Pirates Ashore

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In 1646, three mysterious shiploads of English privateers sailed into Plymouth harbor flush with Spanish gold and rich cargoes they had seized in the Caribbean…

Join us on Saturday, May 18th as we relive the tumult!

Pirates Ashore in Plymouth is an annual all-day reenactment of the little-known visit of three pirate ships to Plymouth Colony in May 1646 as described in Governor William Bradford’s Of Plimoth Plantation. Visitors of all ages are invited to the Mayflower Society House for pirate and Pilgrim fun! 

The “pirates” were English privateers, just back from capturing a number of Spanish ships in the Caribbean, flush with cargo and cash. Led by Captain Thomas Cromwell, the men were welcomed on shore and spent a month disrupting the quiet Pilgrim town eating, drinking, and paying generously with their stolen gold. There was great mayhem, including one rowdy sailor who died in a swordfight with the Pirate Captain… leading to a trial for murder!

Protecting Plimoth Colony and leading the military tribunal of the Pirate Captain will be our local New Plimmoth Gard; causing trouble as the English privateers will be maritime reenactor groups The Crew of the Raven and The Free Men of the Sea. Along with learning a bit about our local history, visitors are invited to explore the pirate encampment, learn how to use a cannon, and experience the Gard’s musket and pike drills! 

Pirates Ashore in Plymouth Schedule


Friday, May 17, 2019

7 p.m. Lecture: Caribbean Buccaneers in Plymouth County with Stephen O'Neill, Executive Director of the Hanover Historical Society and Senior Lecturer in History at Suffolk University.
Mayflower Society House, 4 Winslow St., Plymouth, MA

Saturday, May 18, 2019
Rain Location: Spire Center for the Performing Arts, 25 1/2 Court St, Plymouth, MA 02360

10 a.m.
Old Colony Club fires cannon to alert Plymouth Colony of mysterious visitors in the harbor... 

10:15 - 10:45 a.m. 
Join the New Plimmoth Gard at the State Pier as they confront the Privateers coming ashore.
After cautiously allowing them into the town, the group will walk through the waterfront, across Water St. and up North St. to the Pirate Encampment at the Mayflower Society House.

11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Visit the Pirate Encampment throughout the afternoon for musket and pike drills, colonial artisans in action, and sword fights. Keep your eyes peeled for Pirates causing ruckus around town! 
During this time, visitors are also encouraged to enjoy the opening day for the Mayflower Society House's season! Take a tour and learn about the Mayflower Society House's three centuries of history.

2 p.m.
Witness the final, fatal sword fight between a rowdy sailor and the Pirate Captain on the front lawn of the Mayflower Society House. 

2:30 p.m. 
Join us for the Murder Trial of the Pirate Captain by the Plymouth Council of War - will he be convicted?! 

3:00 - 5:00 p.m. Pirates Ashore Strongwater Soiree
Swing on by the New World Tavern, 56 Main St, Plymouth, MA for sea shanties with our pirates and a mug of "strongwater" from local brewery Independent Fermentations! 

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