2020 is a very special year, being the 400th anniversary of the first Pilgrim Puritans’ voyage from Plymouth to the New World and the ‘Mayflower’ set sail, on 16th September 1620. The Mayflower carried a crew of about 30 men and 102 passengers, one of whom was former King’s Scholar, Edward Winslow. Winslow joined King’s School on the Annunciation (or Lady Day, 25 March) 1606 and held his King’s Scholarship for the full five-year term to Lady Day 1611 and was thus a pupil under King’s fifth Headmaster, Henry Bright (HM 1589-1627).
King’s Archivist, Harriet Patrick, has provided a compelling account of Edward Winslow’s prominent position amongst these first settlers to New Plymouth, as the new colony was called, in the Winter 2019 edition of Connect (page 12). In 1622 the colonists sent back to England by the ‘Fortune’ the manuscript of a book called “A Relation, or Journal of the Beginnings and Proceedings of the English Plantation settled at Plymouth in New England”, which was duly printed in London, the first book written in the New World to be published. Much of what is known of Plymouth’s first year of settlement is contained in this promotional pamphlet, of which Winslow was co-author. Winslow’s study of the Bible and (evidently) the teaching of Henry Bright had combined to give him a direct simple style admirably suited to the vivid story he had to tell, and his descriptions of their first meetings with Native peoples make fascinating reading.
It has been particularly enjoyable to read a summary of the Mayflower journey and its significance in shaping the history of modern America, which was published in The Week magazine (on 4th September 2020) including specific reference to Edward Winslow’s role.