Pilgrims and Plymouth: 400 Years Later (2022)

On September 16, 1620,the crew of the Mayflower weighed anchor to leave Plymouth, England. The Pilgrims gathered on board were anticipating a new homeland, better economic opportunities, and freedom to follow God’s commands without interference. The ship held thirty-seven Pilgrims, sixty-five other colonists, thirty crew members, some small-breed livestock, and a few dogs. The ship’s decks were also filled with food, tools (including a blacksmith’s shop), clothing, water, beer, two cannons for defense, multiple firearms, and other items needed for the two month journey and settlement in the new world.

Everything was crammed onto this three-masted ship, which measured ninety by twenty-five feet and weighed 180 tons. Three such shipscould be set end to end between the goal lines of an American football field; it was nothing near a cruise ship, yet nevertheless a good vessel, and not unusual in an era acquainted with crammed living conditions.b

Before continuing the narrative of the Plymouth Pilgrims, it is necessary to back-track and learn about who they were and what motivated them to leave for America.

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(Video) The 400th Anniversary of the Pilgrims Landing on Plymouth Rock and the History of Thanksgiving

The Pilgrims’ congregation began in the village of Scrooby on the River Ryton in North Nottinghamshire in the early 17th century. They gathered for worship in the manor house of one of their leaders, William Brewster, who had adopted Puritan teaching during his studies in Cambridge’s oldest college, Peterhouse.

Theologically, Pilgrims were Puritans. The definition of Puritan has been debated by historical theologians and sociological historians, with the latter often (and mistakenly) emphasizing their political motivations over their theological commitments. Puritans sought to reform (i.e. purify) the doctrine of the Church of England, pressing towards an adoption of Reformed theology and liturgy.

The Puritans have been unjustly caricatured as rough-and-ready factionalists, seeking out minor doctrinal errors in order to disrupt the Church of England. On the contrary, they sought thorough reform in the spirit of the Reformation’s sola Scriptura. Puritans had high regard for God’s universal Church as represented nationally by the Church of England, but they wanted changes that were more true to the teaching of the Bible.

As the years passed, however, growing hostility to change led many Puritans to leave the Church of England as Separatists (i.e. Non-conformists)—and such were the Pilgrims. Theirs was a road little traveled and fraught with peril.Separatists could face harassment, fines, even jail for worshipping freely. And their persecution extended beyond issues of worship. For example, they did not enjoy the same educational opportunities as those in the Church of England. Universities were overseen by the Church of England, and if one separated from its worship, then one also separated from the educational institutions it governed. Separatists were also social outcasts, as participation in England’s Church was a mark of national loyalty and status.

With several factors against them, the Pilgrims’ situation in England went from bad to worse, leading to their decision to leave for the bustling and prosperous trade center of Amsterdam. After meeting some impediments to their departure, they left in 1606 under the leadership of William Brewster, William Bradford, John Robinson, and the former Church of England minister, Richard Clifton.

In Amsterdam the Pilgrims found life among the city’s 100,000 residents a challenging cross-cultural experience. Language proved an obvious challange, but added to this was (despite the legal right to worship) interference with their gatherings by some individuals of the Dutch Reformed Church. Another difficulty was that back in Scrooby the Pilgrims experienced middling-sort respectability and prosperity, but in Amsterdam they were looked down upon and could not get similar jobs. The employment situation for them was so bad they moved to Leiden and worked in trades associated with the booming Dutch fabric industry. William Brewster, possibly the wealthiest of the Pilgrims, set up a printing business with Thomas Brewer and published tracts critical of the Church of England to smuggle into England for distribution.

After twelve years in Leiden, the Pilgrims had become increasingly concerned that their children were growing up Dutch instead of English, so they discussed options for relocation. They wanted a land with less government and more opportunities. Among the places considered were the Canary Islands, some of the Caribbean islands, and Guiana, which were all abandoned in favor of Virginia working with the support of the Virginia Company. In exchange for establishing the Pilgrims in a colony, the investors expected goods such as furs, fish, curiosities, lumber, and other saleable items to be shipped back to England for marketing.

The stipulated destination for the Pilgrims was the northern edge of the Virginia Colony near the mouth of the Hudson River. It was a good plan, the Pilgrims remained concerned about a number of factors, such as the ship sinking, starvation at sea, attacks by pirates, poor sanitation, dread they might fall overboard, and—the bane of many novice ship passengers—sea sickness. Heading to America was a major step involving innumerable decisions and logistics, but the Separatists from Scrooby eventually took up the challenge.

