Iowa Society
of Mayflower Descendants

The National Pilgrim Memorial Meetinghouse

The National Pilgrim Memorial Meetinghouse is located on the same plot where the Mayflower Pilgrims built the original Fort/Meetinghouse by 1622. The General Society Of Mayflower Descendants has taken deed to the building and is undertaking restoration and repairs. This fifth structure, begun in 1897 and completed in 1899, stands at the top of Leyden Street overlooking Plymouth's historic Town Square. Burial Hill is immediately back of it.

The cornerstone of the present fifth meetinghouse was laid 29 June 1896 with dedication on 21 December 1899. The church is approximately 62 feet by 96 feet. The bell tower is 38 ft by 38 ft and 88 feet high sitting on the highest building lot on the street. Everything about the building says Pilgrims and the records of design and construction mention:

…the design should be somewhat monumental in its character permitting some fitting memorial of the Pilgrim name.

…the arched front entrance was modeled after that of St. Helena’s Church in Austerfield, England where Governor William was baptized in 1590.

…the Romanesque Revival style was chosen as it would incorporate features of the Pilgrim’s’ Norman  churches in England.

…tablets on the east wall list Ministers of the Church from 1606 in Scrooby, England to 1922 in Plymouth.

…on of the most prominent features in the sanctuary is the heavy, hand-carved, hammer-beam roof truss’ which are intended to evoke the upturned hull of the Mayflower.

…a piece of the step of the Delftshaven, Holland church where the Pilgrims worshiped was laid in the floor of the sanctuary.

…many of the 12 stained glass windows tell the story of the Pilgrims. They were designed and built by world famous Tiffany Glass Company. They include “Signing of the Mayflower Compact”,” Rev. John Robinson’s Farewell Sermon (3)”, “the Landing of the Mayflower”, and ”the Treaty with Massasoit”.

…one of the tower bells is a 1,000 pound Paul Revere bell originally cast in 1801 and recast after the 1892 fire.

 

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