Mayflower 2020

The Four Hundredth Anniversary of the Sailing of the Mayflower

To commemorate the voyage of four Billericay Pilgrim Fathers to the New World on the Mayflower in 1620, a programme of events has been organized by the town’s clubs and societies to mark the 400th anniversary.  Their representatives were formed into a steering group by the Billericay Mayflower Twinning Association which has co-ordinated the programme below.  Forty-one events are planned over the year based around four key dates in the history of the voyage.  We hope we’ve included something for everyone – all ages and interests catered for – so that 2020 will be a truly memorable year, one our children and grandchildren will recall and one of which Christopher and Mary Martin, Solomon Prower, and John Langemore would be proud.

BMTA Mayflower 2020 Committee

Only events advertised with the Mayflower 2020 logo are endorsed as part of the official programme.  Our logo seen above was designed by Acors Press.

January – December: Billericay Community Cinema

A season celebrating a century of classic American films.  Monthly from  January on a Thursday at 7 p.m. at Billericay Library.  Tickets: £5. Full info from 

January – March: Billericay Reading Rooms

Primary Schools’ Pilgrim Fathers Project with prizes sponsored by the Reading Rooms, Billericay Mayflower W.I., Billericay District Residents’ Association & Rainer Hughes Solicitors.  A display of children’s work will be mounted in the Reading Rooms 13th-15th March.

Spring: Billericay Brewing Co.

Four commemorative beers to be brewed by Billericay Brewing Co., 52 Chapel St., CM12 9LS.  More info from, 01277 500121 or

Mon 2nd March: Publication of ‘The May-Flower Pilgrims 1620 and the Founding of Billerica, Massachusetts 1655’ by Julian Whybra

Available from The Cater Museum, Slipped Discs, Crystalprint or can be ordered in advance from  Price £12.50.  Signings & sales at some of the events marked * below.

 Sat 7th March: Billericay Lions

A Taste of America.  Food with quiz.  Emmanuel Hall, Laindon Rd., 7 for 7.30 pm start.  Open to non-members: ticket £18.50 p.p. available from 03458 339849 or or outside Poundland in the High Street every Saturday morning.

Sun 8th March: Churches Together in Billericay & Billericay Town Council

400th Anniversary Civic Service: Building a More Tolerant Society.  The Most Holy Redeemer R.C. Church, 21 Laindon Rd., CM12 9LL, 2 pm. Further info: 01277 624891.

Fri 13th-Sun 15th March: Billericay Reading Rooms

A display of local Primary Schools’ Project work on the Pilgrim Fathers / Mayflower with a prize for the best composition.  Official Opening by the Rt. Hon. John Baron M.P. 10.00 am. Free entry 12-4 (13th), 10-4 (14th & 15th).


March: Friends of Lake MeadowsOak tree

A commemorative oak tree was planted in the park, a plaque will be added in due course.  Details on


Sat 25th April: Mayflower Morris Men  CANCELLED 

St. George and the Dragon Mummers’ Play (with Guest Appearance by Christopher Martin).  11 and 11.45 am corner of High St. & St. Edith’s La.  Free event.  See

Sat 25th April: Mayflower Morris Men  CANCELLED

A commemorative display of Morris dancing 2.00 p.m. The Chequers, High St.  Free event.  See

Sun 10th May: The Norsey Wood Society CANCELLED

Norsey Wood Mayflower 2020 Open Day.  Free entry.  For further info see

Mon 18th May: Essex Handicrafts Association Billericay Branch POSTPONED

This event will now take place on Monday 22nd February 2021

Lecture* by Julian Whybra, The Fold, 72 Laindon Rd., 8 pm, members: free, non-members £4.00, refreshments available; contact: or 01277 213410

Essex and the May-Flower Pilgrims                                

The voyage of the May-Flower to the New World in 1620 is an event of which most people are aware.  But who were these ‘Pilgrims’?  Did they flee England out of religious conviction or were they entrepreneurs with an eye for the main chance?  How did they fare in the New World and how did their epic journey lead to the founding of the township of New Plimoth in Massachusetts?  Find out a little about your local history.

