A New Way in a New World
I have for many years been fascinated by the people who set sail in 1620 to flee persecution in England, to protect what they believed in, to undertake an epic voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, to seek new beginnings.
The reason for this strong interest lies in my own family heritage and a mystery that I may or may not ever resolve. My full name you see is Nicholas Euan Brewster Lewis. My late grandmother was certain that the Brewster name had originated from around the time of William Brewster. WIlliam being of course, one of the many people who had sailed aboard the famous Mayflower and one of the key figures in the history. I am not a direct descendent of his, for that would be impossible but I could be connected to perhaps a relative of his, someone who remained here in England. A tenuous connection possibly? I have always been excited about this. It has been a good comeback against all of those kids at school (back in the 1980s) who laughed at my middle name. They had all learnt about the story of the Plymouth Steps, the Pilgrim Fathers and all of a sudden, I would be “cool”.
Fast forward to 2020 and many of the plans to commemorate the events were of course postponed, many being moved to this year. I was excited to learn about a commemorative coin being issued by The Royal Mint. I was delighted to receive one as a present for Christmas! Such a great present!
I’ve just set up a few iPhone shots to share with you here and share some exerpts from the accompanying booklet which is packed with a lot of fascinating info.
The Mayflower was of course not the first to reach America as Europeans had been exploring the New World for a good century or so before. England had been establishing a number of colonies over the decades and by 1620 already had established the Virginia colony of Jamestown some 13 years prior.
However what sets the Mayflower apart was not so much the voyage itself, epic though it had been, was what the passengers did upon arrival and which had a very profound effect on the America that we know today.
The Pilgrims had intended to reach Jamestown but upon their arrival off the coast of Cape Cod, realised they had landed in the wrong place. It is believed that they did attempt to sail South, however this failed and they decided to settle near where they had come ashore.
Once they had settled in Massachusetts, the colonists then drew up a contract that determined how they’d govern themselves. This had never been done before and formed what was known at the time as “The Mayflower Compact”. It became the philosophical foundation for the Constitution, which came into being 150 years later.
One of the signatories of the Mayflower Compact, William Bradford served as the Colony’s governor for around 30 years. We know that three US presidents are descended from Mayflower passengers - Franklin D. Roosevelt, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. Millions of Americans today celebrate Thanksgiving each year which can be traced all the way back to the Matflower legacy.
The £2 Silver Proof Coin comes in a presentation case and is also contained in a container of it’s own. The coin was designed by Jody Clark and Chris Costello, a true anglo-american collaboration and I believe one of the first of it’s kind.
The Reverse side was designed by Chris Costello and shows a depiction of the Mayflower ship. We don’t know what the Mayflower looked like and therefore Chris had to employ a certain amount of artistic license for his design. I think it looks fabulous!
Sadly last year we had to cancel a trip to Boston and Massachusetts. We had planned to trace the history and experience some of the events. We will do so one today, to follow in the footsteps of the Pilgrims and discover some new horizons of our own.