Edward Winslow – Mayflower Pilgrim
Born on 18th October 1595, in Droitwich, Worcestershire, Edward Winslow was one of one hundred and two Pilgrims who travelled to America to escape religious persecution aboard The Mayflower.
We know little about Edward’s early years but he was taught at Kings School, Worcester, and went on to gain an apprenticeship in printing. His employer printed illegal Puritan pamphlets amongst other subjects. These publications inspired Edward and after serving eight years, he broke his contract and travelled to Leiden, Holland, to join the Puritan community there.
Life in the Netherlands was not easy. The congregation had to find ways of supporting themselves away from family, friends and homeland. Some found work in the cloth trade, and others as carpenters, printers and tailors. Even the children were put to work. With increasing tensions in Europe, it was decided that they move again. Away from Europe and their religious wars, America felt like an escape.
Edward was regarded as a crucial figure for the Mayflower. He had skills in diplomacy, writing and an interest in politics. He was also fascinated by the indigenous culture of America. The early months in America were difficult with little food and freezing temperatures. Once contact had been established with members of the indigenous population, it became clear that the settlers would need their help to survive.
Died: 8th May 1655 (aged 59), off the coast of Jamaica.