Mayflower 400 Quilt Exhibition coming to St Andrew’s Minster in Plymouth

Jun 15, 2020

A new exhibition commemorating the Mayflower 400 anniversary is coming to St Andrew's Minster in Plymouth from 10 to 19 September, 2020.

The Mayflower 400 Quilt Festival has been co-ordinated by volunteers and community groups from across Devon and Cornwall and with transatlantic input from quilters in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

With funding from the Mayflower 400 Community Sparks fund – a partnership project between Mayflower 400, Plymouth Culture, Plymouth City Council, The Box, Plymouth and Vital Sparks – the exhibition seeks to recognise the courage and tenacity of everyone who sets out into the unknown whether 400 years ago or today.

Schools, voluntary groups and individuals have been encouraged to design and create works of art to commemorate the voyage considering the themes of freedom, faith and personal liberty that informed the original journey and addresses themes of migration both in 1620 and today.

The Mayflower Baltimore Quilt by Shirley Matthews

Contributors chose four themes as inspiration for their designs - Leaving Home, Life at Sea, Journey’s End and Life in the New Land - which have been interpreted through a collection of multimedia textile art works.

The exhibition features 24 quilts and 16 pieces of Calligraphy coming from as far afield as London and Massachusetts, as well as locally from St Peter’s Roman Catholic School and Victoria Road Primary School.

Many groups found it difficult to complete their quilts as social distancing and shielding took affect but found ways to ensure the work was ready to be shown.

Through the Window by Janet Greaves Stocker. This is a picture of the Prysten House as it might have been at the time of the Mayflower 400

Joe Dent, Rector of the Minster Church of St Andrew said: "I am so pleased to be able to welcome people in to our church again and hope that the event is well supported to recognise the efforts of everyone involved in putting on this exhibition."

Entry to the exhibition is free but donations for UNICEF will be welcomed, and teas and coffees will be available.

Due to social distancing it will be necessary to limit the number of people in the church at any one time, so there may be a short time to wait. Visitors will be asked to wear a face covering while inside the church.

See the exhibition from 10 to 19 September, 10am to 4pm (weekend opening times may vary) at The Minster Church of St Andrew, Royal Parade, Plymouth PL1 2AD.

For more information on the exhibition and times please contact Janet Greaves-Stocker on 01752 550279 or email

A quilt by Elle Seward that depicts a cob of sweetcorn in reference to the Wampanoag Indians giving the settlers sweetcorn which they called Waweekanash

The full list of community groups and organisations involved in the exhibition includes:

  • St Peter’s Primary School Whitleigh
  • U3A Group Plymstock
  • Pillaton Art and Quilt Group
  • Hartley WI Craft Group
  • Hartley WI Quilt Group
  • Sound Stitchers
  • Sandra’s Sewing Friends
  • Needlework and Natter
  • Sew Wot Quilters (Yelverton)
  • Brunel Quilters
  • Caradon Quilters
  • Acorn Quilters Wadebridge
  • The Plymouth County Cranberry Quilters from Plymouth Massachusetts
  • Plymouth Calligraphy Society
  • Contributions from Southampton and London

In addition, Central Park Allotment Society and Honicknowle Allotment Society display flowers the passengers had to leave behind in England and the food that was grown when the passengers arrived in America.

The Pillaton Patchwork group have been working on a drawn set of pictures of the settlers

Thanksgiving Quilt by Janet Greaves Stocker. This quilt is made in the style of log cabin. In the centre of each square is something Janet is thankful for.

Life at Sea by Janet Greaves Stocker. The background material was found in an outdoor market in Amiens, Northern France, in February 2018

The Three Sisters by Janet Greaves Stocker. This quilt with pumpkins, corn and beans on is called ‘The Three Sisters’, which was the style of planting that the Wampanoag people used

The Quilt For America by Deb Fewster, Vicky Styles and others

Leaving Home Quilt by Janet Greaves Stocker

Prysten House Watercolour by Richard Woodgate

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