Explore the stories of the Mayflower Pilgrims and their connections to Lincolnshire and the Pilgrim Roots region. PilgrimAGE is a digital series of events that will bring the Mayflower story to life through a range of different channels including a blog series, access to exhibitions as well as videos and podcasts.

2020 is the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower as it set sail from England to America.

Although the Mayflower set sail from the south of England, it was in this region that the Separatists, who later became known as the Pilgrims, formed their ideas and decided to break away from the established church, at a time when this was illegal.

It was thought that a group of separatists worshipped in secret at Gainsborough Old Hall with kind permission of its owner William Hickman. There were two main groups – one in Gainsborough and the other in nearby Scrooby. Some of them became passengers on the Mayflower.

A date that hasn’t been widely recognised in the past is when the Gainsborough Separatists escaped from the riverside on a barge called the Francis on 10 May 1608, making their way to Holland where they lived for twelve years before some of them sailed to America.

This wasn’t the first time they’d tried to escape either. Many of them had travelled from the area around Gainsborough and North Nottinghamshire down to Boston on the Lincolnshire coast. Here, they had arranged to escape only to find the ship’s captain had betrayed them to the authorities. They were held for some time before being released and sent to attend the court in Lincoln.

PilgrimAGE - Gainsborough’s historic Pilgrim date commemorated

There were many events planned this year to commemorate this anniversary, not just in Lincolnshire, but also across England, the Netherlands and the USA and Wampanoag nation. Sadly, many of these have now been cancelled or postponed due to coronavirus.

In order to continue sharing the Mayflower story, West Lindsey District Council have been working with their local partners to create a digital series allowing you to explore the history of the Pilgrims and their roots.

To mark Gainsborough’s historical date, PilgrimAGE was launched on Sunday 10 May and will run throughout the summer, leading up to the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower in September. The series will include historical blogs, snapshots in to exhibitions as well as videos and podcasts.

To follow the PilgrimAGE campaign like Discover Gainsborough on Facebook or follow @DiscoverGains on Twitter. Be part of the conversation and post your images, comments and thoughts about the story using #PilgrimAGE .