(Video) The Mayflower and Plymouth Colony - 400th Anniversary

* * *

Let's return now to the port of Plymouth: The Mayflower weighed anchor, and departed for the trans-Atlantic journey to America. During the sixty-six days of their crossing, passengers experienced the dangers, excitement, and sorrows of extended transit while living in close quarters. A child was born to Stephen and Elizabeth Hopkins and given the seaworthy name Oceanus. The fear of going overboard was realized when John Howland was tossed into the sea as Mayflower rolled in the waves, but he survived by climbing a rope to get back on deck. William Bradford meanwhile noted that “many were afflicted with sea-sickness.”

The relationships between the Pilgrims and others on board did not always go well. One crewman, a “very profane young man,” cursed and condemned the sick Pilgrims every day, saying they should all be thrown overboard. About halfway through the trip the crewman died. Bradford expressed his opinion regarding the deceased crewman saying, “Thus his curses light on his own head; and it was an astonishment to all his fellows, for they noted it to be the just hand of God upon him.” The weather meanwhile was mixed;theMayflower didencounter some horrible storms, one of which bowed and cracked one of the main beams.Yet considering the length of the journey, interpersonal conflicts, and some violent weather, the trip progressed well.

As land came into view, roaring waves and numerous shoals led the master of the Mayflower to anchor off Cape Cod on November 11, 1620, instead of sailing on to the Hudson River as their contract stipulated. The Pilgrims went ashore and fell on their knees and “blessed God of heaven, who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth.” Initially, the Cape Cod stop was intended to be temporary, but after consideration of their situation and the increasing dangers of sailing during winter, it was decided to remain at Cape Cod and search out the immediate region for a suitable settlement site.

Yet there was a problem: Since the settlers decided not to sail to the Hudson, their contract with the Virginia Company was broken. Some passengers became angry and made speeches, calling for people to join them and establish their own settlement and leave the Pilgrims and others to their own. Order and leadership were desperate needs.How would the mixture of Pilgrims, crew, and a variety of other colonists with varying religious commitments be governed?

The Pilgrims were experienced governing themselves. William Bradford commented that while they lived in Leiden, they never had to resort to the local magistrate because they policed their own people. Their church polity was congregational, which means each congregation shepherded itself with elders and all members were bound together by covenant. The covenant concept was important for those on board the Mayfloweras they composed a document to direct their government. John Robinson was the pastor of the Pilgrims while they lived in Leiden and he had remained there with the members who chose not to leave. Well before the Pilgrims departed in July 1620, he sent a letter to John Carver. One paragraph is particularly important for the Pilgrims as they sought to establish civil government:

Whereas you are become a body politic, using amongst yourselves civil government, and are not furnished with any persons of special eminency above the rest, to be chosen into office of government, let your wisdom and godliness appear, not only in choosing such persons as do entirely love and will promote the common good, but also in yielding unto them all due honor and obedience in their lawful administration, not beholding in them the ordinariness of their persons, but God’s ordinance for your good; not being like the foolish multitude who more honor the gay coat than either the virtuous mind of the man, or glorious ordinance of the Lord. But you know better things, and that the image of the Lord’s power and authority which the magistrate beareth, is honorable, in how mean persons so ever. And this duty you both may the more willingly and ought the more conscionably to perform, because you are at least for the present to have only them for your ordinary governors, which yourselves shall make choice of for that work.

Robinson specifically noted that the responsibilities for the Pilgrims included not only governing themselves but also the other colonists as well as the crew until it returned the Mayflower to England. John Calvin’s emaciated remains had been buried in an unmarked grave for over sixty years, but his teaching from Scripture concerning separation of the ministry of the church from the ministry of the state was alive and well in that ship full of sea-weary passengers anchored at Cape Cod. With necessity for order at hand and the advice of John Robinson in mind, the Mayflower Compact was composed and signed:

(Video) Mayflower 400 years: How many people are related to the Mayflower pilgrims?

In the Name of God, Amen.

We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc.

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honor of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinance, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620.

