Five new Pilgrim-themed Embroideries have been produced for the Mayflower 400 commemorations featuring churches associated with the Pilgrim story in North Nottinghamshire.
The five embroideries depict the local village people near each of the main Pilgrim churches, with hand-stitched text about their inspirational preachers. The featured churches are All Saints at Babworth, St Helena’s in Austerfield, St Wilfrid’s in Scrooby, St Swithun’s in East Retford and St Peter & St Paul’s in Sturton le Steeple – these can all be found along the Pilgrims Trail.
The embroideries were created by a local group of talented embroiderers, who met most Friday mornings to stitch for two years, in a small but very supportive group. They also took their work out to local community functions to raise awareness of the heritage of the area and encourage participation by asking people to add a stitch.
The works have been embroidered on specially woven fabric using woollen threads. They have been carefully framed in oak for protection, as they will eventually be donated to the respective churches along with a map of the trail and the locations of the other embroideries.
Prior to this they can be viewed at Bassetlaw Museum in their exhibition called ‘Where It Began’ from Saturday 17 October 2020 – Saturday 9 January 2021 (when open – please check opening times given changes in opening hours due to lockdown and/or local restrictions).
Jenny King, one of the Pilgrim Embroiderers, has written a book charting the making of the Pilgrim Embroideries to commemorate the Mayflower 400 anniversary.
The book explains the processes undertaken and the embroidery stitches used, and it especially highlights the development of community involvement and friendships made during the two years of construction from idea to completion. It can be ordered via the publisher Bookwormof Retford.
On Saturday 7th March 2020, at The Well in Retford, Bassetlaw Christian Heritage (BCH) presented a group of nationally-recognised speakers to an audience from in and around Bassetlaw, including Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith, and Bassetlaw District Council Chairman, Debbie Merryweather.
Freedom and Tolerance is as important today as it was 400 years ago when local Separatist, Thomas Helwys, first advocated tolerance between people of all faiths and those of none. In the anniversary year of the Mayflower Pilgrims, our heritage can still teach us much about journeys, rebellion, and the freedoms we take for granted.
Bassetlaw MP, Brendan Clarke-Smith, opened the event giving thanks to the organisers and expressing a personal interest in the subjects being discussed.
Lord Beith spoke about Methodist heritage and its significance today. He referred to the heritage of one of the three elements that make up the Methodist church, the United Methodists, who were the most independent-minded and authority-challenging of Methodists, relating this to the significance of religious freedom and toleration.
Rev’d Dr Stuart Jennings who is a specialist in Nottinghamshire history at Warwick University and is an academic advisor to the National Civil War centre at Newark, spoke about faith and fighting in Nottinghamshire during the Civil War. Stuart explained the role of political, religious and human geography in the positioning of Nottinghamshire during the civil war and particularly the contribution of the Thornaugh family from Retford.
John Pontifex, who is Head of Press & Information for Aid to the Church in Need (UK), asked whether religious freedom has become an orphaned right. He gave moving, individual descriptions of the suffering of persecuted communities around the world today. John has travelled widely in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, investigated human rights violations relating to Christians and other faith minorities, and has interviewed survivors.
Local author and historian, Adrian Gray, was interviewed by Retford-based publisher, Angela Meads, of Bookworm. Adrian launched his new book, Restless Souls, Pilgrim Roots, an epic history of the people of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, showing how their peoples interconnected and spread ideas from the early 7th Century until 1660. Adrian went on to give an engaging and informative talk on an unfolding story of intriguing characters during periods of spiritual change, rebellion and death, emphasising the significant impact that local people have made.
Venue: The Well, Hospital Road, Retford, DN22 7BD – free event, all welcome
An epic history of the people who laid the foundations of the Christian faith in a Viking-ravaged land, then rebelled against what they saw as corruption of their Faith and Church. Adrian Gray’s latest book covers the two counties of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire showing how their peoples interconnected and spread ideas.
Running from the early 7th Century until 1660, Adrian Gray places great and intriguing figures in the context of their times and in an unfolding story of spiritual change, rebellion and sometimes death. Figures such as Saint Hugh of Lincoln, Thomas Cranmer, the architect of the Church of England, George Fox from Mansfield who formed the Quakers, the Mayflower Pilgrims and the first leaders of the Baptist Church are included. A range of characters stretching from Guthlac, whose supernatural experiences in the Fens became the first English biography, to Elizabeth Hooton, the Nottinghamshire Quaker who travelled the world and escaped death many times are also there.
The story also has its fair share of ‘villains’ including corrupt and venal bishops, despotic leaders who sent those who disagreed with them to the stake or the gallows, on both sides of the Atlantic, and one of Elizabethan England’s most sinister torturers.
ADRIAN GRAY has an MA in History from Cambridge University and is the author of over twenty books. He is well-known as the historical adviser to Pilgrims & Prophets Christian Heritage Tours and Bassetlaw Christian Heritage, which promote interest in the Christian heritage of the two counties of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.
Freedom and Tolerance is as important today as it was 400 years ago – in the anniversary year of the Mayflower Pilgrims, see what history can teach us about journeys, rebellion, and things we take for granted.
Speakers at the Freedom and Tolerance Forum this year include:
Lord Beith – Member of the House of Lords Constitution Committee and the Lord Speaker’s Committee on the size of the House. MP for Berwick upon Tweed, 1973-2015. Subject: Methodist Heritage and its significance today
Professor Elizabeth Tingle – Professor of Early Modern European History at De Montfort University, Leicester. She taught at the Universities of Plymouth and Northampton. Subject: Irish Catholic Refugees in Europe in the early 1600s
Rev’d Dr Stuart Jennings – Specialist in Nottinghamshire history, Warwick University. Subject: Faith and Fighting in Nottinghamshire during the Civil War
Mr John Pontifex – Head of Press & Information for Aid to the Church in Need (UK). Subject: Has Religious Freedom become an Orphaned Right?
This will be the fifth annual Tolerance Forum to be held in Retford. It provides a unique opportunity for the subject to be discussed in an open forum.
All Saints’ Parish Church, Babworth Road, Babworth, DN22 8HE
Saturday 8th (10am – 4pm) and Sunday 9th (12noon – 4pm) February 2020
Free admission – donations welcome
The 2020 Snowdrops Weekend at All Saints’ Parish Church in Babworth, the ‘Church in the Woodland’, is an annual pilgrimage made by many people, from a wide range of locations in and around Bassetlaw, and beyond! It is less than half an hour to walk from the centre of Retford to Babworth Church – and even closer from the railway station – a great opportunity to fulfil a New Year’s resolution. If you need to use a car, there is ample parking available at the church.
As well as taking a stroll around the churchyards, there are walks through the woods, providing a great breath of fresh air as spring starts the journey back to summer. Inside the church there will be a warm welcome and an even warmer hot drink and a piece of cake! Early birds will also be able to buy local produce and cards. There is disability access and toilet facilities inside the church.
At 11am on Saturday 8th February, local tour guide Maggy Watkins, will give a talk on the Mayflower Pilgrims and other members of the Separatist Movement. This is the year of the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival in America. This session will be an opportunity to find out everything you wanted to know about the Separatists but were afraid to ask!
Babworth Church is an outstanding location to visit (from May to September it is open every Saturday afternoon) as it is in many ways the ‘crucible’ of the Separatist movement where Richard Clifton preached, assisted by John Robinson, and where Mayflower Pilgrims William Bradford and William Brewster travelled to hear him, risking fines or imprisonment for doing so. Part of the Separatists Exhibition will also be on display in the church throughout the weekend.
As well as its historic and architectural interest, there are also several ‘Mousey Thompson’ mice to find, keeping younger visitors entertained. Refreshments will be available.
Saturday 7th March 2020, 10am – 1pm – free admission, all welcome
The Well, Hospital Road, Retford, DN22 7BD
Freedom and Tolerance is as important today as it was 400 years ago – in the anniversary year of the Mayflower Pilgrims, let’s see what history can teach us about journeys, rebellion, and things we take for granted.
Lord Beith – Member of the House of Lords Constitution Committee and the Lord Speaker’s Committee on the size of the House. MP for Berwick upon Tweed, 1973-2015
Subject: Methodist Heritage and its significance today
Lord Beith will refer to the heritage of one of the three elements that make up the Methodist church, the United Methodists, who were the most independent-minded and authority-challenging of Methodists, relating this to the significance of religious freedom and toleration.
Professor Elizabeth Tingle – Professor of Early Modern European History at De Montfort University, Leicester. Previously she taught at Plymouth University and the University of Northampton.
Subject: Irish Catholic Refugees in Europe in the early 1600s
Professor Tingle specialises in the history of the French Wars of Religion and in the European Catholic/Counter Reformations. She has just completed a project on long-distance pilgrimage in north-west Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Professor Tingle is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a member of the Royal Archaeological Institute and an officer of the Ecclesiastical History Society of Great Britain.
