Gainsborough’s Farmers and Craft Market re-opens this week

Gainsborough Farmers Market

Gainsborough’s popular farmers’ and craft market re-opens this week following the recent announcements from government.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last week that outdoor markets would be permitted to re-open for trade from June 1st – and plans were immediately put in place for the safe return of the monthly food and craft market.

On Saturday 13th June the town will host the market from 9am-3pm in the Market Place, just a few feet away from its pre-lockdown location on Market Street. This is to allow for full social distancing to take place ensuring both customers and traders remain safe.

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Seeking tolerance, spreading intolerance

Some of the early leaders of the Pilgrims/Separatists made important arguments in favour of religious tolerance at a time when this wasn’t a universally recognised right. By raising these issues, they began important conversations about what people should be allowed to do in their lives.

At this time, people were put in prison – and died – for their religious beliefs. The Gainsborough Separatist leader John Smyth began to argue for tolerance of all strands of Christianity whilst in exile in the Netherlands.

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The Pilgrims and providence

The Pilgrims had a strong belief in ‘providence’, which means the intervention of God’s will. They often saw providence in things that happened to them on their journeys, and it’s something William Bradford mentioned in his diary of their journeys and lives, Of Plimoth Plantation.

By holding this belief, it seemed to help them carry on, even in the face of what might have seemed to others insurmountable challenges. It’s important to remember too that at this time, four centuries ago, this was a time before modern science, medicine and technology which might have explained the way things in the world were differently.

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Becoming Separatists and risking all

“But after these things they could not long continue in any peaceable condition, but were hunted & persecuted on every side, so as their former afflictions were but as flea-bitings in comparison of these which now came upon them. For some were taken & clapped up in prison, others had their houses beset & watched night and day, & hardly escaped their hands; and the most were fain to flee & leave their houses & habitations, and the means of their livelihood.”

This is how William Bradford, Pilgrim chronicler and Plymouth colony Governor, recollected the plight the Separatists had faced in England before they fled to Holland.

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New ‘Radical Routes’ online edition reflects on Pilgrim anniversary


A new online publication is released today as part of West Lindsey District Council’s PilgrimAGE season to commemorate 2020’s Mayflower anniversary. The ‘Radical Routes’ reader has been produced in collaboration with other leading arts programmes in the region.

Originally planned as a newspaper-style publication, due to challenges arising from the current coronavirus crisis, ‘Radical Routes’ has now been produced in an online format so it can be shared widely across Lincolnshire and further afield. West Lindsey District Council’s Mayflower 400 cultural programme has worked with the University of Lincoln’s Transported programme, bringing arts to people in Boston Borough and South Holland, and Bassetlaw’s ‘The Few to the Many’ project to create an arts-led response to the region’s role in the Pilgrims’ heritage story.

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An act of kindness goes a long way

one small candle

The generosity and kindness that has been displayed across the country recently reminds us of one of the leading separatists, William Bradford and his inspirational words that united people around the world 400 years ago.

 “as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindle hath shone unto many”

He is referring to their struggles and efforts leading up to their arrival in America and that it would serve as a light that will inspire many more to follow them (the way one small candle can light a thousand).

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The Pilgrims worshipped in secret

The Two Congregations

Who were the ‘Separatists’? How do they relate to the ‘Pilgrims’?

Four centuries ago, the Church of England was the established Christian church of the state, set up by King Henry VIII following his battles with the previously established Church in Rome.

Religion played a hugely important role in everyday life for everyone, but it was a divisive issue. Separatists were people who wanted, for a variety of reasons, to separate themselves from this Church.

Separatists are sometimes compared to Puritans, but the Puritans wanted to ‘purify’ the Church from within, rather than leave it altogether.

This was a time when it became easier for more people to read more things, and to publish their own writing. The printing press had been invented in the fifteenth century, and it had changed the world – much like the internet has done for us today.

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Welcome to PilgrimAGE


An online programme commemorating the Mayflower Pilgrims throughout Summer 2020, 400 years on from their historic transatlantic voyage

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be bringing you short stories about that group of people who many know as the Pilgrims, as part of our summer PilgrimAGE programme to commemorate the Mayflower story in its 400th anniversary year. 

Each week we’ll consider a different theme, either connected to the lives of the Pilgrims, the places they travelled to, or themes which run throughout the history of their lives. We’ll be signposting you to interesting content connected to Pilgrims’ history and heritage, as well as what’s been happening as part of the 400th anniversary commemorations. 

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Mayflower 400 programme moves online adapting to lockdown challenges


Gainsborough’s historic Pilgrim date commemorated

West Lindsey District Council is working with local partners to develop an online programme of activities that will tell the story of the Mayflower Pilgrims and their connections to Lincolnshire and the Pilgrim Roots region.

Starting on Gainsborough’s historic Pilgrim date this Sunday 10th May, a new digital campaign – PilgrimAGE – will be launched. The campaign will run throughout the summer, leading up to the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower in September and will include historical blogs, snapshots of exhibitions as well as videos, podcasts and specially commissioned digital activities.

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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.

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