Harwich: Mayflower Left From Here, Not Plymouth

Harwich argues it's the Mayflower's true home
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2013 8:57 AM CDT
Harwich: Mayflower Left From Here, Not Plymouth
In this Sept. 9, 2008 file photo, a replica of the Mayflower ship sits docked in Plymouth, Mass.   (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, File)

You've heard of Plymouth, England, but what about Harwich? The small town is looking to finally get some recognition as the actual launch site of the Mayflower. As the argument goes, Plymouth, which has long touted itself as the Pilgrim ship's final port of call before crossing the Atlantic Ocean, was actually an unplanned stop. Harwich argues that it was actually the site where the Mayflower was built and departed from, and locals say the only reason the ship stopped in Plymouth is because another ship carrying Pilgrims (the Speedwell) started leaking and had to get to the closest port. Now, 393 years later, Harwich is elbowing its way in on the Mayflower's legacy, Barron's reports.

The town intends to send a $3.3 million Mayflower replica across the Atlantic in time to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the voyage. "We are planning to get a little bit of our share of history," says the retired oil executive heading the project. The BBC reports that the two-year construction process should begin in 2016, with the transatlantic journey planned for 2020. (Quirky side note: Harwich's biggest tourist attraction right now is an 800-year-old tree called "Old Knobbley.") Needless to say, Plymouth is not happy. There are 52 Plymouths across the globe, says one tourism rep for the city who was ostensibly arguing her city is the world-renowned one: "How many Harwiches are there?" (It turns out the US has three, all in, you guessed it, Massachusetts.)

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