Review: Mayflower Lectures - The Fuller Family

The second of our Mayflower Lectures took place on Thursday 16 January at St Johns Church in Harleston. Margaret Griffiths, local historian and curator of the museum spoke about our famous Fuller family, life in Harleston in 1600 and the epic Mayflower journey.

We learned that the Pilgrim brothers, Edward and Samuel, who sailed to America had three other brothers, Thomas, John and Edmund and a sister called Ann. Their father remarried after Sarah, his first wife, died. He has five more children with Frances, his second wife: Sarah, Christopher, Elizabeth, Susanna and Mary.

Did any of these siblings have children? Are any of the people of Harleston or nearby descended from these brothers? We would be very interested to find out about anyone who may be related to the Pilgrims. If you have any information please send an email to

Many of the buildings that were around at the time of our Fullers are still in existence today. Reydon House, Caltofts and the Old Merchants House all survive today. Our three remaining pubs, The Swan Hotel, JD Young (The Magpie) and Cardinals Hat were all available to our Pilgrims. Could they have sampled ale in one of the places we frequent today? You can find our more about Harleston in 1600 by joining one of our guided Heritage Walks.

In the early 1600s many people, had become very dissatisfied with lack of progress in the reform of the Church of England which had stayed much too close to Rome for their liking. They were known as Separatists. The new king, James I, had very definite ideas about matters, including those concerned with religion. Anyone who disagreed with him was guilty of sedition. Along with other people who wished to worship without the constraints of the established church, our Fuller Pilgrims left England and went to Holland in 1605.