Rev’d Dr Stuart Jennings – Certificate coordinator for Historical Studies at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, University of Warwick, where he had also served across the university as a chaplain from 2006-2017. Specialist in Nottinghamshire history, Warwick University
Subject: Faith and Fighting in Nottinghamshire during the Civil War
Rev’d Dr Jennings received his doctorate from Nottingham Trent University for his work on Puritanism and Protestant Nonconformity in Nottinghamshire, 1600-1700. His book on Newark in the Civil War won the Alan Ball national prize for Local history and he is also the author of 2 books, 17 academic articles and a chapter in three collaborative volumes. He continues to serve as an academic advisor to the National Civil War centre at Newark.
Mr John Pontifex – Head of Press & Information for Aid to the Church in Need (UK).
Subject: Has Religious Freedom become an Orphaned Right?
In his 17 years with the Catholic charity for persecuted and other suffering Christians, John has travelled widely in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. He has investigated human rights violations relating to Christians and other faith minorities. He has visited locations where persecution has taken place, interviewing survivors and Church leaders.
John has acted as Editor-in-Chief of ACN’s Religious Freedom in the World, (latest report launched in the House of Lords in November 2018). The report examines the degree to which religious freedom is upheld in 196 countries around the globe. John is a regular media contributor, internationally, on the topic of persecuted Christians.
The first Retford Religious Tolerance Forum was held in 2016 to commemorate the death, in 1616, of Thomas Helwys, the first Baptist martyr, and co-founder, and original advocate of religious tolerance between Christians, Jews, Muslims, and those with no faith. Thomas Helwys was born in Gainsborough, but his family moved to Broxtowe Hall in Bilborough parish, which later became a centre for radical dissenting activism.
This event has been renamed “Freedom & Tolerance” to broaden the scope and better reflect issues of today. This will be the fifth annual Tolerance Forum to be held in Retford. It provides a unique opportunity for the subject to be discussed in an open forum.
Previous speakers have included Baroness Elizabeth Berridge (International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief), John Mann MP, Prof. John Coffey (University of Leicester), Rev Tony Peck (General Secretary of the European Baptist Federation), Imam Bakhtyar Pirzada (Eaton Hall), Dr David Appleby (University of Nottingham), Mr Phil Lyons (CEO National Holocaust Centre) Prof. Larry Kreitzer (Oxford University), Dr Martin Parsons (Barnabas Fund), and Dr Calum Miller (Oxford University).
Focuses on the people and their stories based on faith heritage, with their roots established in and around Bassetlaw, North Nottinghamshire. The region covered is centred on Retford, with a radius of around 30 miles, including parts of Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire.
This year’s Pilgrims Festival Art Exhibition took place on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th November, with attendance up and the quality of the art on display was outstanding.
This was the fourth year that Babworth Church has held the Pilgrims Art Exhibition, which is part of the Pilgrims Festival commemorating the Mayflower Pilgrim Families’ journey to America, marking the opening of the commemorative 400th year.
All work on display in Babworth Church was inspired by the Separatist and Mayflower Pilgrims’ story. Local artist, Gerry Fruin, was ‘in residence’, showing people how it was done. The Pilgrim Embroiderers were there, and Derek Turner, representing the Rotary Club of Retford, and Joan Turner, representing Retford Civic Society came to see the work first-hand. The Rotary Club of Retford and Retford Civic Society had kindly donated funds to the Pilgrim Embroiderers to enable them to complete their work. Derek became so inspired that he decided to lend a stitch or two adding tremendously to the value of the work!
On Saturday 23rd, there had been a fascinating talk on buttons by textile artist, Diane Hemsley which engaged the audience throughout. David Caseldine came from Worksop to give a talk on Worksop Priory, bringing with him a 400 year old ‘Breeches Bible’ which he showed to everyone. Later in the afternoon Three Piece Suite, who play baroque music entertained everyone so much that they all stopped looking at the art and sat and listened – they were brilliant.
On Sunday 24th, there was a talk by local author and historian, Adrian Gray who captivated people with his story of the Prophetess from Carlton in Lindrick of 1641. Prophecies of doom and redemption – the audience was asked to make its own mind up about what they believed – everyone was enthralled.
The crowds turned out in the rain to take part in the Pilgrims Festival Illuminate Parade on Friday 22nd November.
This was the fifth year that Retford has taken part in the commemorations of the Mayflower Pilgrim Families’ journey to America. These events form the opening of the commemorative year leading to the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s voyage in 2020 .
Retford’s event on 22nd was the fourth in the Pilgrim Roots area following Gainsborough on 16th, Bawtry on 17th and Boston on 21st November, with increasing numbers taking part and turning out to watch. Retford’s event was even more successful!
