Pilgrim Roots HLF project newsletter: Pilgrim Trails

Welcome to our first newsletter for the Pilgrim Roots Heritage Project – to download a copy of the newsletter click here

We will produce this publication on a regular basis as we chart our progress towards submitting a 2nd stage Heritage Lottery Bid which is entitled ‘Pilgrim Roots – The Separatists’ Story and beyond’.


The bid if successful, will allow Bassetlaw District Council and partners to create a Pilgrim Gallery in the former Tourist Information Centre adjacent to Bassetlaw Museum. In addition there will be an enhanced Pilgrim Trail with interpretation at 9 sites around Retford, Babworth, Scrooby, Sturton le Steeple, Austerfield and Gainsborough.

A role of Heritage Engagement Officer will be created and that person would be tasked with reaching out to schools, community groups and indeed anyone with an interest in the Pilgrim story. The Heritage Engagement Officer will take handling boxes and costumes so that people can really immerse themselves in a story which, although 400 years old, has parallels with challenges that many people continue to face today: migration, freedom and tolerance.

The Heritage Engagement Officer will be supported by a Heritage Support Officer, based at the museum who will assist visitors, making sure that churches are open, accommodation is confirmed and tour guides are booked. Additionally a new Pilgrim Roots website will pull together all of the new activities, information and events into one place.


Timescales for the HLF process are: submission of 2nd stage bid, May 2018 – decision September 2018. If we are successful, work will begin on the new gallery in October 2018 and will be completed in Spring 2019. The project will run until September 2021.

There is so much more we can say about the exciting plans we have as the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower reaching Plymouth Massachusetts approaches, but we want to tell you in person and that’s why we are holding a number of CONSULTATION EVENTS where you can drop in, see our plans, fill in a survey form and generally give us your thoughts. As a Thank you to Heritage Lottery Players anyone coming to any of these events will be treated to a hot drink and biscuits on production of their lottery ticket.

Consultation Events

Tuesday 20 March 10.30 – 12.30 Bassetlaw Museum
Tuesday 20 March 13.30 – 15.30 Gainsborough Old Hall
Friday 23 March 15.00 – 19.00 Scrooby Parish Hall
Tuesday 27 March 15.00 – 19.00 Sturton-le-Steeple Village Hall
Saturday 7 April 10.30 – 12.30 Gainsborough Heritage Centre
Thursday 19 April 19.45 Grove Street Methodist Church (Bassetlaw Christian Heritage Meeting)
Monday 7 May 10.00 – 15.00 Retford Market (Charter Day)

The Pilgrim Roots Partnership

The wider partnership includes representatives from local authorities, tourism and corporate agencies from across the region, as well as community interest groups and other stakeholders. The partnership is open to all with a shared interest in promoting and upholding the aims and objectives of the Roots Partnership.

Our partners include:
• Bassetlaw District Council
• Boston Borough Council
• Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council
• Lincolnshire County Council
• North East Lincolnshire Council
• Nottinghamshire County Council
• Transported
• University of Lincoln
• Visit Lincoln
• Marketing Nottinghamshire
• West Lindsey District Council

Meet the Project Team

Led by Sandra Withington from Bassetlaw District Council, Sandra is the overall Project Manager ably supported by Robert Wilkinson, overseeing building related works; Dr Anna Scott who is a heritage professional working for Bassetlaw and West Lindsey District Councils; Sam Glasswell, museum curator; and Sarah Cheng who brings previous experience of working on successful HLF projects.

Interpretation Consultants appointed

We are pleased to have appointed our Interpretation Team, who will be working on the 2nd Stage Heritage Lottery Bid with us. They are WideSky Design (digital media design), Querceus Design (interpretive and museum design) and Catherine Chroney (Strategic consultancy and storyline). Chris Parker from WideSky, Mike Oakenfull from Querceus and Catherine have worked together on a number of projects, most recently re-fitting visitor centres for the Peak District National Park. They have worked on a wide variety of projects – including museums, visitor centres, national parks and historic buildings. Past clients include the National Trust, Historic Royal Palaces, the Houses of Parliament, English Heritage and many charitable trusts.

An exciting NEW GAME is being created

Students from Sheffield Hallam University are working on a project to build a virtual reality experience about William Brewster and Scrooby Manor. Led by tutor
David Wilson, who lives in Ranskill and knows the area well, the students are re-creating the sitting room and a secret chapel where visitors or ‘gamers’ will be able
to pick up artefacts and find clues that will draw them into the VR experience. Dave says ‘It’s early days yet but the 3D art is looking great and our students are really interested and enthusiastic about the subject matter’. We can’t wait to see the results!

Did you know?

  • The Pilgrims clothes weren’t just black and white.
  • The Brewster family from Scrooby sailed on the Mayflower. The children had some interesting names: two girls named Fear and Patience, and three boys named Love, Wrestling… and Jonathan!
  • The Pilgrims from our area were Separatists – people who wanted to have their own church, and not be part of the state Church of England – at a time when this was illegal and forbidden.
  • Men from our region who sailed on the Mayflower signed an important document called the Mayflower Compact – it set out an agreement between the passengers to work together once they got to America – to ensure their survival. They ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time of year, and had to make their own agreement to come together as a ‘civil body politic’. The principles of this document were later said to have inspired the American Constitution.
  • There were 102 passengers on the Mayflower – 32 were children.
  • In 1955, a group of American descendants visited England and Holland and recorded their visit on plaques in Babworth and Scrooby – ‘On their first Pilgrimage – 152, by planes – to the Netherlands and England’ – similar plaques can be found across the country.
  • Thomas Bayard was the US Ambassador to the UK in the late 1890s – he laid a foundation stone at the John Robinson Memorial Church in Gainsborough, and was instrumental in getting William Bradford’s diary – which recorded the Pilgrims’ story – repatriated to the USA after it was found in the library at Fulham Palace in London.