A University of Worcester academic will reveal Worcestershire’s links to one of the first American settlers.

Professor of Early Modern History, Darren Oldridge, will deliver the talk which coincides with the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving.

Professor Oldridge has been researching local links to Droitwich-born Edward Winslow, one of the Pilgrim Fathers who went out on the Mayflower ship in 1620 and was present at the first Thanksgiving a year later, in 1621.

Professor Oldridge said: “The celebration of the anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower was a casualty of Covid.

"In the hope that we are emerging from the pandemic, the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving seems especially apt.

"It seems fitting to reflect on this historical moment of hope, after tragedy, in Worcester Cathedral.”

Winslow grew up in Droitwich, where a statue of him exists today, and was educated at King's School.

Professor Oldridge believes Winslow played a potentially key role in the survival of some of those first settlers.

He added: “Winslow is a really interesting figure as someone who reached out to the indigenous people of America.

“He played a very important role in forming the friendship with local tribespeople, upon which the colony’s survival perhaps depended.” 

According to Professor Oldridge, Winslow effectively became the publicist for the colony, reporting the early years of the settlement for readers back in England. 

He did this partly in the hope of encouraging others to make the voyage to preserve the colony, which had struggled since its arrival.

Winslow also developed friendships with the original inhabitants of the region who were able to warn him of threats to the colony, such as attacks from other tribes.

The talk takes place in the Centre of Learning in the Undercroft at the Cathedral on Tuesday, November 23, at 6pm.

Tickets cost £5, plus booking fee, and can be purchased on Eventbrite.