Sort file:- Canterbury, July, 2020.

Page Updated:- Friday, 31 July, 2020.


Earliest ????

Mayflower and Pilgrim

Latest 2009+

6 Palace Street


Mayflower and Pilgrim 1984

Above postcard, 1984, kindly sent by David Perry.

Mayflower and Pilgrim bar 1984

Above postcard, 1984, kindly sent by David Perry.

Mayflower and Pilgrim 2009

Above picture from Google, March 2009.

Mayflower and Pilgrim signMayflower and Pilgrim sign 2009 Mayflower and Pilgrim plaque

Mayflower & Pilgrim signs left date unknown. Right March 2009.

Above with thanks from Brian Curtis

Inside the Mayflower Restaurant

Above postcard circa 1960.

Mayflower restaurant 1960

Above postcard circa 1960 kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.


Taken from

ROBERT CUSHMAN (1578-1625)

Robert Cushman was born in Rolvenden near Tenterden in Kent in 1578. His ancestry remains a matter of dispute, despite detailed research by those studying the early American pilgrims, but we know he was baptised in Rolvenden parish church on 9 February that year. He moved in early life to Canterbury where he worked as a grocer's assistant in Sun Street. Robert was also active in the Puritan movement, which was challenging the beliefs and practices of the established church, and this led to his examination before the Canterbury Diocesan Court in 1603. However, he continued his Puritan activities, and in 1605 appeared before the local Quarter Sessions for non-attendance at services. He was later excommunicated and served a short prison sentence in the small goal above the Westgate (image 1). In 1606, aged 28, he married Sarah Reder, a local girl then living in the Cathedral precincts - the service took place in St Alphege church (image 2). Robert's next career move was as apprentice in the grocery and tallow chandler's store trading in the Whitefriars area of the city on the site of what is now M&S (image 3). His next door neighbour here would have been the poet Christopher Marlowe. Robert went on to run his own store on the site of what is now 13 The Parade (image 4), currently the Orange mobile shop, and become a freeman of the city. Their child Thomas was born here in 1607, and baptised in nearby St Andrew's church (image 5). Fearing further religious persecution, the family moved in 1611 to Leiden in the Low Countries (now Holland), where they lived with other Puritan exiles, many from Canterbury. Robert's leadership skills and managerial flair were recognised in his work for the Leiden community, and in 1617, following the early death of his wife Sarah, he returned to England to negotiate the financing and hiring of the Mayflower to take pilgrims to America. He spent some of this time at an inn in Palace Street, now the Mayflower Restaurant (image 6), and may well have been staying here when the Mayflower contract was agreed. Robert's plan was to sail to America with his son on a sister ship the Speedwell. This failed when, early in the voyage, the Speedwell proved unseaworthy, but Robert and son Thomas made it to Plymouth in America in 1621 on the Fortune. Later that year, Robert returned to England to further the interests of the early colonists, but in 1625 died in London following an outbreak of plague. His places of death or burial are not known.

Cushman has little by way of memorials in Canterbury, although the painting of the Mayflower at 59 Palace Street reminds us of our link with the early pilgrims and there is a road named after him in Wincheap. A Cushman memorial does stand in Burial Hill outside Plymouth Massachusetts, a 25 ft granite column that dominates the hill. Thomas Cushman became Ruling Elder of the Plymouth community, and married Mary Allerton, the last surviving Mayflower passenger, who was also from a Canterbury family. Their descendants, from their 50 grandchildren, include General Robert E Lee.

Sources: Bateman (1984); Bateman (2001); Boyle (1974); Lyle (2002); Woodman (1995)

A helpful web site (but it's disturbing that the author thinks Canterbury is part of Plymouth!):

Church court records for 1603 (CCA-DCb-PRC/44/3) and Quarter Session papers for 1606 (CCA-CC-J/Q/405/vi) can be seen at Canterbury Cathedral Archives


Mayflower and Pilgrim leaflet 1984

Above leaflet front page, 1984, kindly sent by David Perry.

Above leaflet back page, 1984, kindly sent by David Perry.

