Make a May Flower

knitted flower

West Lindsey District Council launch community art project to inspire residents to learn about the Mayflower Pilgrims

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower from Plymouth UK to Plymouth Massachusetts. Gainsborough has a special connection to the Mayflower anniversary as separatist movements originated in this region that led them on their journey to America.

A group of Separatists were thought to have worshipped in secret at Gainsborough Old Hall – now regarded as one of the best-preserved medieval manor houses in Britain. The United Reformed Church in Gainsborough also stands as a memorial to John Robinson, pastor of the Mayflower Pilgrims. He was also one of the leaders in the planning of the voyage to America.

To commemorate this significant anniversary, West Lindsey District Council are inviting the public to take part in a community art project which involves making ‘May Flowers’, more commonly known as Hawthorn, using a range of different materials.

“We want as many people as possible to take part and make a May Flower this year.” Says Faye Pudney, Visitor Economy Project Officer at West Lindsey District Council.

“The flowers will be used to create a bigger piece of artwork and will involve attaching them to a willow lantern Mayflower ship which will be displayed at our signature events that will take place throughout the year.”

The May Flowers can be knitted or crocheted as well as made from milk bottles or card. This will allow people of all ages to get involved.

Templates are available to download from here – Make a May Flower templates. Alternatively, please email [email protected].

Hard copies will also be available to pick up at West Lindsey District Council or Gainsborough Old Hall. Please check opening times before travelling.

Coronavirus update: Due to coronavirus, please do not drop your May Flowers off at the Council Offices, Gainsborough Old Hall or the Pilgrims Gallery at the Bassetlaw Museum. You can either post them to West Lindsey District Council, Marshall’s Yard, Beaumont Street, Gainsborough, DN21 2NA or hold on to them until it is safe to drop them in in person.

This project has been made possible with thanks to funding from Arts Council England and is part of a yearlong programme of activities. For more information visit

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