May: Friends of Lake Meadows

A specially-designed, American / English-themed planting will be unveiled in the raised badge bed in the park’s garden area which will last throughout the summer.  Details to be announced on

Mon 1st June: The Billericay Society Bill Soc sign 1Bill Soc sign 3

Billericay society have finalised the refurbishment of the three town signs. The first one on London road was erected in 1953 to celebrate the Queens coronation. This sign eventually disintegrated and was replaced in 1993 by the current metal sign. Laindon common sign was erected in 1986 to celebrate the clubs 50th anniversary. The Potash road sign came last in 1997.

All the signs were refurbished to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower sailing to America carrying local pilgrims.

For more information about the Billericay society:

Bill Soc sign 2

Sat 20th June: Mayflower 2020 Summer Launch Day  CANCELLED

Reading Rooms, High St., 10 am-4 pm.  A chance to preview some of the 2020 commemorative events and to make contact with some of the participating groups.  Free entry.

Sat 20th June: Billericay Dollshouse Club  CANCELLED

Will display models of the original Plymouth settlement, harbour and the Mayflower at the Reading Rooms, High St., 10 am-4 pm.  Free event.  

Sat 27th June: Great Burstead Church Fete  CANCELLED

Including Children’s Mayflower Pilgrim Father & Mother Fancy Dress Competition & Children’s Mayflower Trail.  Free entry, 11 am-4 pm, St. Mary Magdalene Church, Church St., Gt. Burstead CM11 2TR. Contact: 

Sat 27th June: Great Burstead Church Guided Tours  CANCELLED

Guided tour of the church including artefacts relating to the Mayflower. Free, 12 am-3 pm, St. Mary Magdalene Church, Church St., Gt. Burstead CM11 2TR.  Tours last 20 mins., large groups please contact: 

Wed 1st July: Billericay District Residents’ Association CANCELLED

 ‘Best dressed’ Billericay shop window competition begins (theme: the Voyage of the Mayflower).  High street shops & businesses wishing to enter please contact Andy Maddocks

Sat 4th July: Billericay Model Boat Club CANCELLED

Has made a mini-replica of the Mayflower & will be sailing it across the ‘Atlantic Ocean’ (Lake Meadows) between 10.00 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Info stand by the café.  Free event.    

Sat 4th July: Friends of Lake Meadows  CANCELLED

Jazz in the Park 2020 with an English / American theme.  A variety of music, dancing and a few surprises. Musicians include Nimrod Margalit & Friends, The Law, and the Daisy Bowlers.  4-7.15 p.m.  Free event – no tickets required.  Bring chairs and a picnic.  Everyone welcome.  Fancy dress with an English/American theme, any century, may be worn.  For details see

Sat 4th July: Billericay Choral Society  CANCELLED

Concert: ‘The Mayflower Pilgrims and Music of North America’.  Clive Jenkins’s Oratorio for choir and baritone soloist: ‘The Mayflower Pilgrims’. 7.30 pm,  Emmanuel Church, Laindon Rd.  Tickets £10 from or 01277 624524.

Sat 11th July: The Cater Museum CANCELLED

‘The Great Migration’: a re-enactment by the History Re-enactment Workshop.*  74 High St., CM12 9BS, 10 am-4.30 pm.  Period food on offer.  Free entry. Further info:, 01277 622023 or Facebook @catermuseum

Sat 11th July: The Choir for All Seasons   POSTPONED to 27th March 2021

‘Across the Pond Again’.  A concert of American music – Copland, Bernstein, Gershwin, Randall Thompson, Billings, McDowell and traditional American folk. 7.30 pm Mayflower Hall, Chapel St.  Tickets £8 from Slipped Discs, High St., or 01376 510382 or on the door.  Further info: www.the

Wed 15th July Essex Pilgrims leave Billericay

Wed 15th July: Billericay Mayflower Twinning Association/Slipped Discs 

BMTA plaque unveiling

” On Wednesday,15th July 2020 exactly four hundred years to the day that Christopher Martin and his family left Billericay for America, a plaque commemorating their departure was unveiled at Slipped Discs, 59 High Street, Billericay, part of the house occupied by them at the time.

