Friday, December 8, 2017

Along the Pilgrim Trail ~ The Speedwell leaves the port of Delfshaven to join The Mayflower

Along the Pilgrim Trail, Part 20

Delfshaven, where the Pilgrim Fathers left Holland for the New World

After a year in Amsterdam, and eleven years in Leiden, the exiled Separatists decided to move to the New World.  In the Netherlands they were facing an imminent war with Spain, and they did not approve of the liberal Dutch culture.  They made an agreement with Merchant Adventurers in London to finance their voyage.  The Separatists traveled by boat from Leiden to Delfshaven where they gathered with friends and family to say goodbye before boarding the Speedwell on 22 July 1620.  They joined the Mayflower in Southampton and started out to cross the Atlantic for Virginia.

When the Leiden congregation was in Delfshaven, they gathered at the Old Church.  This building was built in 1417 as St. Anthony Chapel, Anthoniuskapel, but after the Reformation it was a protestant church, Hervormde Gemeente Delfshaven.  Today it is known as the Pilgrim Fathers Church.  There are many displays and objects in the museum inside.

Pilgrim Fathers Church

"In 1608, a hundred English Puritans fled to the tolerant Netherlands to practice their strict religion.  They were welcomed in Leiden, where after nearly twelve years they decided to emigrate to the New World.  On July 22, 1620, "The Pilgrim Fathers" prayed together on the quays of Delfshaven for the last time, before half of them boarded the Speedwell for the New World.  But the Speedwell proved to be unseaworthy.  Only the Mayflower, the ship that joined the emigration in England, was capable of the journey.  After months of hardship and many deaths, they founded their colony in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where they managed to survive with the help of the Native Americans.  William Bradford was the leader of the colony for a good thirty years and decided to celebrate their first harvest with the Native American people.  This tradition is still celebrated as the holiday known as Thanksgiving."

A stained glass window inside the church
commemorating The Speedwell ship

What happened after the Separatists left Holland and joined the Merchant Adventurers' ship the Mayflower at Southampton? Stay tuned to this blog for the next post.

The Pilgrim Fathers Church, Delfshaven website (in English):   


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":


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Along the Pilgrim Trail ~ The Speedwell leaves the port of Delfshaven to join The Mayflower", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 8, 2017, ( accessed [access date]). 

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