- Speedwell (ship)
The "Speedwell" was a 60-ton
ship, the smaller of the two ships (along with " Mayflower") intended to carry the Pilgrim Fathersto North America. A vessel of the same name and size traveled to the New Worldseventeen years prior as the flagship of the first expedition of Martin Pring.
The Speedwell was built in
1577, under the name "Swiftsure", as part of English preparations for war against Spain. She participated in the fight against the Spanish Armada, and during the Earl of Essex' 1596 Azoresexpedition she served as the ship of his second in command, Sir Gilly Merick. After hostilities with Spain ended, she was decommissioned in 1605, rebuilt, and renamed the "Speedwell".
LeidenSeparatists bought the ship "Speedwell" in Holland, and boarded it at Delfshaven. They then sailed to Southampton, Englandto meet the "Mayflower", which had been chartered by the merchant investors. In Southampton they joined with other Separatists and the additional colonists hired by the investors.
The two ships began the voyage on
August 5, 1620, but the "Speedwell" was leaky and returned to Dartmouth to be refitted at great expense and time. On the second attempt, "Mayflower" and "Speedwell" sailed about 100 leagues beyond Land's Endin Cornwall, but the "Speedwell" was again found to be leaky. Both vessels returned to Plymouthwhere the "Speedwell" was sold.
It would later be revealed that there was in fact nothing wrong with the ship. The crew had sabotaged it in order to escape the year long commitment of their contract.
Eleven people from the "Speedwell" boarded the "Mayflower", leaving 20 people to return to
London(including Robert Cushman) while a combined company of 103 continued the voyage. For a third time, the "Mayflower" headed for the New World. She left Plymouth on September 6, 1620and entered Cape CodHarbor on November 11, 1620. The "Fortune" eventually followed, arriving at Plymouth Colonyone year later on November 9, 1621.
In 1656 the "Speedwell" made a voyage from England to
Boston, carrying a party of Quakersincluding Christopher Holderand John Copeland. Arriving in Massachusetts Bay Colonyunder the Governorship of John Endecott, they were deported for religious reasons and obliged to return to Britain. In the following year another party, including six of the "Speedwell" company, returned via Rhode Islandaboard the "Woodhouse": one of them became one of the Boston martyrs, judicially executed by Endecott.
At least two subsequent ships of the
Royal Navybore the same name, a ship of the lineduring the Napoleonic Warsand a modern nuclear submarine.
*"Indian Battles: with Incidents in the Early History of New England". 1859. By Rev. Henry White. New York: D.W. Evans & Co. 677 Broadway.
*cite book|last=Whalen|first=Richard F.|title=Truro: The Story of a Cape Cod Town|year=2002|publisher=Xlibris|location=Philadelphia|id=ISBN 1-4010-5146-4
title=Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation, 1606-1646
editor=William T. Davis
publisher=Charles Scribner's Sons
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