© Duane A. Cline 2003
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Contemporary Photos of Pilgrims' English homes and churches
St. Mary the Virgin Church, Henlow, Bedfordshire. Photo by Alice C. Teal
Church Record Book at St. Mary Church, Henlow, showing the Tilley entries. Photo by Alice C. Teal
[The following information has been graciously provided by James E. Burgess, a life-time member of St. Mary of the Virgin Church in Henlow, Bedfordshire, England. Like Elizabeth Tilley, Mr. Burgess was baptized in this Henlow Church, which is one of the few buildings remaining from the 17th Century.]
St. Mary's Church is not large, about 100 x 50 feet on plan and is built of ironstone (pre 15th Century) and clunch. In the 13th Century aisles were built and the nave lengthened, the Saxon walls being pierced with arches. In the 14th Century the cancel was extended and in the 15th Century a clerestory was added to the nave. Towards the end of the 15th Century the massive tower was built and the aisle roofs were raised enclosing the clerestory windows within the church. At this time the chancel arch was widened and a rood screen and loft were added complete with a little stone stairway which still remains. This is very much the church as we see it today and as it was when Elizabeth Tilley was born, although, apart from the parish chest, no furnishings remain from that period, even the font having been replaced. Subsequently to this time, a singing gallery was erected at the west end and removed when the building was restored in the 19th Century, and an organ chamber built.
St. Mary's is still an active church and an important centre of village life. The Eucharist is celebrated Sunday by Sunday as it has been over the centuries in differing forms, and baptisms, marriages and funerals mark the course of people's lives. The church bells are rung to call people to worship and to mark festivals and other occasions. There are now eight bells (dating between 1618 and 1980) and an enthusiastic band of ringers who occasionally resort to the local pub (the Five Bells) for refreshment after exertion. There is also a robed choir and three organists to assist in the musical side of church life, and a team of five altar servers. The large churchyard is kept in immaculate condition by another group of volunteers.
If one had X-ray vision and could see inside the church from this angle, the Elizabeth Tilley memorial plaque would be visible on the wall behind the thin fir tree and the Howland spoon between the two windows.
Henlow has a population of about 2,500 plus the transient population of the RAF station on the edge of the village. Most of the inhabitants commute to nearby towns for employment and London is only about 40 miles away (30 minutes by train). There is, however, still farming and market gardening in the village and the situation is predominantly rural.
The Tilley Memorial shown here was erected at St. Mary's Church by the Pilgrim Howland Society. The plaque is made from Welsh slate and was dedicated at the Parish Eucharist by the then Lord Bishop of St. Albans, the Right Reverend John Taylor. Photo by James E. Burgess.
The Howland-Tilley Spoon. The small card in the case reads as follows: "This pewter rat-tail, wavy-end spoon was cast in the same mold as the only whole pewter spoon ever recovered archaeologically in the Plymouth Colony area of Massachusetts! The mold from which both spoons were cast was made about 1690. The figure on the handle is that of King William. __Pilgrim Pewterers, Stow, Massachusetts. Photo by James E. Burgess.
Henlow was one of the earliest parishes in England to have a Vicar, as opposed to a Priest-in-charge. The first vicar of Henlow was one Moyse Hugonis in 1198. John Morgan (Vicar 1574-1607) would probably have married John and Joan Tilley. He may also have baptized Elizabeth unless his successor (1614-1630) was already in office. At the time of the Mayflower sailing the Vicar was Gabriel Morgan (Vicar 1606-1630). There are many Welsh surnames (e.g. Morgan) on the list of Vicars and the church has certain links, historically, with the Principality. In the 11th Century the church belonged to the Manor of Henlow which was in turn owned by the Norman Baron, Nigel d'Albini, who resided at Cainhoe Castle a few miles away. (The castle mounds still remain, but are now inhabited by sheep!) Nigel made a gift of the Manor and Church to the Priory of Llanthony in order that the church may well be served by clergy. The Manor became known as Henlow Lanthony and became a satelite house to the Priory until the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Below is a reconstruction of Llanthony Priory at Gloucester (known as Llanthony Secunda).
The beautiful Llanthony Prima is pictured below.
The parish church of St. Helena in Austerfield where William Bradford
attended services until the age of twelve when he deserted the Church of
England to join the Separatists at Scrooby under the leadership of Rev.
Richard Clyfton. Photo by Eugene A. Fortine.
The west side of St. Wilfrid's Church in Scrooby showing the spire at the
north end. This is the parish church where William Brewster attended
services until he separated from the Church of England. Photo by Alice C.
All Saints Church in Babworth where Richard Clyfton preached when William Bradford was in his teens. Young Bradford traveled the twelve miles from his home in Austerfield to hear Clyfton preach. Photo by Eugene A. Fortine.
An interior view of St. Wilfrid's Church showing the pulpit and chancel area.
Photo by Eugene A. Fortine.
An interior view of St. Wilfrid's Church showing the carved rail and chair
which would have been a familiar sight to William Brewster. Photo by Eugene
A view of the Scrooby vicarage with the spire of St. Wilfrid's Church visible behind. Photo by Alice C. Teal.
The pathway alongside All Saints Church in Babworth. At the far left in this
photo is the foot path which was traveled by three of the Pilgrim Fathers at
the time Richard Clyfton was preaching at Babworth. The path led through
Nottinghamshire across the Old North Road to Scrooby and then north to
Austerfield, a distance of about twelve miles. Photo by Alice C. Teal.
St. Peter's Church in Droitwich which was attended by the Winslow family.
Photo by Alice C. Teal.
Interior of St. Peter's Church, Droitwich, showing the baptismal font where
the Winslow children were baptized. Photo by Alice C. Teal.
The Parish Church at Sturton-le-Steeple which was the home of Pastor John
Robinson and the William White family. Photo by Alice C. Teal.
The only remaining wing of the original Scrooby Manor House. William
Brewster resided here and this is the place where the Pilgrims first met in
secret following their separation from the Church of England. Photo by
Eugene A. Fortine.
The home of William Mullins and family in Dorking, Surrey, England. Photo by
Alice C. Teal.
The Guild Hall at Gainsborough where the Pilgims met on occasion following
their separation from the Church of England. Photo by Eugene A. Fortine.
Last modified March 4, 2003
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