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Before the Mayflower

Season 2, Ep. 2

This year, the US looks back four centuries to an intrepid band of refugees making a perilous home in New England. The Mayflower pilgrims had been outlaws in England, members of an underground church known as the Brownists or Separatists. They believed church should be a voluntary community rather than a compulsory state religion. For their refusal to submit to the Church of England they had faced raids, prison, exile and death for the previous 60 years.


This podcast explores a previous expedition to North America. The Separatists had attempted to become the pilgrim fathers in Newfoundland as early as 1597.


Join Paul Lay, editor of History Today, in conversation with Stephen Tomkins, author of The Journey to the Mayflower: God’s Outlaws & the Invention of Freedom (Hodder & Stoughton, 2020).


You can read Stephen's article in the February issue of the magazine on our website, or buy a copy here.

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