Saturday, July 29, 2017

Preparing to Fly: 'Eagle Wing' in 1635 (from New England to Antrim)

Wintrhop Wilson copy

During 1635, two important figures in the fledgling New England Massachussetts Bay colony visited Ulster, to meet in person with the Ulster-Scots Presbyterian ministers who they had been corresponding with, and who were planning to sail across the Atlantic in pursuit of religious liberty.

In January 1635, John Winthrop the Younger (above left) visited Ulster to meet with the ministers; he “did earnestly invite and greatly encourage us”. He had founded an English Puritan colony at Agawam/Ipswich in 1633.

He was back in October 1635, this time with Rev John Wilson of Boston (above right). Both men visited Sir John Clotworthy in Antrim with the Ulster ministers again – where “divers godly persons were appointed to meet at his house to confer about their voyage to New England”.

Clotworthy's original castle is long-gone, but Antrim Castle Gardens still exist, on the banks of the Sixmilewater River. Perhaps there should be a plaque there to commemorate this important American link?