Beyond the Mayflower: 1620-2020
Beyond the Mayflower will look at how amongst the Mayflower passengers were a group of religious separatists, known as the ‘Pilgrims’, many of whom came from Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire. The exhibition will explore how we can understand these individuals by tracing the history of religious dissent in Nottinghamshire and examining how the faith of individuals and communities was controlled and monitored by the crown. The history of dissent, power and faith in the county during the seventeenth century and in later periods can be found in the Records of the Archdeaconry of Nottingham, held at Manuscripts and Special Collections. Included among these documents are the reports on parishioners who were thought by the Church of England to have departed from ‘proper’ religious practice, including the ‘Pilgrim Father’ William Brewster. Through this exhibition, we explore how children, women and men from Nottinghamshire were part of a history that is more than the Mayflower. The separatists who left the county for the ‘new world’ are one group amongst many. Across Nottinghamshire there were groups whose ideas were subject to surveillance and censure because they were different. By understanding the wider history of religious dissent, we can explore issues of equality and freedom today.