When did the Mayflower actually sail?

Still Mayflower related but a little bit away from the build, I’d like to make a quick post about calendars.  A few people have recently contacted me and asked about the date the  Mayflower sailed. I’ll always use the date mentioned by William Bradford in his ‘History of Plimoth Plantation’  and used by most books and notable websites. That date being the 6th of September 1620.  Some people then question this as they have been told the date was actually the 16th of September.

When the mayflower sailed in 1620, the Julian calendar was in use and the date they set sail was the 6th of September. In the mid 1700’s the Calendar was changed to the Gregorian calendar and ten days were lost, thus making the 6th the 16th.  Personally, I will always quote the date the Pilgrims saw on their calendar, the 6th, because that was when they left, not the 16th! Although I suppose both dates are correct.

But as an aside, here in the UK we celebrate the failure to blow up Parliament in 1605 on the 5th of November, not the 15th!  Content: James Kelly


  1. justindemetri

    I work for the Essex Shipbuilding Museum here in the states and we are happily following your progress. As far as dates, you could demarcate the Julian dates with an OS or O.S. (old style) many of the gravestones we have in town from the 1700’s have both designated. Not only did the dates change ( there is a difference of a day per century Julian vs. Gregorian calenders) but the original day of New Years eventually switched from March 1st to January 1st. Best of luck in the project, love seeing the pictures of the frames being assembled…

    • mayflower2020

      I never knew there was an Essex in the states as well! I really need to brush up on my US knowledge. That’s a good idea to demarcate the dates, I’ll have to use that in future. Nice to see you’re following the build. There should hopefully be more posts on the frames and a few other interesting little bits of news shortly.

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