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cene One
    1621-23 PANEL


Although this panel deals with the period 1621 until 1623 this first scene is still set in 1620 because it records the most important event to take place in Plymouth since the Saints left two months ago. This again concerns Sir Ferdinando Gorges, not in his role as Governor of Plymouth Fort but in his position as chief shareholder of the struggling Plymouth Virginia Company. Gorges has obtained a revised charter for it in which its territory, for the first time called New England,  is established as lying between latitude 40º North and 48º North. The company is reconstituted. It is now the ‘Council Established in Plymouth for the Governing of New England’ and grants will be made to individual members in the hope that they will become more interested in the project. Four wealthy Plymouth merchants certainly are for partners David Thompson, Abraham Colmer, Nicholas Sherwill and Leonard Pomeroy now start preparing their ships for their Virginia venture.

At the same time as shown here, workmen in Plymouth have taken down the old company sign and are heading off in the direction of the rubbish dump, the ‘tippe’ with it. Others are putting up its replacement, the new Council for New England board, closely watched by Gorges, who stands near the harbourside building called the Island House.

The Island House still stands in the old Barbican area of Plymouth. It overlooks the quay where the Mayflower was moored in 1620 during its enforced sojourn. On the side of the building is a board naming all the passengers that sailed aboard the vessel for, as the local story goes, many of the Pilgrims lodged there prior to the ship’s departure on 6 September.

Sir Ferdinando’s personal home was Birdcombe Court at Wraxall in Somerset (see 1605 panel) while the Gorges clan held the Lordship of the Manor of Budokshead, today’s St Budeaux, a suburb of Plymouth. In St Budeaux Church, shown here, a large monument was erected in 1600 to the family. Two centuries later the memorial having fallen into disrepair, was restored in 1881, largely at the expense of the Historical Society and Citizens of Maine. This was their tribute to Sir Ferdinando because at the end of his career, he became the first Governor of Maine.


INDIAN CORN  Zea mays.  September 1621. Plymouth Plantation. ‘God be praised, we had a good increase of Indian corn  and our barley indifferent good.’ Winslow

BARRON STRAWBERRY  Potentilla steerilis.   The leaves boyled and applied in manner of a pultis taketh away the burning heate in wounds’. Gerard.

LUNGWORT Pulmonaria maculosa.  The leaves are thought to be good against the infirmities and ulcers of the lungs. Gerard.

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