The square rigged ships, all cargo vessels that
will form Winthrop’s fleet, mainly originate from London and, during the first three months, make their several ways
to Southampton for final loading and passenger embarkation. However, Winthrop’s wife Margaret is not among their number
for she is pregnant and will wait another year before emigrating. Their son, John Junior is also remaining behind to handle
the sale of Groton, then join his father in Massachusetts.
Despite all efforts only four vessels are properly ready to sail by the end of March.
The flagship Arbella (not shown here); Talbot and the Jewell. Arbella is named after one of its passengers,
Lady Arbella, wife of wealthy merchant Isaac Johnson. He owns the ship and is richest of the new migrants. Sadly, both are
doomed to die within a year of reaching New England. Also emigrating is William Coddington. In the colony he will be chosen
magistrate, become its ‘principal merchant’ and Treasurer, then eventually get promotion to Governor of Rhode
Island. Finally named here is the experienced soldier John Underhill. He hails from Wolverhampton and has been specially chosen
by Winthrop to be a military instructor to the settlers. Underhill is destined one day to be given 150 acres of land by the
Mantinenoc Indians. Lucky Man.
Conditions aboard could hardly be more primitive. Only gentry occupy the limited number of newly
improvised, tiny cabin spaces. Winthrop’s is, of course, the largest and he is shown, (top scene), starting
what will become his famous journal. (Note Adam Winthrop’s portrait painting in his luggage). The day is 29
March. Easter Monday. His little fleet has left Southampton but is forced to heave-to and anchor at Cowes off the Isle of
Wight. Here they will have to wait for three dreadful, tedious weeks before favourable winds allow them to finally
lack of fresh meat and vegetables ensures scurvy, debility and death among the migrants and crews alike. Then there are the
Atlantic’s perils of storms, becalms and fogs which separate the ships before they singly reach the haven of Salem New
England in early June. There, praising God, Governor Winthrop, bearing the hugely important new Massachusetts Bay Colony Charter
comes ashore to be met by Endicott and Peter on 12 June and have a celebration meal of ‘a good venison pasty and beer.’