It was common practice many years ago, in England, to use unseaworthy ships’ timber to build new things. Dutch Elm disease had killed many of the trees in 17th century Great Britain and lumber was very scare. To preserve the number of oak tress from being cut for lumber, wood was priced quite high by the government. That made any available timber, such as that in old ships, very desirable. Since the Mayflower wasn’t an important ship to the people of Great Britain, this is the fate that most likely happened to the Pilgrims’ Mayflower.
In the early 1900s, a Quaker Historian , named Rendel Harris, found a document stating that the Mayflower had been determined to be unseaworthy. The year was 1624. The ship’s owners then sold the oak ship for its timber to make some money. While attending a funeral at the Quaker Meeting House in Jordans, England, Harris heard someone say the barn had been built from wood of the Mayflower. That got Harris hunting through documents such as wills and deeds to try and find out whether this was true.
The age of the barn’s timber dates back to the time of the Mayflower and the barn was said to have been built by one of the owners of the Mayflower. If you go to the barn, you will notice that the main beam in the barn has a huge crack in it, just like the Mayflower got on its maiden voyage during a bad storm. The size and weight of the hull used in the barn’s construction matches that of the Mayflower and at one time, the letters ER HAR were evident, perhaps, referring to “Mayflower, Harwich, the ship’s home port.
One thing is certain, if you tilt your head upside down, you can see that a hull of an old ship was used to build the roof of the barn...whether it was the Mayflower, that can’t be certain.
2. It took 66 days to cross the Atlantic.
3. A baby, named Oceanus Hopkins, was born on the voyage.
4. A crack in a main beam which happened during a bad storm was repaired with a giant screw(perhaps from a printing press or other equipment which was aboard the Mayflower)
5. Before leaving the ship, the Mayflower Compact was signed, establishing a temporary government for the Pilgrims.
6. By the time of the first Thanksgiving, 52 Pilgrims had died during the harsh winter.
1. Why were old ships used in construction in Great Britain?
2. Why wasn’t the Mayflower “saved” as an historic ship?
3. What would be 3 fears you would have had as a Pilgrim on the Mayflower voyage?
4. What would be 2 things you might have done to pass the time on the voyage?
5. Create sentences using the highlighted vocabulary words.
Other possible resources of interest on this topic:
1. Learn more about the Mayflower and the Pilgrims with this fun webquest. Extension activities, additional information and links, and the key are provided: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Mayflower-and-Pilgrim-Webquest-403880
2. Love Brewster is a guest on Ms. Bie Ograffee's Talk Show. The studio audience asks Love questions about the voyage on the Mayflower, the first winter and the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth. The Reader’s Theater Script includes comprehension questions, a Did You Know? Section, a Teacher Page with extension activities, links and the key: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pilgrims-A-Readers-Theater-Playfirst-Thanksgiving-2137703
NOTE: I visited the “Mayflower Barn” in England and took the photographs.
http://www.gailhennessey.com-my website for teachers/kids