Make May Flowers this May


It’s the 1 May so what better time to start making some May Flowers.

Commonly known as Hawthorn, May Flowers are named after the month they bloom and is a sign that Spring is turning to Summer.

These highly scented flowers are white or occasionally pink with five petals. They can be commonly found growing in hedgerows, woodland and scrub.

Some sources say that the Mayflower Ship was named after this flower, which would be fitting as it is also thought to symbolise hope. When the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts nearly 400 years ago, they hoped of a better life, to be able to worship freely without fear of prosecution.

You will see that on the stern of the ‘Mayflower II’, a replica of the ship built in 1957, has a hawthorn carved in to it. Whether the original adorned the same carvings is unclear. Just last year the the replica ship underwent a 3 months of restoration project in America. It is now part of an exhibition at the Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts, a living history museum exploring the history of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag. Sadly, the museum is currently closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Gainsborough Heritage Centre also created an exhibition about the Mayflower II, about how it was originally built in Brixham in Devon by Warwick Charlton and donated to the American people. The Heritage Centre worked with the Charlton family to create the exhibition but sadly had to close due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Despite our current situation, we are still working on our art project to make May Flowers for our Mayflower willow lantern ship. You can knit, crochet, make loom flowers, or even use milk bottles or card. The more creative the better to show just how much our communities have been involved.

You can download the templates from the ‘make a mayflower’ page which include step by step instructions. At the moment we would kindly ask you to keep hold of your completed flowers as our drop off locations are currently closed. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and we’ll let you know when it is safe to drop them off in person.

Please also share pictures of you making your May Flowers! We want to inspire as many people as possible to contribute to our project and learn about how the Mayflower story and its links to Gainsborough and Lincolnshire.

For more information about the Mayflower story head over to our Pilgrim Roots page.