The plaque was produced by the Billericay Mayflower Twinning Association in conjunction with the Mayflower 2020 Committee as part of the programme of events and activities planned for this year. It is located on the left- hand wall of the entrance for everyone to see.

Christopher Martin and his family were the first to leave Billericay for what they thought would be a better life in the New World. It was a bold step for them to take because they had little idea of what lay ahead of them.

Although they did indeed reach America on the Mayflower, sadly they did not survive the first winter. But Christopher Martin was a signatory to the Mayflower Compact which is considered one of three documents underpinning the Constitution of the United States and he is consequently regarded as one of the Founding Fathers of the Country.

A book telling the fascinating story of Christopher Martin ,his family and their connection with the Mayflower is available from the Cater Museum at 74 High Street, Billericay. “

The plaque was designed and carved by Wayne Mack.  

Facebook: Billericay Mayflower 2020, and Twitter: @ Billericay 2020.

Mon 3rd-Sat 15th August: Billericay Tree Wardens  POSTPONED To August 2021

Billericay’s Tree Heritage: a photographic exhibition celebrating our ancient and notable trees (incl. many that were here in 1620).  Free event, 9 am-5 pm Billericay Library.  Contact:

September: Billericay Art Trail    POSTPONED To September 2021

Free children’s activities: (a) Make a 3D Mayflower ship (b) make painted & sequin art squares to create a ‘New England quilt’ display (c) make a Mayflower character collage competition.  Artwork to be displayed post-Trail in the Children’s Library, High St.,  9 am-5 pm.  For details:, Facebook BillericayArtTrail or

Sat 5th September: Billericay Horticultural Society Annual Show  POSTPONED To 12th June 2021

North American Indigenous Plant Display: Flowers & Photos.  9am – 12 Noon. Reading Rooms, High Street.  Free entry. Plant Sale. Hot drinks & homemade cakes for sale.  For more info contact                                                                                      

Sat 5th September: Mayflower Morris Men & Billericay Mayflower Twinning Association   CANCELLED

A Merrie England 1620s’ Barn Dance for Milkmaids & Ploughboys with St. George Barn Dance Band.  7-10.30 pm Canon Roche Hall, Laindon Rd. Tickets: £10 (incl. refreshments, but bring your own drinks).  Costume optional!  Tickets on the door or in advance from

Sun 6th September Pilgrim Fathers leave England

Sun 6th September   St. Mary Magdalene Church, Great Burstead & Great Burstead and South Green Village Council   CANCELLED

400th Commemorative Holy Communion Service at St. Mary Magdalene Church, Church St., Gt. Burstead CM11 2TR.  9.45 am Procession starts at Great Burstead village sign.  10.00 a.m. Church Service followed by refreshments.  Contact: 

Sun 13th September: Mill Meadows Society & Billericay Town Rotary Club  POSTPONED to 12th September 2021

11 a.m.-4 p.m. Mill Meadows Country Fayre with Christopher Martin himself in attendance to celebrate Mayflower 2020: Grand Prize Draw, folk music, Fusion Dance, Mayflower Morris Men, plus Scarecrow Festival / Competition (Further info & application forms from Billericay Town Rotary Facebook page and  Lots of side-stalls, activities, food, drink & fun for the whole family.

Mon 14th September: Billericay Historical and Archaeological Society  POSTPONED to 13th September 2021

Lecture* by Julian Whybra, The Fold, 72 Laindon Rd., 8-9.30 pm, Open to non-members: entry on the door £2 (+£1 raffle ticket).

American Colonization: From Billericay to Billerica 1620-1655

Most Billericay residents know that four of its townspeople voyaged with the May-Flower to the New World in 1620 and most know that they all died in the first winter.  What is not generally known is how the settlement of the north-east American seaboard came about and how the Massachusetts town of Billerica came to be founded and named.  This is that story.

