Friday, November 3, 2017

Along the Pilgrim Trail ~ John Howland of Fenstanton, Cambridgeshire, England

Along the Pilgrim Trail, Part 9

The church of St. Peter and St. Paul,
Fenstanton, Cambridgeshire

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.

Fenstanton in Cambridgeshire is the ancestral home of John Howland, the Mayflower passenger who is famous for having fallen off the ship halfway across the Atlantic Ocean.  He is also my 10th and 11th great grandfather, since I descend from two of his daughters, Hope and Desire. 

John Howland was the son of Henry Howland and his wife, Margaret, and the brother to Henry and Arthur Howland, who later came to New England and lived in Marshfield, Massachusetts and lived as Quakers.  John Howland came as an indentured servant to John Carver.  He signed the Mayflower Compact, and married fellow passenger, Elizabeth Tilley, who was left a 15 year old orphan when her parents and brother died that first winter in New England in 1620.  They had ten children, 88 grandchildren,  and many descendants.  

This church of St. Peter and St. Paul was built during the 1200s to the 1400s, over four centuries. The vicar and members of the current parish congregation met us at the church for a tour, and they even let some of us ring the church bell, which is named "John Howland".  As you can see in the photos below, there are many plaques to the Howland family inside the church. The members we met were quite curious about meeting some Howland descendants! 

Stay tuned!  My next blog post in this series will be about the church in Henlow where the Tilley family originated.  If you are a Howland descendant, you surely must be a Tilley descendant, too! 

Mayflower descendants explore the Fenstanton church

Three images on the wall of the church
One is the Jabez Howland house in Plymouth, and the other
is a copy of the Mayflower Compact.
The plaque reads:

In memory of HENRY HOWLAND
who was buried in the churchyard
of this parish on 17th May 1635 -
Father of John Howland a pilrim
to America on the Mayflower 1620
Erected by the Pilgrim John Howland Society 17th May 1966

I rang the John Howland bell in the church tower,
donated by the John Howland Society in 1981
A church member held a photo
of the John Howland bell
(a photo of a photo!)

Howland descendants posing in the church

Signing the guest register

Somewhere in this churchyard
John Howland's parents were buried
The baptismal font, it is very
possible John Howland was
baptized right here!

This is the plaque transcribed above

Fenstanton’s St. Peter and St. Paul Church: 

I have Two HOWLAND lineages!  Click here to see if we are cousins:

The Pilgrim John Howland Society website: 


Part 1 of this series "Babworth, Nottinghamshire":

Part 2 of this series "Scrooby Manor"

Part 3 of this series “Gainsborough, Lincolnshire”

Part 10 of this series TILLEY and Sampson (Where Elizabeth Tilley (John Howland's wife) was baptized in Henlow, Bedfordshire)! 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Along the Pilgrim Trail ~ John Howland of Fenstanton, Cambridgeshire, England”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted November 3, 2017, ( accessed [access date]). 

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