The Mayflower Compact echoes aspects of Robinson’s letter. Even though the Compact used “general good” instead of Robinson’s “common good,” the great sense of responsibility one to another is seen in their purpose to “Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic.” The congregationalist Pilgrims covenanted as a church; the Pilgrims and their colonist colleagues covenanted as a state. If the settlement of Plymouth was to be successful, everyone had to work together; it was a matter of survival. Thirty-nine of the approximately seventy-four males on board ship signed the Mayflower Compact. John Carver was the first signatory and he was the first governor of Plymouth until he died a in early spring leaving the responsibility to William Bradford.

The Mayflower was moved from Cape Cod to the harbor accessing the Plymouth site, December 16, 1620. The site appeared to have been a village abandoned by the Wampanoags, which provided the Pilgrims with a clearing and head start for building a village. The first project on their list was building a common house for meetings and worship. Logs were manually dragged to the construction site because the settlers had no draught animals. By the end of January, the common house was completed with a thatched roof and ready for the first worship service which was led by Elder William Brewster.

Fear of the Indians was realized when some were seen at a distance watching progress of the village construction. The two cannons on board ship were transported ashore. In the spring the Pilgrims fears were alleviated when they made contact with the Wampanoag people and discussions led to a treaty with their leader, Massasoit. Settlement of the situation with the Wampanoags helped compensate for the horrors experienced during the winter. Disease and a scanty supply of food took their toll, leaving only about fifty colonists alive. The Mayflower returned to England in April with its marketable cargo, but with its crew halved due to deaths from disease. The first months for Plymouth were difficult, but the Pilgrims and other colonists would continue to build their village, develop farms, worship in freedom, and provide goods for selling in England.

The Pilgrims should be remembered four-hundred years hence for their Christian dedication, virtue, persistence, work ethic, and commitment to covenantally govern themselves. The Covenant of Grace bound them redemptively to God and one another, while the political covenant of the Mayflower Compact bound them to their neighbors for the common good as administered by capable and pious leaders. Things did not always go well, but the Compact directed colonists to select civil leaders appropriate for the task of doing the best for all concerned. Working together was essential to survival and harmony in Plymouth.

It is terrible that during this year Plymouth Rock has been vandalized more than once with spray-painted graffiti and obscenities, but such actions are indicative of the fragmented society that is America today. In contrast to the Pilgrims, today we find more the spirit of Israel in the days of the Judges, when“every man did what was right in his own eyes” and cared little for either God or neighbor. Yet even as Israel repeatedly sinned,the Lord graciously sent Judges such as Gideon, Deborah, and Samson to deliver them. May God likewise deliver us from our selfishness, that we may better love Him and our neighbors—just as did the Pilgrims of old.

(Video) The Pilgrims: 400 Years After

Barry Waugh(PhD, WTS) is the editor ofPresbyterians of the Past. He has written for various periodicals, such as the Westminster Theological Journal and The Confessional Presbyterian. He has also contributed to Gary L. W. Johnson’s, B. B. Warfield: Essays on His Life and Thought(2007) and edited Letters from the Front: J. Gresham Machen’s Correspondence from World War I(2012).

Related Links

"Godly Republicanism" by Bradford Littlejohn

"Harriet Beecher Stowe's Theological Transition" by Barry Waugh

"A Plea for Meekness" byJason Carter

"The Character of an Old English Puritan" by John Geere

Meet the Puritans byJoel Beeke & Randall Pederson

Notes

(Video) Why the Pilgrims Left England 400 Years Ago

It is not unusual for events of the past to be recounted in different sources with conflicting information, thus the specific date for the move to the Plymouth site from Cape Cod seems to be up in the air. Maybe this is why Plymouth Rock has engraved on it simply, 1620. It can be said for sure that the landing occurred in December and the sixteenth is believed to be the best day. The editions of William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation used are those edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison, 1993, and the two-volume edition published by the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1912. Due to the quadricentennial there are several websites remembering the Pilgrims’ Plymouth landing, including one for the United Kingdom.

FAQs

Where did the Mayflower land 400 years ago? ›

Many of its passengers boarded the already-crowded Mayflower. The voyage was a nightmare, yet the Pilgrims didn't lose faith. The sighted Cape Cod on Nov. 9, 1620, and landed at what we today call Provincetown on Nov.

Is this the 400 year anniversary of Thanksgiving? ›

Today it is celebrated each year on the fourth Thursday of November, but the American tradition of a special day of thanksgiving has as its foundation the Pilgrim harvest festivities of 1621. This year, 2021, marks the 400th anniversary of that celebration.

