All posts by Tamura Jones

Tamura Jones

About Tamura Jones

Tamura Jones is a computer scientist who writes about genealogy and technology on www.tamurajones.net; he is widely recognized as a leading genealogy technologist and innovator. As an Englishman living in Leiden and fluent in Dutch, he has focused on Leiden genealogy, and he has been researching Dutch Mayflower descendants since 2008. You can keep up to date on his Pilgrim research by following @LeidenPilgrims on Twitter.

Mayflower myths 2020

Detail of Leiden map, ca. 1600, a hand-colored engraving created by Pieter Bast, showing the Pieterskerk and surrounding area. Note the clock tower that gave Clock Alley its name. The boats on the Rapenburg show where the Pilgrims boarded. Courtesy of Erfgoed Leiden en Omstreken (Heritage Leiden and Region)

There are many Mayflower myths already, but the Mayflower 400 year brings new ones. The very latest Mayflower myth is that the Pilgrims boarded the Speedwell in Leiden. The simple truth is that the Speedwell was never in Leiden. The Pilgrims took canal boats to Delfshaven, where the Speedwell was waiting for them, and set sail for Southampton. A widely shared blog post proposes an alternative myth: the Pilgrims travelled from Leiden to Delfshaven on foot, on horseback, and by carriage.

A myth that’s been repeated a lot the last year or so is that the Pilgrims boarded those canal boats at a spot marked by a statue. The text on the base of that statue reads “From here the Pilgrims left Leiden on their journey to the new world,” and that text is easily misunderstood. The statue is near the Vliet Bridge, and the text wouldn’t be misunderstood if the statue had been placed on that bridge instead of merely close to it.

Back in 1620, the bridge was part of the border wall of Leiden, and the Pilgrims left Leiden when they crossed under that bridge. They did not board at that spot. They boarded at the Rapenburg, not far from the Pieterskerk and John Robinson’s house. Continue reading Mayflower myths 2020