The Journey to the Mayflower: Stephen Tomkins on the illegal underground movement of Protestant Separatists

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16 January 2020

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This week, Ed Thornton talks to Dr Stephen Tomkins about his new book, The Journey to the Mayflower: God’s outlaws and the invention of freedom.

This year is the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower, the ship that took the Pilgrim Fathers to the New World. The Journey to the Mayflower is not a history of The Mayflower journey, however. “My book stops where most other books on the subject start,” Dr Tomkins says. “My story is about the illegal, underground church, the religious movement in the time of Elizabeth 1 and James 1, their experience of secret worship and of persecution and of exile, and the reasons why they felt the need to leave the country and seek a new life elsewhere. It’s the story of the English movement that then led people to America, rather than a story of American beginnings.”

The Journey to the Mayflower: God’s outlaws and the invention of freedom by Stephen Tomkins is published by Hodder & Stoughton at £20 (CT Bookshop £18). 

Read an article by Dr Tomkins in the Church Times.

Stephen Tomkins is the author of eight books on Christian history, including biographies of William Wilberforce and John Wesley. He is the editor of Reform magazine, and was previously deputy editor of Third Way.

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