The Years Before the Mayflower

The Years Before the Mayflower

By: Anne Molloy
Foreword by: Anne Molloy
Published by: Hastings House, Publishers
Publication Date: 1972

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Every American is familiar with the Pilgrims' historic voyage to the New World in 1620. But how many know of the adventures and hardships the Pilgrims experienced before the Mayflower sailed?

Noted author Anne Molloy decided to investigate this fascinating and unfamiliar chapter in the Pilgrim saga. Her story begins in England at the start of the seventeenth century—a time when those who broke with the Church of England faced imprisonment or death for their "heresy." A staunch band of Separatists from Northern England decided their only recourse was escape.

Fortunately, there was someplace for them to go. That place was Holland. The fledgling Dutch republic, still trying to break away from the tyrannical rule of Spain, had become a haven to all persecuted peoples.

So, in 1608, the small group of Pilgrims fled to Holland. In many ways, this shorter voyage was as momentous as the longer journey to America. The Pilgrims were leaving the only home they knew to start afresh in a strange land. Besides the language barrier, they faced other problems, some desperate, some subtle. 

Yet, against all odds, they managed to spend twelve fruitful years in Holland, years in which they became respected citizens of cosmopolitan Leyden, and, through the Pilgrim Press, spread their beliefs to their countrymen in England.

Mrs. Molloy captures the sights, smells and sounds of Amsterdam and Leyden in the early 1600's and shows what day-to-day living must have been like for the uprooted Pilgrims. She also explores the reasons why the Pilgrims chose to leave their adopted homeland, details the preparations for their crossing, and gives a moving account of what befell those who were left behind. This engrossing narrative is both an unusual history and a highly readable prologue to the famous voyage to Plymouth Rock.

From the dust jacket

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