April 5 – When Dale was looking through one of our flower books, he found that the very small bluish flower all over the garden spots, back by the pond, in the hay fields, just about everywhere was speedwell. Immediately something popped into my brain! “That reminds me of the ship that came over with the Mayflower. I wonder if they have anything in common with each other.” One way to find out. Check on Google Search!”
Lots of interesting material you can look up yourself, but being a retired teacher, I am going to mention a few bits of information that I found.
An ancient tradition of the Roman Church says that when Jesus was on His way to Calvary, He passed the home of a young Jewish lady who ran after Him to wipe the sweat from His face with her kerchief. Later on the Church planned to canonize the girl, and St Veronica’s’ cloth became one of the relics at St. Peter’s. Flower lovers in the Middle Ages named the flower speedwell, as it reminded them of the relic. Later, in Great Britain and North America, the flower was called speedwell or that which “quickly makes well.”
Now about the related ship. The Speedwell was smaller than the Mayflower, and was originally called the Swiftsure when built in 1577. After taking part in the war against the Spanish Armada, it was renamed the Speedwell. A group of Separatists bought it in Holland and sailed to Southampton to meet up with the Mayflower. But by the time it reached the port, it was already leaking! For two weeks it was held back for repairs; in fact the owners and crew had to sell their belongings and food to pay for the work.
Finally they set off towards America, but by the time it had sailed 350 miles, it was taking on water again. Back to Dartmouth for more repairs, then to Plymouth. The ship was finally sold at an auction in London. Some of the crew joined the Pilgrims and sailed off on the Mayflower. Some people have guessed that the mast was just too big for the ship and the added stress made holes in the hull. Others blamed the crew for not being careful and caring workers; another suggested that a loose board about two feet long was responsible for the water almost sinking the ship.
Whatever the full story, I will remember it every day when I walk outside and see these tiny flowers on the lawn or along the path. How much history there is in the world, just floating along, waiting to give its story to those who are interested and take the time! – CHRIS the History Teacher