More info:

Sun 20th September: Billericay United Reformed Church  CANCELLED

‘Churches Together in Billericay’ United Service using the Mayflower story as the starting point, 6.30 pm, URC, Chapel St.

Autumn: Billericay Town Council

Commemorative Statue by John Doubleday of a Pilgrim family to be placed in Billericay.  Watch for announcement on Council’s website:

Sat 3rd October: Billericay Dollshouse Club     CANCELLED

Will display (among others) models of the original Plymouth settlement, harbour and the Mayflower at the W.I. Hall, St. Edith’s La., 10 am-4 pm.  Free.  Refreshments and sales stall.  

Sat 3rd October: Billericay Community Archive: History Fair  NOW VIRTUAL EVENT 

Explore the heritage of your town, this event will now be held online only.  Visit the Archive website for more details and to access the History Fair from 3rd October:


‘Christopher Martin’s Billericay’.  A display of the Cater Museum’s recent acquisition of the 1593 Ralph Agas Map of Billericay: a chance to see Billericay at the time of Christopher Martin. 11 am-3 pm. Library, High St. 

Lectures include:*

11.30 Christopher Martin & Family    CANCELLED                                 

Julian Whybra will talk on everything there is to know and everything you wanted to know about Christopher & Mary Martin, Solomon Prower and John Langemore, the four Billericay Pilgrim Fathers, factual and fictional.

12.00 The Pilgrim Myles Standish                                     

Siân Lang is a descendant of Myles Standish, the Pilgrim Fathers’ military commander.  In this short lecture she will describe his contribution to the Mayflower story and how she is related.

12.15 The Pilgrim John Howland                                     

Judy Parmenter is a descendant of John Howard, servant-cum-secretary to one of the Pilgrims.  In this short lecture she will describe his contribution to the Mayflower story and how she is related.

Free event.  For more info & to access the History Fair visit:

5th – 24th October Photofold  Display  CANCELLED

A display in Billericay Library of 20 photographs featuring places associated with the Mayflower and the Pilgrim Fathers  – the results of a 2020 Photofold competition organized by Photofold Camera Club.  9 am-5 pm.  Further info:

Fri 9th – Mon 12th October: Mayflower Morris Men   CANCELLED

Long Weekend trip to Leyden, Holland, home of the other half of the Pilgrim Fathers.  Includes coach, 3 night B&B in the centrally-located Ibis Hotel.  Visits to the American Pilgrim Museum and St. Pieters Church, etc.  Details TBA on  To apply contact Andy Reynolds on 01245 257614 or

Wed 11th November  Pilgrim Fathers make landfall in New England

Sat 14th November: Hazel’s Quiz – Billericay Community Archive  POSTPONED TO SPRING 2021

A Fun General Knowledge Quiz with an American Accent.  7.30 pm W.I. Hall, St. Edith’s La.   £5 pp (teams of up to 8; bring your own nibbles and drinks).  For tickets ’phone 07802 154677.

Sat 21st November: Billericay Folk Dance Club     CANCELLED

An evening of 17th-century English Playford Dance and American Square Dance.  No partner necessary.  Live music & caller.  7-10.30 pm at W.I. Hall, St. Edith’s La.  Tickets: £9 (bring own food & drink) available from 15.9.20 – contact: Helen on 01268 541059.

Sat 5th December: The Choir for All Seasons     POSTPONED TO 4TH DECEMBER 2021

‘An American Christmas’. 7.30 pm United Reformed Church, Chapel St. Tickets £8 from Slipped Discs, High St., or 01376 510382 or on the door. Further info.: www.the

Fri 11th December     Pilgrim Fathers found their colony at Plymouth

Sun 13th December: Mayflower Morris Men

A commemorative display of Morris dancing 12.45-1.30 p.m. The Square, Stock.  Free event.  See


Sponsors of the Mayflower 2020 programme are Rainer Hughes Solicitors, Waitrose, Bennett’s Funerals,


Contact us:

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