Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Leiden Pilgrim Fathers

Should the Pilgrim Fathers return to the Dutch city of Leiden today, I am certain they would still recognize large parts of the city center. Left you see the Vliet Street If you forget about the cars and let your imagination run, you can easily picture those Brownist English Dissenters there. On the right hand the nave of the Saint Pieterschurch is partly visible. This church played an important role in the early 17th century life of the Pilgrims.

This post is not about the history of those seeking refuge in tolerant Holland. I just want to show you a small monument situated on the above mentioned Vliet Street. It displays all family names of the Leiden Pilgrims. The picture is not too clear but I'll mention all names in alphabetical order.

Allerton - Alston - Barker
Barlow - Bassett - Blossom
Bompass - Bradford
Brewster - Browne - Carey
Carpenter - Carver - Chandler
Chilton - Cooke - Cooper
Crackston - Cushman
Cuthbertson - De Lannoy
Dunham - English - Fletcher
Fuller - Goodall - Goodman
Hanson - Heale - Hooke
Jenney - Lee - Mahieu
Masterson - Minter - Mitchell
Morton - Nicholas - Norris
Pontus - Priest - Ring
Robinson - Rogers - Samson
Southworth - Standish
Symonson - Tillie - Tinker
Tracey - Turner - White
Willett - Williams - Winslow
Wood - Wright

There is also a remembrance plaque on one of the Saint Pieter Church walls honouring those who passed away during their stay in Leiden. The text on top reads:
During the Pilgrim Fathers Leiden exile
more than thirty family members died.
many were buried in the Pieterskerk along with
their Leiden neighbours.

Underneath the quote by Robert Cushman the following names have been carved in stone.

Isaac Allerton's child - 1620
John Allerton's child - 1616
Thomas Blossom's children - 1617
Thomas Brewer's wife and children - 1617, 1618
William Britsman's child - 1612
Edmund Chandler's child - 1619
Robert Cushman's wife & children - 1616
Samuel Fuller's wife & child - 1615
Edmund Jessop's child - 1618
John Keble's child - 1614
John Keble's widow - 1645
Samuel Lee's child - 1619
Robert Peck's child - 1619
John Reynold's wife & child - 1619
John Robinson's children - 1618, 1621, 1623
John Robinson - 1625
John Spooner - 1628
John & Jane Spooner's child - 1630
Randall Thickens' child - 1615

The U.S. Congregational Churches offered another plaque remembering the Rev. John Robinson.

The Mayflower, 1620
In memory of
Pastor of the English Church worshiping over against
this spot. A.D. 1609-1625. Whence at his prompting
went forth
to settle New England
in 1620.
Buried under this House of Worship, 4 Mar. 1625
AET XLIX years.
Erected by the national Council of the Congregational
Churches of the United States of America
A.D. 1891.

The Vliet Street monument shows the name of De Lannoy. Originally this is a surname of Walloon origin. A number of their Protestant descendants lived in Leiden long after the departure of the Leiden Pilgrim Fathers in 1620. This is still visible on a shield in the Kloksteeg, the same street where the Rev. Robinson lived. The shield dates from 1683.

Dus ziet men uit het Puin van een bouwvallig Nest
Een braaf Gebouw gesticht door vruchtlooze Echtgenooten
Voor veel behoeftigen schoon Vreemden, die verstooten
Zijn uit hun Vaderland en veilig hier gevest
Gesticht door
en zijne Huisvrouw

My translation of this text would be something along the following lines.
So one sees that on the rubble of a dilapidated house
A nice building was established by unfruitful spouses
For those foreigners in need who have been expelled
from their fatherland and safely housed here
Established by
and his Housewife

Here in the Netherlands Marie's surname is still quite common. In the USA the surname De Lannoy has been americanized to Delano.


  1. Thanks so much for posting these photos. I can see the names of many of my ancestors here, and also the burial places of other ancestors (Allerton, Robinson, etc). I descend twice from Rev. John Robinson. I've always wanted to visit Leiden, and to see Jeremy Bangs (who I've met twice here in Massachusetts) and these sights and Jeremy's museum. Thank you.

  2. You are very welcome, Heather! I took these pictures on a recent visit to Leiden and thought that I would do descendants of the Pilgrims a pleasure by publishing them. Hope you'll be in a position to visit Leiden soon and experience the spirit of the city yourself.

  3. Peter, I would also like to thank you for sharing your visit and your photos! This is the first time after years of internet searching that I've seen found any memorial reference to "Dunham", which is a John Dunham reference. Great job!

  4. @Anonymous
    Thank you and my pleasure!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.


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