Skip to content

The Pilgrims in Boston

Guildhall Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window


One night in the autumn of 1607, a passionate and determined group of men, women and children secretly met a boat on the edge of 'The Wash' at Scotia Creek, Fishtoft, near Boston. They planned to defy the authority of the English church and escape across the North Sea to Holland to live in religious freedom. They had walked 60 miles from Scrooby, near Gainsborough, and were hoping for a new life.


They had arranged to travel with the captain of a ship; instead he betrayed them and the local militia seized the group and took their money, books and personal possessions. Stripped of their belongings and hope, the group were brought by boat back to Boston and imprisoned at the Guildhall, home to the local law court and cells.  After a month, most were sent back "from whence they came", but seven ringleaders were ordered to the higher Assizes court of Lincoln. Unfortunately no surviving evidence records whether they ever travelled to Lincoln.


The following year the group made another attempt to escape England, leaving from Immingham, North Lincolnshire.  This time they successfully reached Holland and lived briefly in Amsterdam before moving to Leiden. Perhaps most famously, 13 years after trying to escape from Boston, a group of these original men and women sailed back to England and then on to America.  These 'Pilgrims' set sail on the Mayflower in 1620 for a completely new life in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Boston: A Short Introduction

The Reverend John Cotton and Boston's American Legacy

The History of St Botolph's Church

Markets and Fairs

Boston and the Water


Heritage-logos Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window