Illuminate “One small candle” Thanksgiving success

People from across Bassetlaw (North Nottinghamshire), Lincolnshire, South Yorkshire and beyond took part in the ‘One Small Candle’ event on Thanksgiving evening last week (Thursday 26th November). Many of them photographed their lanterns and shared them with the Pilgrim Roots project and on social media using the hashtag #OneSmallCandle. There were even photographs from Edinburgh, North Wales and Plymouth.

#OneSmallCandle beneath the William Bradford window at St Helena’s Church, Austerfield

Although Thanksgiving is an event celebrated mainly in the United States, organisers of this year’s Pilgrims Festival suggested that people in the UK might use it as an opportunity to give thanks for something in their own lives, whatever that might be.

The Pilgrim Roots areas of Bassetlaw, West Lindsey, Boston and Doncaster are central to the story of the Mayflower Pilgrims. This year, which commemorates the 400th anniversary of the arrival in North America of the Mayflower Pilgrims, was meant to include many parades and events as the ‘grand finale’ following six years of events building up to it. This was not to be.

An Illuminate lantern jar by Stephanie Baines

However, not to be deterred, the teams at Bassetlaw District Council’s Pilgrims Gallery in Retford, and at West Lindsey District Council, assisted by Bassetlaw Christian Heritage, took the Illuminate ‘one small candle’ events out to people through a combination of locally distributed publications and online.

Bassetlaw Christian Heritage also worked with Bassetlaw District Council’s Pilgrims Gallery on putting together the Online Babworth Arts Festival. Prevented by COVID-19 from holding the usual annual exhibition at Babworth Church, it went online and features paintings, photographs, videos, audio, music, and poetry. This proved so popular that the event has been extended through to Christmas 2020.

Pilgrims Gallery Heritage Engagement Officer, Isabelle Richards, said: “It has been great to work together to reach out to people in this 400th anniversary year of the Mayflower Pilgrims. The ‘One Small Candle’ project has gone really well, as has the Online Arts Festival, and has enabled us to connect with one another positively while we are not able to join together in the usual way.”

A lantern outside St Swithun’s Church, Retford

The Illuminate “One Small Candle” activity in Bassetlaw, North Nottinghamshire has been organised by Bassetlaw District Council Pilgrims Gallery at Bassetlaw Museum, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and supported by Bassetlaw Christian Heritage.

Pilgrim Roots is a regional partnership including Bassetlaw District Council, West Lindsey District Council, Bassetlaw Christian Heritage and other organisations in the Lincolnshire, Bassetlaw and South Yorkshire area.

Babworth Arts Festival opens online!

The annual Pilgrim inspired art event at Babworth Church near Retford is brought to you online for 2020.

Babworth Church Warden Peter Swinscoe at the 2017 arts festival

This popular event usually takes place in All Saints’ Church, showcasing pilgrim inspired art by local people. Due to the covid-19 pandemic, the exhibition is being hosted on the Pilgrim Roots website, where it can be enjoyed from the safety of your own home.

There’s a fantastic collection of entries related to our local Pilgrims’ stories and their wider context. Entries feature the Pilgrim Churches, the Pilgrims themselves, and include photography, paintings, illustrations, and embroidery.

Scroll through the exhibition and perhaps listen to a talk as well.

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Pilgrims’ arrival in North America and the exhibition can be viewed until Saturday 28th November 2020. If the number of visits is high enough, it may be extended – so why not visit today?

All work on display in the exhibition was inspired, in some way, by the Separatist and Mayflower Pilgrims stories. There is a range of paintings, music and other art forms many of which have not been displayed before – certainly not in this format.

The Pilgrim Embroideries are included, as is a link to a video of Jenny King, the lead embroiderer, explaining about their work. Thanks to everyone who contributed a stitch over the years and to those who bought cards or who donated to the framing.

There are videos about the role of Babworth church from “Where it all Began”; on the Carlton Prophetess by local historian and author Adrian Gray; a music performance from the Doncaster Waites; and from international musician, Leah Stuttard, singing an early 17th century hymn, followed by a 13th century harp instrumental.

This exhibition has been kindly hosted by Babworth Church for the past four years, and has been an important part of the Pilgrims Festival which has commemorated the Mayflower Pilgrim Families’ journey to North America in 1620. Anyone wishing to support Babworth Church can get in touch via the Pilgrim Roots website ‘Get in Touch’ form at the end of the Art exhibition.

Bassetlaw Christian Heritage (BCH) is delighted to have received support from Bassetlaw District Council which, in turn has been supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and Pilgrim Roots. Extra special thanks to the team at the Pilgrims Gallery at Bassetlaw Museum for their hard work and inspiration and to all of the local artists for their brilliant work.

To find out more about the story, please take a look around our website, or Pilgrim Roots for the Pilgrims Gallery in Bassetlaw Museum, Retford, the Mayflower Pilgrims Visitor Centre at The Hub in Churchgate, Retford, and the Mayflower Room at the United Reformed Church in Gainsborough (Government restrictions allowing – please check before travelling).

Pilgrims Festival 2020: Online Babworth Arts Exhibition, 21-28 November

Our vision is to successfully deliver an exhibition of arts and craft works and performances inspired by the Separatists/Mayflower Pilgrims stories in Bassetlaw, North Nottinghamshire, as part of the Pilgrims Festival activities in November each year.

In 2016, the first event took place at Babworth Church and there has been an event each year since, with increasing numbers of exhibits from a wider range of artists and larger numbers of visitors.

In 2020, Covid 19 has set us significant challenges. However, technology comes to the rescue – this year we are asking artists to record their work and give some background information to it. The exhibit may be the photograph of the work and/or the work within an environment – artist’s choice!

There is no selection process or fee to enter. Artists may offer their work for sale or not as they wish – if they are selling, they will need their own means of doing so. No commission will be charged for work sold. There are no age limits.

All work should be inspired by the Separatist/Mayflower Pilgrims Stories – this does not mean they have to be pictures of Mayflower ships – they should be inspired by the stories, however they are interpreted. After the time of the exhibition, images and recordings may be retained for ongoing reference and communications.

Any medium may be used with due regard to its suitability in the environments and locations exhibiting the work and the health and safety of the public. The organiser reserves the right to take down any unsuitable materials.

Work should be sent to by Friday 13th November; with each piece should be the artist’s name and contact details, a title/short description (200 words max.) of how the work relates to the Separatist/Mayflower Pilgrims stories, the medium used, and a price (if offered for sale). All work supplied (photographs, films etc) will become the property of the organiser and will be used entirely at the organiser’s discretion for publicity and communications purposes in line with the theme of the exhibition. The organiser of this virtual event is Bassetlaw Christian Heritage CIC.

Programmes will be created from the information supplied and these will be made available.

In 2020, we are inviting talks and performance recordings with some relevance to the story of the Separatists, however connected, and these may be included in the exhibition.

North Nottinghamshire’s Pilgrim Embroideries & a new book

Five new Pilgrim-themed Embroideries have been produced for the Mayflower 400 commemorations featuring churches associated with the Pilgrim story in North Nottinghamshire.

The Pilgrim Embroiderers at work

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.

Babworth Church Pilgrim embroidery

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.

Pilgrim Embroiderers at Misterton Show

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).

Rick Brand (BCH Chair), Cllr Hellen Richards and the Pilgrim Embroiderers at Babworth Church

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 Bookworm of Retford.

Order Jenny King’s Pilgrim Embroideries book from Bookworm of Retford