Monday, December 11, 2017

Along the Pilgrim Trail ~ The Speedwell is Repaired at Dartmouth, while the Mayflower Waits

Mayflower and Speedwell in Dartmouth Harbor, by Leslie Wilcox, at Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts

Along the Pilgrim Trail, Part 21

In my last blog post some of the Pilgrims stayed in Leiden, Holland with their leader, Reverend John Robinson, while a small group of them left Delfshaven on 22 July 1620 aboard the Speedwell to join the Mayflower in Southampton.  Both ships were headed to Virginia in the New World.

The Separatists from Leiden joined other English Separatists in Southampton, along with other colonists arranged by the investors of the expedition.  Since the Speedwell was leaking, they spent two weeks in Southampton for repairs before both ships setting out to sea again on 5 August 1620.

Soon after leaving Southampton, the Speedwell developed more leaks again, so the two ships headed into port at Dartmouth.  They anchored at Bayard’s Cove for repairs.  When they finally set out to sea again, they got no further than Land’s End when the Speedwell again began to leak.  Both ships quickly returned, and it was decided to abandon the Speedwell.  Eleven passengers from the Speedwell boarded the Mayflower, and other 20 Speedwell passengers went home to London while the investors searched for a new vessel.  The Mayflower with 102 passengers headed to Plymouth, Devonshire before leaving for the New World.  The Speedwell’s replacement was the Fortune, which didn’t reach New England until 9 November 1621.

Dartmouth Harbor

Here, off Bayard's Cove, the Mayflower (180 tons) with London colonists,
and the Speedwell (60 tons) with Leyden Pilgrims - some 122 in all -
lay at anchor from August 23 (New Style) to about August 31, 1620.
These ships had sailed from Southampton on August 15.  They put in at Dartmouth
to repair the leaking Speedwell.  They sailed from Dartmouth for America.

When about 300 miles W. S. W. of Land's End, the unseaworthiness of the
Speedwell made it necessary to put back to Plymouth, Devon, on Sep-
tember 7.  The Speedwell was abandoned and on September 18 the Mayflower
alone set sail again for America with 102 passengers.  Their spiritual
leader was Elder William Brewster.  The Mayflower cast anchor in Cape
Cod harbor, New England, on November 21, 1620 off what is now Province-
town, arriving at Plymouth on December 26.

On November 21 the Mayflower Compact, a charter of self-government
--"The First American Constitution" -- was made law by 41 signatories.  Thus
Dartmouth took part in establishing civil and religious liberty
in the New World.

The General Society of Mayflower Descendants (U.S.A. 1897)
Waldo Morgan Allen, Governor General

On their first Pilgrimage - 152 by planes - to the Netherlands and England
September 22 - October 6, 1955.  Dartmouth, October 2..
335 years after the sailing of the Mayflower

Our tour spent a lovely day at Dartmouth.  It is a tourist destination on the mouth of the Dart River in Devonshire.   There is a lovely castle at the mouth of the river, and small fortified tower next to Bayard’s Cove.  You can see these forts in photos of Dartmouth, and in many paintings of the Speedwell at port in Dartmouth (see the top of this blog post).  Bayard’s Cove has several historic plaques and signs about the Speedwell and the Pilgrim Fathers.

Three hungry Pilgrims eating lunch at the Bayard's Cove Inn
Yours Truly, Vincent and Barbara William, the Historic Sites Tour director

Next to Bayard’s Cove was a picturesque little inn built in 1390.  I knew that this building was standing while our ancestors were waiting for repairs to be made to the Speedwell in 1620, so we stopped there for a quick sandwich during our tour.  It was warm and cozy inside, and a perfect spot to soak in the historic atmosphere.  There is also a historic museum a few blocks away, with information on Dartmouth and displays about the Speedwell and the Mayflower.  During World War II Dartmouth was a departure point for the D Day Landings in Normandy, and information on this era is also on display in the museum and commemorated at a waterfront park. The town of Dartmouth was one of my favorite stops on our trip to England.  Perhaps the Pilgrims enjoyed their stay here as much as I did!

The Dartmouth Museum (see the link below)

In my next blog post I will describe Plymouth, Devonshire, where the Mayflower finally departed for the New World on 6 September 1620, very late in the year for crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

Bayard’s Cove Inn
Dartmouth Museum

Other blog posts in this series:

Part 1 of this series "Babworth, Nottinghamshire":

Part 2 of this series "Scrooby Manor"

Part 3 of this series “Gainsborough, Lincolnshire”:

Part 4 of this series "Harwich, Essex, home of the Mayflower"

Part 5 this series "Stephen Hopkins of Upper Clatford, Hampshire"

Part 6 of this series "William Mullins of Dorking, Surrey"

Part 7 of this series “Edward Winslow of Droitwich, Worcestershire”

Part 8 of this series "The Fullers of Reddenhall, Norfolk":

Part 9 of this series "John Howland of Fenstanton, Cambridgeshire":

Part 10 of this series "Tilley and Sampson of Henlow, Bedfordshire":

Part 11 of this series "William Bradford of Austerfield, Yorkshire":

Part 12 of this series "Francis Eaton of Bristol":

Part 13 of this series "James Chilton, Robert Cushman of Canterbury, Kent, England":

Part 14 of this series "Fishtoft, Lincolnshire where the Pilgrims were betrayed":

Part 15 of this series "Boston, Lincolnshire, where the Pilgrims were jailed":

Part 16 of this series "Immingham, Lincolnshire to Holland":

Part 17 of this series “In Exile in Amsterdam”:

Part 18 of this series “St. Pieterskerk in Leiden, The Netherlands”:

Part 19 of this series "Touring Leiden":
Part 20 of this series "Delfshaven, Holland" 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Along the Pilgrim Trail ~  The Speedwell is Repaired at Dartmouth, while the Mayflower Waits", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 11, 2017, ( accessed [access date]). 

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