Pilgrim Fathers Church
The history of the Old or Pilgrim Fathers' Church goes back as far as 1472, when the Roman Catholic church of St. Anthony was consecrated on this site. The oldest known
In 1608 a group of English religious dissenters fled to the Netherlands. They had left the Anglican church a few years before and had founded their own religious community.
After living in Leiden for eleven years, they decided to become Pilgrims and cross the wide waters to America, where they might worship God in their own way and still be Englishmen.
The great adventure started in Delfshaven, on 21 July 1620. There a ship awaited them, the Speedwell, that was bound for America. According to the chronicles the Pilgrim Fathers knelt down in prayer on the quay near the church, that was later to be named after them.
The most radical rebuilding took place in 1765. At this time the church was heightened considerably and was given its present facade with the bell-shaped gable. Much later, American visitors gave it its third name: Pilgrim Fathers' Church.
In the nineteenth century the building with the text 'Eben-Haëzer' in its gable, was erected behind the church. The Stichting Oude Hollandse Kerken (Foundation Old Churches in Holland) acquired the church in 1992. A large-scale restoration was completed in 1998.
The Old or Pilgrim Fathers' Church has a spacious and light interior. Arches, plastered white, divide the nave from the aisles. Commemorative panels, bearing the names of the vicars who served the community from 1574 onwards, adorn the otherwise bare walls.
lectern. As usual in Dutch Protestant churches, the pulpit stands within a rectangular enclosure. Here, the members of the church council sat during services and here, baptism was administered. The stained-glass windows in the choir represent the six days of Creation. It has a lovely carillon.
The oldest bell, which was cast in 1464, is cracked and is now on display in the church.