Thanksgiving/Illuminate 2021 Art Exhibition

Online: 15th November – 31st December 2021

At Babworth Church: 27th & 28th November 2021

Open to the public on 27th and 28th November 2021, Babworth Art Exhibition is planned to be back in Babworth Church this year – save the date today!

We are inviting artists, historians and musicians to produce artworks, and give talks and recitals….whatever would be fitting and suitable to be exhibited or performed in Babworth Church to communicate the theme of Thanksgiving, however that is interpreted.

Previously created Mayflower-themed artworks will also be welcomed and, as before, there is no selection process, and all are invited to participate.

In 2020, Covid 19 set us significant challenges, however, technology came to the rescue and we went online – this year we are again asking artists to record and curate their work online.

A full brief for artists and performers will be available until 30th October 2021 from info@pilgrimroots.org

The Mayflower by Gerry Fruin

There will be an opportunity for local artists to engage with members of the Wampanoag people who are visiting Retford in September as part of a cultural exchange. They will be building a Wetu, a traditional dwelling used by some of the Native American people, in the garden of Bassetlaw Museum between 21st and 25th September 2021. Artists interested in meeting with representatives of the Wampanoag should contact info@pilgrimroots.org.

The Pilgrim Embroiderers

Background

On 25th November 2021, the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving meal will be 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 shellfish and cereals.

The Babworth Art Exhibition has been a collaboration between BCH, All Saints’ Church Babworth, and Bassetlaw District Council for over five 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.

Thanksgiving/Illuminate 2021 Art Exhibition Brief for Artists

Online: 15th November – 31st December 2021
At Babworth Church: 27th & 28th November 2021

Thanksgiving

The theme for the Art Exhibition this year is that of thanksgiving – however artists wish to interpret that.
Previously created Mayflower-themed artworks will also be welcomed and, as previously, there is no selection process, and all are invited to participate.

In 2020, Covid 19 set us significant challenges, however, technology came to the rescue – this year we are again asking artists to record their work and give some background information to it.

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 Thanksgiving / Wampanoag / 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 organisers reserve the right to take down any unsuitable materials.

Work for the online exhibition should be sent to Isabelle.richards@bassetlaw.gov.uk by Friday 5th 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 Thanksgiving / Wampanoag / 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.

Work for the exhibition at Babworth Church should be delivered between 10am and 3pm on Friday 26th November and collected between 4pm and 5pm on Sunday 28th November 2021.

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

In 2021, we are also inviting talks, performance and music recordings with some relevance to the story of the Thanksgiving / Wampanoag / Separatists / Mayflower Pilgrims stories, however connected, and these may be included in the exhibition. Please let us know by 30th October if you would like to take part.

Please also see www.pilgrimroots.co.uk/stories and www.bassetlawchristianheritage.com or contact isabelle.richards@bassetlaw.gov.uk.

Mayflower painting by Gerry Fruin
The Mayflower by Gerry Fruin

Thanksgiving/Illuminate 2021

This year, we will be working with Bassetlaw Foodbank to deliver an opportunity for people to provide gifts of food to help those less fortunate. This will be a way for people to give thanks for their own lives whilst helping others to survive in modern hardship. We think this would be a good way to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving.

We will be giving donors battery candles to display in their windows on 25th November (Thanksgiving in 2021) and will be inviting them to post photographs of these to reflect the theme of Illuminate. We will also support schools in creating their own Illuminate features and will invite them to send photographs for our online display.

Background

On 25th November 2021, the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving meal will be commemorated. This was a meal which was shared between the newly arrived settlers to North America – the Mayflower Pilgrims – and the local population who had formed an alliance with them.

In the first year, half of the passengers from the Mayflower had died, having arrived at the start of winter, ill-prepared for what was to come. Members of the native population showed them which crops to grow, and how to go about it. A year on from their arrival a celebration meal took place with the settlers and the leader of the local Wampanoag people and one hundred of his warriors.

This anniversary is not celebrated by the Wampanoag people today. The successful establishment of the Europeans was followed by large scale incursion across the continent. 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. The original meal would probably have consisted of shellfish and cereals.

Cultural appropriateness

It is important to be aware of the cultural sensitivities related to the characterisation of the Native American People. Steven Peters (www.smokesygnals.com), provides this perspective for artists:

“We are asking them to create art that reshapes UK history and culture and not native culture. The history is intertwined but simply asking them to do it from their perspective and not to appropriate native culture.

Art Challenge: Reshaping History and Culture

Popular culture has grossly appropriated stereotypical elements of what we perceive as traditional culture. It has normalized racially insensitive media portrayals such as the “Piccaninny Tribe” in Disney’s Peter Pan. Many contemporary Native American artists are now using their work to challenge the way we look at history and culture. Creating multi-disciplinary work that bucks the demeaning notion that Native Art is all “beads and feathers.” Often this new artwork is a mix of entirely contemporary-looking aesthetics with historical or traditional elements of Native culture. These works can be in the style of Pop Art or films with contemporary dance over traditional songs or repurposing objects.

