In September 1620 a group of men, women and children, on a quest to settle in a land where they could exercise their non-conformist religious beliefs in peace, spent a few days in Plymouth, waiting for one of their two vessels – the Speedwell – to undergo adjustments to the seaworthiness of both boat and passengers. In the event only the other vessel, the Mayflower, undertook the journey and its human cargo was delivered safely to Plymouth, Massachusetts (in New England) in November.
Ten years later Governor Bradford, referred to his company of settlers as Pilgrims (a biblical reference – Hebrew xi 13) and others started to use the same description. Many years after, on 22 December 1798, a Feast was held in Boston for the “Sons” and “Heirs of the Pilgrims” at which the memory of the “Fathers” was celebrated. Subsequent and repeated combinations of these words eventually gave birth to the term Pilgrim Fathers. As the last place on this side of the Atlantic that these Pilgrims ever visited, Plymouth has always treasured that connection. Although the first public memento – a stone tablet on the Barbican – didn’t appear until 1891, just five years after Argyle Athletic had played their first matches. It is undoubtedly fitting that the team that probably travels more miles than any other to fulfil its fixtures should have “The Pilgrims” as its nickname and the Mayflower as its emblem.