Thanksgiving/Illuminate 2021 Art Exhibition

Babworth Art Exhibition returned to Babworth Church again this year.

On Saturday 27th November 2021, the exhibition was opened at 10am by Isabelle Richards, Heritage Engagement Officer at the Pilgrims Gallery in Bassetlaw Museum, and Revd David Gough, Area Dean, Bassetlaw & Bawtry Deanery.

There were fifty-seven outstanding paintings and pottery exhibited from nineteen talented artists, on the themes of Thanksgiving, Mayflower Pilgrims and the Separatists. Artists who exhibited included Shaun Clark, Gerry Fruin, Margaret Harrod, Jenny King, Elaine Nash, Margaret Presley, Helen Richards, Paul Straker, Mick Thomas, Ann Wildgust, and members of Brushstrokes Art Group.

At 12noon on Saturday, local tour guide, Maggy Watkins gave an informative talk on the Separatists and Puritans entitled Saints and Strangers. On Sunday 28th November, at 3pm, local historian and author, Adrian Gray gave a fascinating talk on the myths with The Afterlife of the Mayflower Pilgrims.

This popular exhibition has now been established for six years with only a pandemic-enforced break in 2020. The weather did its best to deter visitors, threatening everything from storm to snow, but over fifty people found their way through to enjoy the building, artworks, talks and refreshments. The online exhibition will continue until the end of the year at

The next major event at Babworth Church will be the Snowdrops Festival in February 2022 – an opportunity for a healthy walk from Retford with some great scenery.


On 25th November 2021, the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving meal was commemorated.

This was a meal which was shared between the newly arrived settlers to North America – the Mayflower Pilgrims – and the local population (the Mashpee Wampanoag) who had formed an alliance with them. However, Thanksgiving has been marked, since 1970, among many Native Americans as a National Day of Mourning.

Millions of Americans mark Thanksgiving as a celebration of family and an opportunity to give thanks for what they have. People travel across the country to enjoy a meal together, usually featuring turkey, but the original meal would probably have consisted of venison, shellfish and cereals.

The Babworth Art Exhibition has been a collaboration between BCH, All Saints’ Church Babworth, and Bassetlaw District Council for six years, commemorating the story of the Separatists and Mayflower Pilgrims. The theme of Thanksgiving which became popular in North America developed from these stories. Today its relevance is perhaps broader and can be seen as an opportunity to give thanks more widely.

Pilgrims Festival 2019 – Babworth Arts Weekend

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.