How long did it take for the Pilgrims to get to Plymouth? ›

Arrival at Plymouth

Mayflower arrived in New England on November 11, 1620 after a voyage of 66 days.

What eventually happened to the Pilgrim colony of Plymouth? ›

Plymouth played a central role in King Philip's War (1675–1678), one of several Indian Wars, but the colony was ultimately merged with the Massachusetts Bay Colony and other territories in 1691 to form the Province of Massachusetts Bay.

Were there any black Pilgrims? ›

The search for a black Pilgrim began decades ago. Then, in 1981, historians announced with great fanfare that they had finally found enough evidence that one early settler was indeed of African descent. That man was included in a 1643 record listing the names of men able to serve in the Plymouth, Mass., militia.

Who came to America before the Pilgrims? ›

Before Columbus

We know now that Columbus was among the last explorers to reach the Americas, not the first. Five hundred years before Columbus, a daring band of Vikings led by Leif Eriksson set foot in North America and established a settlement.

Whats the true story behind Thanksgiving? ›

In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states.

What did the Pilgrims do to the natives? ›

In a desperate state, the pilgrims robbed corn from Native Americans graves and storehouses soon after they arrived; but because of their overall lack of preparation, half of them still died within their first year.

What really happened at the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621? ›

The feast lasted three days and, according to chronicler Edward Winslow, Bradford sent four men on a “fowling mission” to prepare for the feast and the Wampanoag guests brought five deer to the party. And ever since then, the story goes, Americans have celebrated Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November.

What disease killed the Pilgrims on the Mayflower? ›

In the years before English settlers established the Plymouth colony (1616–1619), most Native Americans living on the southeastern coast of present-day Massachusetts died from a mysterious disease. Classic explanations have included yellow fever, smallpox, and plague.

What did the Pilgrims fail to do? ›

1 Answer. The pilgrims failed to see the unhappiness in the eyes of the beggars.

How did the Pilgrims avoid death while living in Plymouth? ›

How did the Pilgrims avoid death while living in Plymouth? A friendly Indian, who had knowledge of the English language, taught the Pilgrims how to live off the land. What is the significance of the first Thanksgiving?

Why did the Plymouth Colony fail? ›

When the pilgrims landed in Plymouth, many of them were already weak from disease and a lack of food. The voyage had been long and they were short on supplies. Over the course of the winter, the colony lost almost half of its people due to disease and starvation.

Do Pilgrims still exist today? ›

Wanderlusted: Meet the Modern-Day Pilgrims. Follow the footsteps of five modern-day pilgrims who are retracing the steps of ancestors, spreading kindness, and preserving heritage. There are the tourists—those who seek temporary respite from their daily lives, and the glimpse of a famous landmark.

Who came to America after Pilgrims? ›

The native inhabitants of the region around Plymouth Colony were the various tribes of the Wampanoag people, who had lived there for some 10,000 years before the Europeans arrived. Soon after the Pilgrims built their settlement, they came into contact with Tisquantum, or Squanto, an English-speaking Native American.

When did slavery start in the world? ›

Slavery operated in the first civilizations (such as Sumer in Mesopotamia, which dates back as far as 3500 BCE). Slavery features in the Mesopotamian Code of Hammurabi (c. 1860 BCE), which refers to it as an established institution.

Are there black Vikings? ›

Were there Black Vikings? Although Vikings hailed from Sweden, Norway, and Denmark – and these were essentially White areas – it has been noted that there were, indeed, a very small number of Black Vikings. This makes sense considering that the fact Vikings travelled the globe is well documented.

What nationality were the Pilgrims on the Mayflower? ›

Mayflower was an English ship that transported a group of English families, known today as the Pilgrims, from England to the New World in 1620.

What language did the Pilgrims speak? ›

That's because they are speaking in 17th-century English, not 21st-century modern English. Here are a few examples of English words, greetings and phrases that would have been used by the Pilgrims.

Who lived in the US first? ›

Up until the 1970s, these first Americans had a name: the Clovis peoples. They get their name from an ancient settlement discovered near Clovis, New Mexico, dated to over 11,000 years ago. And DNA suggests they are the direct ancestors of nearly 80 percent of all indigenous people in the Americas.

When did slavery start in America? ›

However, many consider a significant starting point to slavery in America to be 1619, when the privateer The White Lion brought 20 enslaved African ashore in the British colony of Jamestown, Virginia.

