As we continued our Golden Anniversary celebration in England we wanted to visit Plymouth. Plymouth is located in Devon in the southwest and is very well known for its maritime history. I knew its rich history long before we planned our anniversary trip. I also knew this special city would tear at my heartstrings.
Driving down into the Barbican area we see how ancient this city has remained. Finding a place to safely park on the cobbled streets proved to be a challenge, but soon we are parked and ready to walk about the old city of Plymouth.
Plymouth is a large seaport and home to British naval bases. It's been that way for a long time. Beginning with Britain defeating the Spanish Armada and becoming a world power, Plymouth found her place in history. From a small settlement surrounding Sutton Harbor, the early town spread toward the center that was defended by walls along a castle overlooking the entrance to the harbor. The Barbican or outer defence of the castle still stands as testament to the many ships that sailed from this port city.
Many of the buildings from the Elizabethan era still stand.
Seeing Bob Marley's words in the window made me smile wishing that dream for our world.
Walking to the harbor we see the famous Mayflower steps! From this area the Mayflower sailed out of Plymouth in 1620. The stone canopy was designed by J. Wibberley with doric columns. The Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes flank the memorial. The Mayflower had set sail from Southampton and then went on to Dartmouth and then came to Plymouth for repairs before sailing to the New World.
Next year marks the 400th anniversary of the sailing.
I really wanted to visit Plymouth because my ancestor sailed from Plymouth on June 2nd, 1609. I knew he walked these same streets on his way to board the Sea Venture. He boarded the Sea Venture along with 149 other souls on his way to help the starving souls in the Jamestown Colony. Unfortunately the Sea Venture met with a terrible storm on July 24th. It probably was a hurricane. The ship crashed near Bermuda and miraculously none of the souls on board perished! Sir George Somers was at the helm during the storm and headed the ship into Discovery Bay allowing the Sea Venture to carry its precious cargo to land instead of sinking into the Atlantic. During the nine months on the island of Bermuda, the crew built two ships. The Deliverance and the Patience were built out of the cedar that they found. Also the wrecked pieces of the Sea Venture were used as it washed ashore. William Shakespeare's play The Tempest is said to be written from the inspiration of the wreck of the Sea Venture.
I can't began to tell you how touched I was seeing this engraving right next to the Mayflower steps. Emotion filled my heart as I was surprised to see the memorial to the Sea Venture. This story is obscure, but one I've heard about my whole life. Oh, how I wish my Nanny could see this!
We decided to walk up the Barbican to take in the views.
Looking onto the open ocean, I couldn't help but think of my ancestor. He looked at this ocean as he began a journey that he had no awareness of what was about to happen.
Riding back to our home away from home the patchwork fields of England of late Autumn continue to thrill my soul. My soul is part of this area. I feel it and it makes me happy.
That evening we had to step outside and view the full harvest moon. I'll never forget this day. A day of remembering those that came before me.