Retford’s lantern parade started outside Wilko’s on Carolgate at 5.30pm and walked to St Swithun’s Parish Church. The parade was led by the Chairman of Bassetlaw District Council, Cllr Deborah Merryweather and Retford Mayor, Garry Clarkson. Local uniformed groups, schools and voluntary organisations came with lanterns that they had made in workshops with artist Kirsty Champ. Specially commissioned large lanterns were made by artists Julie Willoughby and Jess Kemp. The pipers from the Retford Pipe and Drum band provided the music and members of the Retford Lions helped with the larger lanterns and with marshalling the parade.
There was an all-age event at St Swithun’s Parish Church led by Rev’d Mark Cantrill, including performances by Rhubarb Theatre and the Songbirds choir, followed by the ever popular ‘400’ photograph in the churchyard, and a fantastic light projection show on the side of the church commissioned from specialists Electric Egg .
Refreshments were provided afterwards inside the church, and Bassetlaw Christian Heritage Chair, Rick Brand, presented Veda Brocklesby, representing St Swithun’s, and Dr Anna Scott with bouquets as thanks for their support and help since the first Pilgrims Festival.
Bassetlaw Christian Heritage (BCH) is delighted to have received funding from Arts Council England, with support from the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham, and District Councillors Carolyn Troop, Helen Richards and Joan Sanger via their community grants.
Visitor numbers to the area are already increasing, and are forecast to increase further, as 2020 grows closer. The story of the Mayflower Pilgrim families and their roots in the area in and around Bassetlaw, North Nottinghamshire, is becoming better known.
You can find out more about the story on this website or by visiting the Pilgrims Gallery in Bassetlaw Museum, Retford, the Pilgrims Museum at The Hub in Churchgate, Retford, and the Pilgrims Room at the United Reformed Church in Gainsborough.
BCH is grateful to Arts Council England, the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham, Bassetlaw District Councillors, St Swithun’s Parish Church, the Methodist Church, Scouts, Guides and schools in Bassetlaw for their continuing support.
There are plenty of events happening in and around North Nottinghamshire as part of this year’s Pilgrims Festival – marking the official opening of the Mayflower 400 commemorative year!
Retford’s Illuminate event
Friday 22nd November 2019
This year’s Illuminate event in Retford will be on Friday 22nd November 2019, starting at 5.30pm. This will be the fifth year that Retford commemorates the Mayflower Pilgrim Families’ journey to America, as we arrive at 2020, the 400th anniversary of their arrival in America. This year’s events mark the opening of the commemorative year, and have been made possible thanks to funding from Arts Council England.
This year’s Pilgrims Festival Illuminate events have been successfully will start in Gainsborough with Illuminate on 16th November, followed by Bawtry on 17th November, with increasing numbers taking part and turning out to watch. Let’s make Retford’s event even more successful!
Retford will see its lantern parade assembling from 5pm outside Wilko’s on Carolgate and walking to St Swithun’s Parish Church, starting at 5.30pm. Local uniformed groups, schools and voluntary organisations have been making lanterns with artists and will be taking part in the parade to support this local community event.
The parade will arrive at St Swithun’s Parish Church at around 6pm where there will be an all-age event at St Swithun’s Parish Church led by Rev’d Mark Cantrill, including performances by Rhubarb Theatre and the Songbirds choir, followed by the ever popular ‘400’ photograph in the churchyard, and a fantastic light projection show on the side of the church commissioned from Electric Egg. Refreshments will be available afterwards inside the church. Everyone is very welcome – please wear appropriate warm clothing – it is November.
Rhubarb Theatre delivers creative, original and theatrical experiences which stimulate children’s imaginations. Set up in 2000, they have grown to a full time professional touring company and registered charity, specialising in education and entertainment performance for children and families
Babworth Arts Weekend
Saturday 23rd-Sunday 24th November
This year’s Pilgrims Festival Art Exhibition will be on Saturday 23rd (10am-4pm) and Sunday 24th (12-4pm) November. This will be the fourth year that Babworth Church has held the Pilgrims Art Exhibition.
All work on display in Babworth Church will have been inspired by the Separatist and Mayflower Pilgrims story. Any artists may provide their work which should be delivered to Babworth Church on Thursday 21st November between 12pm and 5pm with a short identifying summary. The Art Exhibition will be open to the public from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 23rd November and between 12pm and 4pm on Sunday 24th November.
Entry to the event is free, refreshments are available for a small charge, and donations to the Church are always welcome. The Pilgrim Embroiderers will be there, so you can see how it is done!
