The magnificent model of the one hundred ton ship the 'Lyon' is housed in the museum in a brightly lit glass case. This is because in 1632 a large group of individuals from this area with 'Puritan' sympathies joined this ship for a crossing to the New World.
This afternoon a young couple from somewhere in the USA wandered shyly around the museum, when I enquired as to their opinion the man informed us one of his ancestors had originated in this area. I indicated a small book which contained names of those who travelled and left them to peruse this. He discovered two mentions of what turns out to be an illustrious ancestor indeed! How about that! Here we were confronted with a descendant of and East Anglian who had emigrated 382 years before. A strange but enjoyable sensation that history lovers will understand.
Naturally he wished to buy the inexpensive book, well two actually as we are good salesmen and the folks back home in the USA need to read about this man! Of such small occurrences does life become worthwhile. Especially as the two girls on duty had no idea about the 'Lyon,' being mostly concerned with the shop side of things. This is what makes it worthwhile for me.
Stephen hart, their ancestor, sailed indeed on the 'Lyon,' but not in 1632. His journey began on August the 23rd 1631 with the experienced Ships Master, William Pierce in command. Pierce had made this journey several times in his ship, a very good ship at that, and had sympathies with the Puritans types aboard. The voyage across the Atlantic, late in the year, took 72 days, arriving in Nantasket on November the 2nd 1631. How glad were they to touch land?
The ship carried 'about' 60 passengers, most on the list headed for a place called 'Cambridge.' However passenger lists appear to mention only half this number. It is possible only the 'important' people were listed, or the list concerned only those from Essex. It could also be that servants names were not listed, which shows how egalitarian some Puritans could be!
The trip could indeed be hazardous and uncomfortable. The 'Lyon' was a better ship than many and quite a few of those on these trips could afford any cabins or luxury on offer. All to often however hard tack biscuits and salt beef, if it was beef, was all that was available. As the current may well send you further back at the end of the day than you were at the beginning and winds tend to make their own minds up passage could be tedious and physically wearing. Water was taken aboard but could lose its benefits after a while due to the containers so most people probably drank beer instead. Cooking, by braziers, was often dangerous and so cold lunch was the order of the day, not really enjoyable on a mobile ship in October. Of course any storms tossing the ship about would not encourage hunger but let's not bring that up here. Sickness was a problem, in a crowded vessel any illness would spread through the ship, both passengers and crew suffering.
However once on land home awaited. That is if you could get to it wherever it was. If food was available, transport, probably walking, and once settled in the winter snows would welcome the weary traveller with freezing cold, storms and more sickness. It is not a surprise to discover so many did not survive.
At least you could worship as you desired, unless the others disagreed and you had to move on.......
As for Stephen, he survived the voyage, most appear to have done on that trip, and settled in what was a colony of England at that time, loyal to the King. His story has been researched Here or Here.