The Separatists wanted to get to Holland where they had heard there was religious toleration, but they needed a ship and had no permission to leave the country.
They tried to flee from Boston in 1607 but were caught, arrested, and then taken back into the town. The master of the ship they had negotiated with had betrayed them.
After being held there, the group were released to attend the Assizes Court in Lincoln but there are no records to show that they arrived there. Instead, they made their way north.
In May 1608, the Separatists tried again to escape England. They arranged with a Dutch captain to take them to Holland.
Some of the Separatists left from Gainsborough on a barge from Hull, while others travelled by foot. The two groups met on the coastline near Immingham.
The ship arrived. Some of the men were taken on board, while the women and children waited in a boat near the shore. To their alarm, an armed troop were spotted approaching on the shoreline. The Dutch captain decided to sail away rather than face arrest. The women were left, distraught at being separated from their husbands.
Those who made it onto the ship had a treacherous voyage. The ship became caught in a storm and was blown off the coast of Norway before eventually arriving in Amsterdam.
The few men left behind with the women were arrested and questioned. The authorities though didn’t know what to do with them.
It is thought the Pilgrims took shelter in the porch of St Andrew’s Church in Immingham. Rather than become a burden on the local authorities, it seems they were eventually allowed to slip away.
By August 1608, they had joined the others in Amsterdam, but no records show how they made their way across.
Explore the story of the Pilgrims on Immingham's Pilgrims' Trail.
Take the Mayflower Wood walk and get a sense of what it would have been like to walk through Immingham four hundred years ago.
Click on the map to follow the trial.