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.