What was the maritime voyage 400 years ago? ›

The historic voyage is remembered for bringing about the colonisation of North America. The voyage of the famous Mayflower ship took place 400 years ago today, having set sail from Plymouth on 16 September 1620.

Where did the Mayflower land first? ›

Instead, after a 66-day voyage, it first landed November 21 on Cape Cod at what is now Provincetown, Massachusetts, and the day after Christmas it deposited its 102 settlers nearby at the site of Plymouth.

When did Mayflower come to America? ›

The Journey. Would you have liked to travel on a small ship with more than 100 other people, all of their belongings, and possibly some farm animals – for 66 days? That's what the Pilgrims did in the year 1620, on a ship called Mayflower.

Why did the Pilgrims not land where they were supposed to? ›

The Pilgrims had a long and difficult journey across the Atlantic Ocean. A storm blew them off course so instead of landing in Virginia, they landed further north in Cape Cod.

What disease killed the pilgrims on the Mayflower? ›

In the years before English settlers established the Plymouth colony (1616–1619), most Native Americans living on the southeastern coast of present-day Massachusetts died from a mysterious disease. Classic explanations have included yellow fever, smallpox, and plague.

What 3 ships did the Pilgrims sail on? ›

Take yourself back 400 years when three ships – the Susan Constant, the Discovery, and the Godspeed – set sail from England in December 1606 for the New World.

What is a 400 year celebration? ›

Speeches from the four nations of the Mayflower 400 commemoration. The Mayflower 400 anniversary was a true four-nation commemoration between the UK, the USA, the Wampanoag Nation and the Netherlands. These speeches form part of a legacy that will help future generations to better understand the Mayflower story.

The Mayflower's history spans hundreds of years and the story is believed to be the beginnings of modern America

It's about the people who already lived in America and the enormous effect the arrival of these colonists would have on Native Americans and the land they had called home for centuries.. More than 30 million people can trace their ancestry to the 102 passengers and approximately 30 crew aboard the Mayflower when it landed in Plymouth Bay, Massachusetts, in the harsh winter of 1620.. A significant number were known as Separatists, a group of people who mostly wanted to live a life free from the current Church of England.. But the Mayflower story is renowned for its themes of freedom and humanity – including the relationships first formed between the Native American Wampanoag tribe and the colonists and the first Thanksgiving.. When the Separatists landed in America, Bradford went on to become a Governor of the Plymouth Colony, serving for more than 30 years.. A ship called the Speedwell would carry the Leiden group to America while another ship called the Mayflower was hired to take passengers who weren’t necessarily travelling for religious reasons.. The Mayflower would sail from the port of Rotherhithe in London, carrying many there for work in the new land, who simply wanted to build a new life, crew and servants.. William and Dorothy (May) Bradford William and Mary Brewster, and children Love and Wrestling Richard Britteridge Peter Browne William Butten Robert Carter John and Katherine (White) Carver James and Mrs. Chilton, and daughter Mary Richard Clarke Francis Cooke and son John Humility Cooper John Crackstone and son John Edward Doty Francis and Sarah Eaton, and son Samuel Thomas English Moses Fletcher Edward and Mrs. Fuller, and son Samuel Samuel Fuller Richard Gardiner John Goodman William Holbeck John Hooke Stephen and Elizabeth (Fisher) Hopkins and children Constance, Giles and Damaris; son Oceanus was born during the voyage.. John Howland John Langmore William Latham Edward Leister Edmund Margesson Christopher and Mary (Prower) Martin Desire Minter Ellen, Jasper, Richard, and Mary More William and Alice Mullins and children Priscilla and Joseph Degory Priest Solomon Prower John and Alice Rigsdale Thomas Rogers and son Joseph Henry Samson George Soule Myles and Rose Standish Elias Story Edward Thompson Edward and Agnes (Cooper) Tilley John and Joan (Hurst) Tilley and daughter Elizabeth Thomas and Mrs. Tinker, and a son William Trevore John Turner, and two sons Richard Warren William and Susanna (Jackson) White, and son Resolved(son Peregrine was born shipboard in Provincetown Harbor after arrival).. having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honour of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northerne parts of Virginia, doe by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civill body politick, for our better ordering and preservation, and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enacte, constitute, and frame such just and equall laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete and convenient for the generall good of the Colonie unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.. The native inhabitants of the region around Plymouth Colony were the various groups of the Wampanoag people and other tribes, who had lived there for some 10,000 years before the Europeans arrived.. When his crew began to recover from disease, the Mayflower’s captain Christopher Jones sailed the ship back to England, taking half the time that it did on its outward journey.. In the years before the Mayflower landed, The Wampanoag had been attacked by neighbouring tribes, losing land along the coast.. The term Pilgrim originated in 1820, when during the 200 th commemoration of the colony’s landing they were referred to as the Pilgrim Fathers in reference to Bradford’s manuscript where he names passengers on the boat from Leiden ‘saints’ and ‘pilgrimes’.. The Native American activist group, The United American Indians of New England, continues to raise awareness of racism towards Native Americans and the consequences of colonialism.