How will the artists of the UK challenge the history they learned and reshape our understanding of the historical events that have shaped the world we live in today?”

Sherwood Oak planted to commemorate Nottinghamshire’s Pilgrims at Babworth church

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.

Guests at the Mayflower 400 commemorative oak tree planting at Babworth church

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!”

Peter Swinscoe and Patrick Candler planting the commemorative oak tree near All Saints’ Church, Babworth

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.

Sir Jack Whittaker planting the commemorative oak tree at Babworth church

Fresh air and heritage – it’s time for the Babworth snowdrops weekend!

February’s snowdrops at All Saints’ Church, Babworth

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.

All Saints’ Church, Babworth

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!

Maggy Watkins giving a talk at Babworth Church

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.

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.

All Saints’ Babworth Snowdrops Weekend – better than ever!

All Saints’ Parish Church in Babworth, the Pilgrims’ Church known as “the Church in the Woodland”, recently provided the ideal setting for a delightful display of snowdrops.

On the weekend of Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th February 2018, a steady stream of visitors exceeded last year’s record attendance numbers.

Churchwarden, Peter Swinscoe stated “we must have had over 1,000 people across the weekend – there has been a steady stream of visitors – it has been a very enjoyable time for everyone”.

They came to Babworth to walk the Snowdrops Trail and call in to the church to enjoy the homemade refreshments and gifts on sale, see the embroiderers working and listen to the talk .

On Sunday 10th, a talk by tour guide, Maggy Watkins, which covered a wide range of connections with the Mayflower Pilgrims, was very well attended. The story of the Mayflower Pilgrims’ struggle to escape arrest and leave for Holland fascinated an attentive and appreciative audience.

Throughout the weekend, a group of embroiderers led by Jenny King worked on their representations of five of the Pilgrims Churches (Austerfield, Scrooby, Babworth, Sturton-le-Steeple and St Swithun’s Retford). These artworks, when completed will hang in each of the churches for public view and will be available to come together as a feature for exhibitions etc. Bassetlaw Christian Heritage is currently raising funds for this work (contact us).

The papers of Revd Edmund Jessup who played a major role in establishing the Pilgrims’ story at Babworth, during his time as Vicar of Babworth (1950-85), were on display, as was the ‘Separatists and Mayflower Pilgrims’ exhibition, which included a description of the role of Rev Richard Clifton, who was a prominent Separatist and Rector of Babworth from 1586 to 1605.

There were many other wonders to see in the church, including stained glass windows by Kempe, Eginton, and Wailes. Furniture by “Mousey” Thompson also provided an exceptional attraction, with many visitors of all ages enjoying the challenge of ‘finding the mice’.

Commemorating Clifton’s 400th – BCH touring exhibition and talks in May

Bassetlaw Christian Heritage is involved in a series of events this coming May to commemorate 400 years since the death of Richard Clifton – leading Separatist and preacher who inspired the Mayflower Pilgrims.

Events are taking place in Austerfield, Gainsborough, Babworth and Retford.

BCH are pleased to be taking part in the Doncaster Heritage Festival, the West Lindsey Churches Festival and the Retford Arts Festival to stage an exhibition on Clifton and the Pilgrims and offer talks on the history by Adrian Gray.

May 20th 2016, marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Richard Clifton, who died in Holland before the Pilgrims left for America via Southampton, Dartmouth and Plymouth.

What’s on and when?

Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th May 2016 11am-4pm St Helena’s Church, Austerfield

  • Open Church Weekend as part of the Doncaster Heritage Festival, including a Bassetlaw Christian Heritage exhibition on Richard Clifton and the Separatists, including William Bradford and William Brewster.
  • Refreshments will be provided.
  • Talk by author and local historian Adrian Gray on Sunday 8 May 8 at 2pm, providing an engaging insight into the Bradford, Brewster and Clifton story with an overview of the times that they lived in and their importance to us today.
  • Adrian’s new book From Here We Changed the World will be available, which provides an outline of the story and a detailed commentary on fascinating insights into some of the key places in the region. It is a story of martyrdom, sacrifice and unbelievable bravery; of shipwreck, cannibalism and yet extraordinary service to others.
  • Read a short history of Austerfield church below.
Saturday 14th May 2016 Pilgrims & Prophets Clifton Tour
  • Tour of churches with connections to Richard Clifton and the Pilgrim Story, with a heritage commentary, (itinerary subject to confirmation) starting at The Crossing in Worksop going on to The Well in Retford then Marnham, Fledborough, Babworth, Scrooby, and Everton before returning to The Well and The Crossing.
  • Departures from from The Crossing in Worksop and The Well in Retford.
  • Led by Adrian Gray and Rev. Geoffrey Clarke – for further information contact Adrian Gray (tel./text 07470 366689), or The Crossing in Worksop, or The Well in Retford.
 Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th May 2016 United Reformed Church, Gainsborough
  • Open Church Weekend with organ recitals as part of the West Lindsey Churches Festival – including Bassetlaw Christian Heritage exhibition on Richard Clifton and the Separatists.

Saturday 28th, Sunday 29th & Monday 30th May 2016 10am-4pm All Saint’s Parish Church, Babworth
  • Open Church Weekend as part of the Retford Arts Festival;
  • Exhibition of paintings by local artist Gerry Fruin;
  • Bassetlaw Christian Heritage exhibition on Richard Clifton and the Separatists.
  • Refreshments will be provided and car parking is available.
Saturday 28th May 2016 11am St Swithun’s Parish Church, Retford
  • Talk by author and local historian, Adrian Gray on ‘Retford’s Christian Heritage’ as part of the Retford Arts Festival.

Spotlight on Austerfield

The Clifton commemorations begin at historic St Helena’s Church at Austerfield, now over one thousand years old. The structure of the building alone is worth a visit, but when you consider the people who have lived and worked here, and the events they have shaped, influencing the lives of millions across the world – you will wonder why you haven’t visited before.

St Helena’s Church was built in 1080 by John de Builli, using stone from the Roche Abbey quarries. Over the centuries the church has seen new sections built and renovations completed to make it the church you see today.

The tympanum over the south doorway depicts a serpent-like dragon. An article published in 1954 suggests it is 8th century and relates its symbolic meaning to the calculation of the incidence of Easter Day.

In 702AD Austerfield was the location of a Synod, where a dispute between the King of Northumbria and Wilfrid, Bishop of Ripon was resolved. The Synod also discussed and agreed was the way that Easter is calculated.

The church has several windows by one of England’s greatest stained glass artists, Charles Earner Kempe.

In the nave is a Sheila-na-gig of which there are only 16 recorded in England! This is a quasi-erotic stone carving of a female figure sometimes found in Norman churches. This carving had been blocked into a wall in the 14th century, and was only rediscovered in 1898 during restoration work.

In 1897 the north aisle was built in memory of William Bradford.

Austerfield is perhaps best known by its connections with the Mayflower Pilgrims. William Bradford was born in Austerfield and was brought to be baptised on 19th March 1589.

In front of you, when you enter the church, is the stone baptismal font where Bradford was baptized and a beautiful stained glass window on the north side of the church commemorates the 400th anniversary of this event.

William Bradford went on to become the second Governor of Plimoth Colony in America and was the second signer of the Mayflower Compact in Provincetown Harbor.

Bradford was just 18 when he left for Holland with the Scrooby Group of Separatists in 1608, and only 30 when he arrived in America. As a young man he had often been unwell which led him to read and develop an interest in religious issues.

He became a close friend of William Brewster, who was Master of the Post at Scrooby, which is where the Scrooby Group met after Richard Clifton was forced out of Babworth.

Clifton was an important preacher and Bradford and Brewster regularly walked to Babworth to hear his sermons, even though it was illegal at the time.

[As featured on Heritage Inspired]

 

 

 

Snowdrops at Babworth

Babworth ‘Pilgrims’ Church holds successful Snowdrops Weekend

Known as “the Church in the Woodland”, All Saints’ Parish Church in Babworth provided the ideal setting for nature to put on a truly magnificent display of snowdrops.

All Saints’ Parish Church, Babworth, with snowdrops
All Saints’ Parish Church, Babworth, with snowdrops

Around 600 people visited the church on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th February to walk the Snowdrop Trail and enjoy the homemade refreshments on sale in the church. The guests were also treated to a wide range of paintings by talented local artist, Gerry Fruin. Part of the successful ‘Illuminate 400 – Retford 2015’, Mayflower Pilgrims exhibition was on show, as well as original copies of the notebooks of Rev. Edmund Jessup. He was Rector of All Saints’ from 1950 to 1984, and also honorary chaplain to the forces and chaplain of Ranby Prison: he did much to revive the American connection with Babworth.  There were also many architectural wonders to see, including stained glass windows by Kempe, Eginton, and Wailes; and furniture by “Mousey” Thompson.

Interior of All Saints’ showing local artist Gerry Fruin and visitors on the weekend of 13/14 February 2016
Interior of All Saints’ showing local artist Gerry Fruin and visitors on the weekend of 13/14 February 2016

Originally a Norman church, All Saints’ is best known for its role in the Separatist Movement of the 17th century which resulted in the Mayflower Pilgrims’ historic journey to America. Richard Clifton, Rector of All Saints’ then, was the preacher that William Bradford, from Austerfield, and William Brewster, from Scrooby, travelled for miles along the Pilgrim Way to hear preach. Clifton was a central character in the Separatist Movement, although not travelling to America himself, he inspired Bradford and Brewster, who ultimately became the Governor and Senior Elder of Plymouth Colony respectively.

Gerry Fruin and Bassetlaw Christian Heritage will be returning to All Saints’ Babworth between 28th and 30th May as part of the church’s commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the death of Richard Clifton, and also as part of the Retford Arts Festival.