An Historian claims the Pilgrim Fathers set off in the Mayflower from Cornwall, not Plymouth

I suspect this story will cause a bit of disagreement.

Pilgrims departing on Mayflower

History books have always started that the Pilgrims departed Plymouth, Devon, England for the New World and established Plymouth Colony, the second English settlement in what is now the United States of America. However, historian John Chapman says research has proved the Mayflower stopped for fresh water in Newlyn as it headed for the New World – confirming a theory strongly believed by residents in the Cornish seaside fishing port.

You can read about John Chapman’s claims in an article by Gabriella Swerling in The Telegraph at:


Some tellings of the story have the journey beginning in Southampton on 15 August 1620, the connection with Dartmouth/Plymouth or anywhere in Devon or Cornwall coming from them running into problems with the Speedwell and having to restart.

Liked by 1 person

david paul davenport April 3, 2019 at 1:44 am

The Pilgrims started their journey to the New World in what is now the Netherlands. They had been living in Leyden as refugees having been forced to leave England ten years earlier due to religious persecution.


There are many stories about where the Pilgrim Fathers left from, and they all have some basis in fact, but none are the full story.
One confusing thing is that there were several vessels called ‘Mayflower’ around at the time. One of them was owned by merchants based in Billericay in Essex. As the captain of the Mayflower and the treasurer of the Pilgrims are known to have come from the Billericay area, this Mayflower has a strong claim. It normally operated out of the small port of Leigh-on-Sea from a quay called ‘The Strand’ because Billericay is some miles from the coast.

The story I have heard involves those PFs who left from the Essex/London area travelled on the Mayflower. Mayflower met other vessels just off the estuary of the River Thames to form a small fleet. These other ships may have come from the Netherlands, the North of England, or anywhere on the Continent of Europe. One of them leaked like a sieve and put into Plymouth for repairs, along with the rest of the fleet. At this point, many of the passengers decided that perhaps God was telling them not to go to America and returned overland to the homes they had so recently left.
The suggestion is that if they hadn’t had to put into Plymouth, then the ‘small ruinous village’ (as John Wesley called it) of Leigh-on-Sea would have been part of the public history.


THE story DEEPENS. As a descendent of Edward Bompasse of The Fortune (2nd ship) it is believed that some of the passengers from the Speedwell sailed on the Fortune that sailed from London. Does anyone have info about this??? (Email only)


Leave a Reply

Name and email address are required. Your email address will not be published.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <pre> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: