mayflower, about 64 years old.  Isabella and her husband Roger Chandler came to Plymouth around 1629.

Canterbury Cathedral

While we were in Canterbury with the Mayflower Tour we also visited the famous cathedral. It's gorgeous exterior was under scaffolding, but we enjoyed the church very much. This cathedral was the site of the murder of St. Thomas Becket in 1170, and is now a holy place and the mother church for Anglican community.  It was a place of pilgrimage for many years.

The place where St. Thomas was martyred

Steps worn by centuries of pilgrims

Robert Cushman (1577 - 1625), who grandfathered, many Mayflower descendants, had apprenticeship records near Canterbury Cathedral at the church of St. George the Martyr.  He was apprenticed to a grocer in 1597.  This church was destroyed in World War II by German bombing, but the tower still remains.  It was also where the playwright Christopher Marlowe, and contemporary of William Shakespeare, was baptized.  There was a plaque to Marlowe, but no signage for Cushman here.

Robert Cushman was in Leiden, Holland with the Separatists.  He spent much time preparing the group for their colony in the New World, and was a purchasing agent for the Virginia Company. He wrote a book "Cry of a Stone" in 1619, which was published in 1642, an account of the Separtist's years in Leiden.  He came to New England in 1621 on board the Fortune, with his son Thomas Cushman, who married Mary Allerton in Plymouth in 1636.

St. George The Martyr church tower
home church of Robert Cushman

30TH MAY 1598

Part 1 of this series "Babworth, Nottinghamshire":

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

Part 5 this series "Upper Clatford, Hampshire"

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Along the Pilgrim Trail ~ James Chilton and Canterbury, Kent, England", Nutfield Genealogy, posted November 14, 2017, (  https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2017/11/along-pilgrim-trail-james-chilton-and.html: accessed [access date]).

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