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Pilgrim Fathers’ Memorial

The Pilgrim Fathers’ Memorial is located 2.5 miles south-east of Boston at Scotia Creek in Fishtoft. It is set within the beautiful Havenside Country Park and Nature Reserve and marks the spot where a small group of Protestant Non-Conformists (later known as the Pilgrim Fathers) were arrested as they tried to escape to Holland.

History behind the Pilgrim Fathers’ Memorial

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Protestant non-conformist religious beliefs flourished across England. One such belief was that of the Separatist Movement, which wanted the freedom to worship God away from the constraints of the Church of England.

When Elizabeth was succeeded by King James I, there was a clampdown on these non-conformist groups, it became illegal not to attend church and in 1604, the Separatist Movement was banned.

The English Separatists faced widespread persecution, and some decided to escape to Holland which was a much more tolerant Protestant country.

The Scrooby Seperatists

One such group was the the Scrooby Separatists. The Scrooby Seperatists consisted of approximately 20 men, women and children who made their way to Boston from their homes in Scrooby on the Nottinghamshire/Lincolnshire border. They had hired a boat to take them across the North Sea to Leiden in Holland where they planned to join other like-minded people (known as the Ancient Brethren) and live a life free from religious persecution .

Unfortunately, The Scrooby Separatists were betrayed by the boat’s captain. Shortly after setting sail, they were intercepted at Scotia Creek, a few miles down river from Boston.  They were arrested and all their goods seized.

The Scrooby Separatists were brought to Boston Guildhall where they remained in the cells whilst awaiting trial at Lincoln. After several months in prison, they were released and returned home to Scrooby penniless.

Sympathisers eventually raised enough money to fund a second escape attempt in 1608, which this time was successful.

After living in Holland for a few years, the Ancient Brethren decided to set sail for America in search of a better life in 1620. They became known as Pilgrim Fathers in the UK and the Founding Fathers in the USA – and the rest, as they say, is history!

The Pilgrim Fathers’ Memorial

The Pilgrim Fathers’ Memorial was erected in 1957 to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the arrest of the Scrooby Separatists. It is a granite obelisk – granite to symbolise the strength and endurance of the Scrooby Separatists religious beliefs, and an obelisk shape reaching towards the sky to symbolise hope eternal and freedom.

Part of the cost of the memorial was met by The General Society of Mayflower Descendants.


The Pilgrim Fathers’ Memorial is located at Fishtoft and faces the river on the north bank of The Haven.

It is set within the Havenside Country Park and Nature Reserve and surrounded by beautiful countryside.

Access to the Havenside Country Park and Nature Reserve is via Fishtoft village – the main entrance to the park is off Fishtoft Road, near Finn Forest. There is a car park and picnic area.

Access to the Pilgrim Fathers’ Memorial is via the seabank path.

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