LUNCH AND LEARN: An Atlantic Life - Reconsidering the 'Lord of Misrule,' Thomas Morton
Five years after their arrival aboard the Mayflower in 1620, the Pilgrims at Plymouth worst nightmare, the “Lord of Misrule,” followed them across the Atlantic Ocean and set up camp. A few miles up the coast from their Plymouth settlement, near modern-day Quincy, Massachusetts, Thomas Morton and his crew celebrated the traditional May Day holiday and drank, danced, and made merry around a newly erectly maypole. May Day festivities were central to the culture of merry England, which the Pilgrims (and later the Puritans) desperately sought to leave behind. This talk will explore how May Day revelry was at the heart of the cultural and religious war between Anglicans and Puritans, which raged on both sides of the Atlantic. “Mine Host of Ma-re-Mount,” as Morton referred to himself, also challenged the strict ordering of society when he freed the servants at the plantation, and set up a forward-thinking settlement, where they traded and planted as equals. Morton, who was banished from New England more than once, vexed the Pilgrims and Puritans with his love of merry English culture, Anglican faith, trade with local tribes, and ultimately his efforts to revoke the Bay Colony Charter.