Monday 20 March 2023

Across the pond

 We've got a couple of interesting connections to the early history of the USA from the European settlers round here. I've written previously about William Penn here and our dear old firebrand Thomas Paine [he of the "Rights of Man" fame] lived in Lewes before travelling across. Last week I came upon another in the nearby Surrey town of Dorking when I suddenly clapped eyes on this weather vane which stands proud on the pavement. I could identify a kraken on it, but had to wait until I got home to find out more.

This piece of public art was made by the Fire and Iron forge and marks the voyage of the erstwhile Dorking born shoemaker William Mullins who travelled across on the Mayflower with his family on 16th September 1620 [surprise, surprise it's called Mayflower­čśŐ] and the house below is where he lived before selling it in 1619.

Unlike many of the pilgrims Mullins was not a religious separatist, but a so called "stranger" who was one of the passengers included on the trip for their funding of it. Prior to travelling William had been an investor in the Merchant Adventurers Group who had financially backed the venture. His motivation for going certainly seems to have been a commercial one. Unfortunately although he made the voyage there was no new life awaiting him. Upon arrival he was one of the signatories on the Mayflower Compact, but he died on 21st February 1621 followed shortly by all the other members of his party bar his daughter Priscilla. She went on to marry John Alden [the cooper on the Mayflower] and they had ten children. Her house in Duxbury, Massachusetts is still standing and the former president, John Adams, claimed to be descended from her.



  1. Such an interesting & detailed piece of artwork! Thanks ever so much for sharing.
    I wanted to learn more about the piece and found information here:

    1. Thanks for the link. I wasn't sure when it was installed. When you drive into Dorking there's a huge cockerel in the middle of one of the roundabouts which was made by the same people. Arilx

  2. Fascinating post. That is a wonderful weather vane. Can you imagine being on a wooden ship for 66 days, seeing nothing but water?

  3. They were very brave. I remember from my time in Plymouth that many suffered whilst at sea. Arilx

  4. What a sad end after such an arduous voyage! x


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