There is no evidence Plymouth Rock is the exact boulder where Pilgrims first disembarked the Mayflower in 1620, nor that it was found at sea level.

Legend has it that, upon arriving in North America, the Pilgrims stepped off the Mayflower onto the large boulder that now sits in a place of prominence on the Plymouth, Massachusetts, waterfront.. And despite what some social media users have claimed, the landmark cannot be used to disprove that sea levels are rising.. There are two primary accounts of the Pilgrims’ Plymouth landing, but “both simply say that the Pilgrims landed.. The National Museum of American History site refers to the story of the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock as “oral tradition,” and said no contemporary accounts of the landing mention a rock.. Plymouth’s tourism website said in 1741 an elder identified Plymouth Rock as the exact landing spot.. One part of the rock remained in place; the other piece was moved to the town square.. “But all it can indicate is local sea level, not ‘sea levels’ generally or the global mean rise,” Oppenheimer said.. Satellite data, which has been used to measure sea level rise since 1993, indicates an average rate of global sea level rise of about 13.9 inches per century, Griggs said.. There’s no proof that Plymouth Rock was at sea level when it might have welcomed the Pilgrims in 1620.. That sea levels are rising, however, is undisputed.

Seven generations of this incredible family have devoted their lives to funerals

John Walter Parson in 1885 (Image: Walter C. Parson)Since then, the business has been passed down a further six generations, with Stephen's own son, John, currently working for the company.. Walter and Beryl Parson (Image: Walter C. Parson)Richard's successor was his son, John, with the business then passing to Oscar Walter, who, in the first world war, was "a member of the royal flying corps and flew regularly over the trenches of Flanders.. He reflected further, looking back at a time when WCP made the headlines with their forward-thinking outlook: "In the war years when my grandfather went to Canada as a flying officer and my Grandmother, Beryl, ran the business in his absence, she made the Daily Mirror of the day as the first lady funeral director who had conducted a number of men-only funerals.". In 1999, Stephen stepped in as Managing Director, he said: "Wally wanted to retire and we bought the business from Wally to make sure it stayed in the family and continued to run as a family-owned business.". After years of working at WCP, Stephen now headed the company and "made a conscious decision to continue our predecessor's ethos but we knew we had to do more than this to move forward so we made a plan to expand the business whilst at the same time making a determined effort to recruit quality staff and train them to the exacting standards of WCP.". Stephen Ware making a speech at the 180th anniversary of Walter C. Parson (Image: Walter C. Parson) Walter C. Parson is now one of the largest funeral brands in the South West, so what's next for WCP?. The company has gone from strength to strength over the last 180 years, and this is something Stephen recognises: "We have a tough act to follow but we are committed to expanding the business and with the experienced funeral directors and staff we have around us I feel sure it is only a matter of time before we are moving forward again.

Videos

1. How the Pilgrims Changed the World - Plymouth 400th Anniversary
(Discerning History)
2. Nathaniel Philbrick, 400 Years After the Pilgrims Landed
(Nantucket Atheneum)
3. Ep 1: The Pilgrims Leave Leiden - 400 Years Ago Today | 𝐉𝐮𝐥𝐲 𝟐𝟐ⁿᵈ 𝟏𝟔𝟐𝟎
(Pilgrim Son)
4. THE PILGRIMS: 400 YEARS LATER
(2Days Denarius)
5. The Story of the Pilgrims and the Mayflower
(Buddy Vickers)
6. Ep 4: The Mayflower's Voyage to America - 400 Years Ago Today | 𝐍𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝟗ᵗʰ 𝟏𝟔𝟐𝟎
(Pilgrim Son)

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