The other ship that carried Congregationalist Separatists on their 1620 journey to America.  Well, at least part way.

The Speedwell was one of the two ships the Separatists had fitted out for their journey.  Her first task was to sail across the English Channel to Holland and pick up a group of Separatists who had been living in Leiden.   This task was performed without problem, and Speedwell and her larger companion, Mayflower (yes, those Separatists), left Southampton on their way to America on July 20, 1620.

Apparently the refitters had given her too much mast, because soon after leaving Southampton, Speedwell developed severe leaks that forced the two ships to put in at Dartmouth. After three weeks of repairs there, the two ships set out again. Speedwell still leaked too badly for the Atlantic crossing, and the ships put into Plymouth where most of the passengers were transferred to Mayflower, and some decided to skip the journey.  Mayflower left Plymouth on September 16 and the rest is history.

I found a site about Leigh-on-Sea which said a ship named Speedwell had been built there in 1579, but she was a 105-ton ship, where another site said the Pilgrims' Speedwell was a 60-tonner.  It may or may not be the same ship.  60 years is a long time for a ship of that period to last. Mayflower was only 10 years old in 1620, and she needed a severe overhaul at the time.

Apparently, the Speedwell eventually made it to America. A few other sites mention that a ship named Speedwell, captained by a "John Chappell", left Southampton for Virginia in 1635, with 59 passengers, and several of them claim she was the Pilgrims' Speedwell.

A final note: It appears that you can visit Speedwell, as she has been restored (not a replica) and sits in Plymouth (England) Harbour.

Speed"well (?), n. Bot.

Any plant of the genus Veronica, mostly low herbs with pale blue corollas, which quickly fall off.


© Webster 1913.

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