Inside the above pages was the following information:-


When walking along Palace Street (in Canterbury, England), it is difficult not to think of the hundreds of years of history those ancient walls have seen.

The course of Palace Street as it is now, with its awkward corner opposite the King’s School shop, is the result of one of the many building works of Archbishop Lanfranc undertaken some ten years or so before the writing of the Domesday book in 1086. He built a large enclave for the Archbishop’s Palace with a new hall and adjoining rooms, destroying twenty seven of the fifty two houses he owned and altering the line of the street. Some of the houses not destroyed still stand at the junction of Sun Street and Palace Street. Until a disastrous fire in Cranmer’s time the Palace side of the street must have been very imposing.

At some time prior to 1243 a gate, which became known as Parker’s Gate, had been built into the Precinct wall leading into the Palace Court and was used by all the important visitors to the Palace. The upper stories of the houses lining the street must have made splendid vantage points for watching the arrival of Monarchs, Bishops and Knights with their rentinues. Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon were entertained by the Archbishop Warham so also was Emperor Charles V of Spain; and Queen Elizabeth I dined with Archbishop Parker after the repair of the main hall. Dr. William Urry, former Cathedral Archivist, has researched and plotted the 12th century tenants of Palace Street who would have witnessed the hustle and bustle of these occasions.

Despite the variety of architectural periods which front onto the street most of the properties have cellars which are ancient and go back as far as Dr. Urry’s 12th century tenants. The Georgian facades were put up at a time when Palace Street was quieter, traces of the original beams and tiles may still be seen. An early 17th century map of Canterbury shows the properties arranged much as they are now, but during the 18th century the part of the street between Orange Street and Alphege Lane was known as "The Red Pump" from the pump which stood in the street opposite the "Mayflower Inn" (as it was in those days).

The "Mayflower Restaurant" (as it is known today), stands at the junction of Palace Street with Sun Street, and it was here that the early settlers met to discuss their emigration to America.

Foremost among these would have been Robert Cushman of the puritan Cushman family who lived in the Parade (probably the house on the south side, now a jewellery shop). In 1606 he married Sarah Jekel in St. Alphege Church, (which suggests the parish of St. Alphege was strongly puritan), her family lived in the Precincts behind the Mayflower. Two years later he left Canterbury to join Puritan exiles in the Low Countries, but later returned to Canterbury from whence he wrote to his friends in 1620 to tell them of the ship he had hired to take them all to the New World, that ship was "The Mayflower".

Robert Cushman and his son, Thomas, sailed the following year in "The Speedwell", Robert returned and died in England in 1625. Thomas who is buried at Plymouth Hill became the Ruling Elder of New Plymouth in Massachusetts, and married Mary Allerton who also came from Canterbury, she died in 1699 the last survivor of the "Mayflower" passengers. One of her famous descendants is Robert E. Lee, the great American General.

Two other Palace Street families found their way to New Plymouth, Phillipe de la Noye (then only 19) sailed on the "Speedwell", and the Cooks who sailed on the "Mayflower". Francis Cook was one of the signatories of the "Mayflower Compact" which was drawn up off Cape Cod. Phillipe married into the Cook family, their surname later became Delano and the late Franklyn Delano Roosevelte was descended from them.

Opposite the "Mayflower Restaurant" is the small 19th century stone facade of a chapel (now part of Debenham’s store) which is on the site of the original Congregational Church, one of the centres of Puritanism in Canterbury. Comfort Starr, one of the earliest graduates of Harvard, returned to the county of his ancestors during the 17th century to become minister of this church.

Several members of the Gookin family (who lived in the Precincts) also emigrated to America, including Daniel Gookin in 1600 who settled in Virginia. Daniel the second became governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1687 and wrote the first history of New England. Another member of the family wrote the famous Revolutionary Journal during the War of Independence.

Canterbury has many other interesting associations with early America, these are just a few from the immediate locality of the "Mayflower Restaurant" in Palace Street. Most of the information has been garnered from the writings of Francis Woodman and Margaret Sparks of the Canterbury Urban Studies Centre.




If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-