Recent news from our friends at Sherwood Forest Trust announcing a commemorative tree planting at Babworth church – 17th March 2021:
400 years ago, the Mayflower Pilgrims left England and set out for America.
A number of the most influential and important Pilgrims came from North Nottinghamshire and to mark its seminal place in the Mayflower story, the Sherwood Forest Trust has planted a commemorative oak at Babworth Church – where William Brewster and Reverend Richard Clifton delivered their sermons.
Dr Patrick Candler of the Sherwood Forest Trust explains: “We wanted to commemorate the role of Nottinghamshire in the Mayflower story and what better way than to use the most noted of our county’s natural resources. The oak is the most emblematic English tree, famed for its beauty, strength and longevity. And the Pilgrim story shows how from ‘little acorns’ as they say, great things can grow.
The Trust is very grateful for the kind permission of the Church and local landowner, Sir Jack Whitaker, to plant this specimen oak, which was provided by Green Mile Trees of Babworth.
Peter Swinscoe, Babworth Church Warden said:” Babworth Church has an important part to play in the development of the thinking of the Pilgrims who were preached to by the Reverend Richard Clifton in the years before the sailing of the Mayflower in 1620. This superb tree will still be growing in our churchyard one hundred years from now!”
The ceremony included a selection of Brewster’s sermons read by actor Charles Cromwell and the oak tree was blessed by the Reverend Richard Hanford.
The Trust appreciates the financial support given by Bassetlaw District Council and Nottinghamshire County Council to enable them to organise this project.
Oaks are a special tree in Nottinghamshire. Sherwood Forest and its mighty landmark, the 1200 year old ‘Major Oak’, have fascinated tourists since American writer Washington Irving hymned its glories in the 1830s.
It is well known that Plymouth, in south west England, was the embarkation point for the Mayflower – the merchant ship that in September 1620 set off with its 102 passengers to sail halfway across the known world.
Less well known is that the story of the Mayflower Pilgrims actually began some 300 miles north in the counties of Lincolnshire, South Yorkshire and, especially Nottinghamshire. This is why we call this ‘Pilgrim Roots’ country.
A community history project in North Notts today, ‘Pilgrim Roots’ explores the Midlands’ origins of the Mayflower story, and the places and communities affected by it – from the attractive market town of Retford, which today hosts the Pilgrims Gallery museum, to the ‘People of the First Light’ – the native American Wampanoag people encountered by the Pilgrims, some 5000 of whom still reside in New England.
For further details on the Mayflower 400 Legacy Oaks Planting project, please contact Sherwood Forest Trust.