Event celebrated Gainsborough's link to the Mayflower

Families across West Lindsey and beyond enjoyed a sun soaked day of festivities at Gainsborough Old Hall to mark the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower story.

The event was attended by many including WLDC Assistant Director of Planning and Regeneration Sally Grindrod-Smith, Leader Coun Owen Bierley, Deputy Leader Coun Anne Welburn, Coun Judy Rainsforth, Coun Stephen Bunney and Dr Anna Scott, Mayflower 400 Officer

Having been postponed last year as a result of the pandemic, the Flight of the Separatists event finally took place to recognise the Pilgrims’ escape from England in search of religious freedom via Gainsborough

The event included performances from theatre group Rhubarb Theatre, as well as activities such as felt hat making, pottery making and rope making, on what was a beautifully blue-skied occasion.

Coun Owen Bierley, leader of West Lindsey District Council, who attended the event, said: “I enjoyed the day immensely, perhaps most especially the tour of the building when I also learned a great deal.

"Although I've been before it was interesting to see the changes English Heritage have made and their interpretation of the Old Hall and its history was amazing.

"It is one of the finest medieval homes in the country and what can be seen today fully reflects how well it has been loved, cared for and adapted by so many generations of owners.

"As such it is of interest to people of all ages indeed to the whole family. English Heritage also have exciting plans to increase the appeal and usage of the Old Hall and I would highly recommend a visit.”

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Families across West Lindsey, and from as far as Lincoln and Derbyshire, took part in the activities and festivities on-offer, with many praising the performers and activities taking place.

Marie Williams, 77, from Gainsborough, said: “Having the event in the grounds of Gainsborough Old Hall, really brings the place alive.

"I have loved sitting in the garden with a cup of tea watching everything.

"It has been a really interesting day and the Pottery man is so clever, he has made the most perfect pots.”

Simon Petts and his daughters enjoyed watching the Rhubarb Theatre show on the Lawn outside the Old Hall.

He said: “The Theatre show was really good and so was the band.

"We loved the big ship and seeing everyone dressed up.

"It is great that we have been able to have an event like this on our own doorstep.”

As well as those attending, the delight was shared among visitors both associated with the Old Hall, and those running stalls as part of the occasion.

Joy Woods, 80, has been looking after the gardens at the Old Hall for 25 years. She attended the event with her husband Richard and their friends.

She said: “The event looks really good I have enjoyed watching the lady making the hats and it is lovely to see how they were made.”

Susan Scott, 70, used to be the Principle Keeper at the Old Hall.

She said: “I am really pleased to see the Old Hall open again as it is gorgeous. I love everything so far with the tradesmen - it really brings the place alive.”

Myle Piper was running the games stall at the event on the day.

He said: “It is the first time I have been to Gainsborough Old Hall and it is very impressive. It has been interesting listening to people and what they have to say. We haven’t changed much in all these years – we are still the same people and we still need to have fun in our lives to carry on.”

Peg Skinner was also running a stall on the day – this time demonstrating hat-making.

She said: “I was here about 12 years ago but it is so lovely to be back as the Old Hall is beautifully preserved. People have been genuinely amazed to see how we make hats and have enjoyed learning something new and have been very appreciative.”

Russ Scott said it was the first time he had been to the Old Hall.

He said: “This is a fantastic place and the event has been very well organised and we could not have asked for better. There has been a lot of interested in the boat.

"Little Jolly Boats like this will have been used in the days when the river was used more. When there was markets up and down the stream – these would have been the main port of transport.

"The boats are also connected with the separatists and growing up in Gainsborough people would have seen many of these around.”

For more information on the Mayflower visit www.discovergainsborough.com/pilgrimroots.