Saturday, September 6, 2014

‘Our Strongest Tower’

The British Museum, in its Twitter feed today, observes the anniversary of the departure of the Mayflower for the New World in 1620. The tweet contains this photo of a commemorative bronze medal struck in 1970:

The Latin inscription on the reverse translated: “The name of the Lord is our strongest tower,” which originates in Proverbs:

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is set up on high.” (18:10)

It is the motto of Plymouth, England.

1 comment:

JMS said...

So what? If you are implying that Plymouth, England’s motto stamped some sort of godly imprimatur on the voyage of the Mayflower in 1620, you are stretching a point to six degrees of what? Plymouth was merely a convenient southwest England port. Also, recall that the “Pilgrim” movement originated in villages like Scrooby, Gainsborough etc. in the northern Nottinghamshire, western Lincolnshire and southern Yorkshire region of England. Courtesy of, here’s a more accurate departure narrative, with only a tangential connections with Plymouth.

“The Mayflower was hired in London, and sailed from London to Southampton in July 1620 to begin loading food and supplies for the voyage--much of which was purchased at Southampton. The Pilgrims were mostly still living in the city of Leiden, in the Netherlands. They hired a ship called the Speedwell to take them from Delfshaven, the Netherlands, to Southampton, England, to meet up with the Mayflower. The two ships planned to sail together to Northern Virginia. The Speedwell departed Delfthaven on July 22, and arrived at Southampton, where they found the Mayflower waiting for them. The Speedwell had been leaking on her voyage from the Netherlands to England, though, so they spent the next week patching her up.
On August 5, the two ships finally set sail for America. But the Speedwell began leaking again, so they pulled into the town of Dartmouth for repairs, arriving there about August 12. The Speedwell was patched up again, and the two ships again set sail for America about August 21. After the two ships had sailed about 300 miles out to sea, the Speedwell again began to leak. Frustrated with the enormous amount of time lost, and their inability to fix the Speedwell so that it could be sea-worthy, they returned to Plymouth, England, and made the decision to leave the Speedwell behind. The Mayflower would go to America alone. The cargo on the Speedwell was transferred over to the Mayflower; some of the passengers were so tired and disappointed with all the problems that they quit and went home. Others crammed themselves onto the already very crowded Mayflower.
Finally, on September 6, the Mayflower departed from Plymouth, England, and headed for America. By the time the Pilgrims had left England, they had already been living onboard the ships for nearly a month and a half.”