Here is the programme of events for the weekend:
Saturday 23rd November: • 11am: A talk on buttons by local crafter, Diane Hemsley • 12pm: A talk on Worksop Priory by Priory tour guide, David Caseldine • 2pm: Three Piece Suite play baroque music Sunday 24th November • 3pm: A talk by local author and historian, Adrian Gray on themes from his new book arriving in 2020
Worksop’s Illuminate event
Wednesday 27th November
For the first time there will be a Pilgrims Festival Illuminate event in Worksop, thanks to a grant from Arts Council England to BCH. It will be on Wednesday 27th November 2019.
Illuminate will start at 5.00pm for 5.30pm with all-age event at The Crossing, Newcastle Avenue, with performances by Rhubarb Theatre and the Songbirds choir. There will then be a parade to Worksop Priory where a ‘400’ photograph will be taken outside the west door, and a fantastic light projection show will take place on the outside of the south wall.
Mince pies and mulled wine will be available inside the Priory. There will be the chance to preview the Priory’s Christmas Tree Festival as well as to see the larger illuminated lanterns close up. Everyone is very welcome – please wear appropriate warm clothing – it is November.
Thursday 28th November
There will be a Thanksgiving Dinner, with entertainment, at Spencer’s on the Square, in Retford, at 7pm on Thursday 28th November (Thanksgiving Day).
If you’re looking for an excuse for a good night out or a location for a work Christmas ‘Do’, contact 01777 800230, or call in to book (£30 each).
An impressive restoration programme has just ended resulting in a breath-taking transformation of the town’s 12th century Norman Church.
A thousand year old wall carving…a 17th Century Fox’s Book of Martyrs hidden within its walls.. and much else to learn about. Find the 14th century Crusader Crosses and the 15th century skull from the battle of the War of the Roses.. a Gateford girl’s part in the execution of Henry Vlll’s fifth wife Catherine Howard.
No need to book – just come along and enjoy an afternoon here at the Priory. The Prioy don’t charge admission but will ask for a donation if you have enjoyed your time there, otherwise it’s free.
Retford will see this year’s Pilgrims Festival Illuminate Lantern Parade walk along Carolgate to the Market Square, starting at 5.30pm on Friday 22nd November 2019. The parade will arrive at St Swithun’s Parish Church at around 6pm where there will be a service starting at 6.15pm, including performances, followed by the ever popular ‘400’ photograph in the churchyard and light refreshments afterwards. Everyone is welcome.
Discussions are currently taking place with local uniformed groups, schools and voluntary organisations about how they can take part and support this event. Further details about lantern-making workshops in October and November will be available on the BCH website soon.
This will be the fifth year that BCH will work with Retford to commemorate the sailing of the Mayflower Pilgrim Families’ journey to the ‘New World’, as part of the countdown to 2020, the 400th anniversary. There are also events planned at Gainsborough on 16th , and at Austerfield and Bawtry on 17th November 2019.
New for 2019! The Mayflower Pilgrims Story comes to Worksop!
There will be activities at The Crossing, on Newcastle Street, followed by a parade along Memorial Avenue to Worksop Priory where there will be activities telling the Mayflower Pilgrims’ Story and why it relates to Worksop. BCH is looking to engage with schools and uniformed groups from the Worksop area interested in actively participating in these events, and volunteers to help on the day are always welcome.
The very popular Arts Exhibition at Babworth Church returns on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th November featuring works inspired by the Pilgrims Story – all are welcome – for further information contact us. Refreshments will be available, and this year there will be some exciting new exhibits and a range of talks and performances throughout the weekend, and entry is free!
Music events are currently being discussed and details will be available on the BCH website later in the year.
There will be a Thanksgiving Dinner, with entertainment, at Spencer’s on the Square in Retford, on Thursday 28th November, which really is Thanksgiving Day. If you are looking for an excuse for a good night out or a location for a work Christmas ‘Do’, contact 01777 800230.
BCH, working as part of the Pilgrim Roots consortium, is organising this year’s activities, supported by the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham and individual Bassetlaw District Councillors.
Visitor numbers to the area are already increasing, and are forecast to increase further, as 2020 grows closer. The story of the Mayflower Pilgrim families and their roots in the area in and around Bassetlaw, North Nottinghamshire, is becoming better known. It is hoped that more events and activities relating to this story will be developed throughout next year.
To find out more about the story, The Hub in Churchgate, Retford, has a Pilgrims Room that contains an overview of the Mayflower Pilgrims and their roots, and the Pilgrims Gallery in Bassetlaw Museum will be officially open from 19th September 2019.
BCH is looking for volunteers at all levels of engagement – whether you want to join in the planning or help with refreshments, we would love to hear from you.
BCH is grateful to the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham, Bassetlaw District Councillors, and Churches Together in Retford for their continuing support.