One Surrey town is a focal point for this September’s transatlantic commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower for the New World in September 1620.
Dorking is rightfully proud of its place within the events of four centuries ago. Shoemaker William Mullins was one of six Dorking residents who sailed on the Mayflower and his daughter, Priscilla, is often known as ‘the mother of a nation’. Their imposing house is the only known surviving home of a Pilgrim Father and is now a major attraction for tourists from both sides of the Atlantic.
Back in William’s time, Dorking – known as ‘Darking’ – was a relatively modest market town with around 1,400 inhabitants, a long day’s walk south of London. Transport in and out of the area other than on foot was difficult, because of the terrain. It was the market town for the surrounding villages and farms, holding markets and well-provided with shops, mills, and inns. The buildings were wooden-framed, using local oak. Many can still be seen today, including William’s own home in West Street, close to Pump Corner in the commercial centre of the small town.
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