East Retford South Councillor, Helen Richards attended a recent meeting of the Pilgrim Churches at All Saints’ Parish Church in Babworth to announce her support for Bassetlaw Christian Heritage’s (BCH) appeal for the Pilgrim Embroiders’ embroidery project.
Cllr Richards has given £100 towards the embroidery framing costs and also provided a donation of £150 to BCH towards their Pilgrims Festival events in and around Retford in November.
Pictured are Rick Brand, Chair, BCH; Cllr Helen Richards; and Pilgrim Embroiders: Jenny King, Fay Evason, Beverley Naylor, and Lynn Hadland. One of the works in progress is also pictured – this one is Babworth Church.
The newly-named Pilgrim Embroiders, led by local artist Jenny King, are currently working on five embroideries relating to the Pilgrim Churches in Bassetlaw, North Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire (Austerfield, Babworth, Scrooby, Sturton-le-Steeple and St Swithun’s, Retford).
These artworks, when completed and framed, will hang in each of the churches for public view and will be available to come together as a feature for exhibitions around the area. They are hoped to be included in Bassetlaw Museum’s exhibition in 2020.
There has been a great deal of interest in the Pilgrim Embroiders’ work when they have attended events locally. They are looking forward to taking their work to other events across the summer to meet more people and show them what they are doing – they might even let you have a go!
Bassetlaw Christian Heritage is currently raising funds for this work, and anyone wishing to make a donation should initially contact BCH.
Mr Mann outlined the history of the Pilgrims, and their roots in Bassetlaw:
“At first glance, nonconformity and its influence on democracy are a series of extraordinary coincidences based in the beautiful setting of rural Bassetlaw, and they are all linked by geography, message and history. The modern history of our great ally and special partner, the United States of America, comes from a tiny group of men and women who, in the autumn of 1620, arrived on board the Mayflower at Cape Cod in Massachusetts. They were a group of religious and political nonconformists who risked their lives, and at times lost their liberty, in order to establish the basis and values of the society they wanted. It was a society that, through the Mayflower compact—which was the basis of that first settlement on the east coast of America—created both the foundations for the constitution of the United States and the model for parliamentary democracy.”
Oliver Colvile, Conservative MP for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport, acknowledging Plymouth’s role in the story of the Mayflower, invited Mr Mann to join with him and co-chair an all-party parliamentary group to recognise the 400th anniversary.
Mr Mann positively embraced the invitation, hoping that a:
“Bassetlaw-Plymouth amalgam cross-party group would be a powerful way to spread the message of the values and principles of the Mayflower Pilgrims.”
In response to Mr Mann’s statements about Bassetlaw, David Evennett, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, stated that:
“It is only right that all parts of the United Kingdom that were involved in that momentous occasion can profit from the renewed interest that the citizens of the USA will have in visiting the UK as part of the 400th anniversary commemorations in 2020. This matters not just for the constituencies involved, but for tourism and the economic benefits brought by those tourists from America and other parts of the world, because we have a great story to tell. American tourists spent nearly £3 billion in this country in 2014.
The Plymouth area has received financial support from the Government, with £35,000 announced to upgrade facilities at the Mayflower museum. However, I would like to allay any fears that the people of Bassetlaw might have that all Mayflower-related financial support is going to Plymouth and will not be distributed across the country: £500,000 worth of support was announced in the autumn statement 2015 by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor, as we heard, for Mayflower-related celebrations across the country. VisitEngland is in the process of allocating that sum and will involve in its work a number of areas across the nation, not just the city of Plymouth.”
You can read the full debate from 9 March 2016, including Mr Mann’s history of Bassetlaw, in Hansard.
The first national Christian Heritage Conference took place at The Well, in Retford, on Friday 11th March 2016. This marked the start of an annual event, aimed at attracting national and international delegates, with a wide range of interests and approaches.
Retford, with its central positioning within the UK, its rich heritage, with national and world impact, and its excellent transport links, made it a prime location to host the conference.
Among the key findings were that non-Christian tourists, as well as Christian visitors, want to visit Christian Heritage sites, and the accessibility of well-maintained clean toilets is critically important for successful tourist locations.
Twenty-seven delegates from around the UK engaged enthusiastically at the conference, which enabled the sharing of information between organisations with a common purpose, but a range of approaches, focuses and backgrounds. Feedback was very positive with delegates looking forward to working together and returning to next year’s conference in Retford.
Paul James-Griffiths, Christian Heritage, Edinburgh
Gillian Crawley, Old Rectory Epworth
Anthea Moat, Notts Historic Churches Trust
The conference was opened by local historian, Adrian Gray, who welcomed delegates from Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cornwall, Edinburgh, Lincolnshire, London, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire.
Adrian outlined the rich and varied Christian Heritage to be found within approximately 30 miles of Retford, including the leaders of the Mayflower Pilgrims and the Separatist movement, the founders of the Baptist, Congregational and Methodist Churches, the Salvation Army, and the first Quaker martyr.
Each delegate shared information about their organisation, with some fascinating insights:
William Booth, Salvation Army founder, was once apprenticed to a pawnbroker
mystery underground caverns of Edinburgh – origins unknown
Barnsley – Hudson-Taylor heritage trail attracts Chinese tourists
museum curators who used to live in, make breakfast, and change the beds
US choir touring the origin locations of their favourite hymns
Koreans who papered their houses with pages of the Bible
Delegates agreed that there is a rapidly growing interest in Christian heritage, as quality tourism, with educational elements, delivered in an accessible and enjoyable way. The experience, however, has to be excellent, requiring high standards of training, organisation and motivation.
Kelly Clowes, Headteacher, Harworth All Saints’ Primary Academy
Martin Lown Christian Heritage, Cambridge
Paul Collins & Paula Noble, Cowper and Newton Museum Olney Buckinghamshire
The area in and around Bassetlaw, North Nottinghamshire has a range of engaging stories, attractive to tourists across a number of cultural and religious traditions. Combination themed tours provide the potential for development into attractive packages and opportunities for tourist sites/areas to work together.
The Christian Heritage Conference was organised by Pilgrims & Prophets, and Bassetlaw Christian Heritage.
Delegate organisations that attended the conference included: