As I write this, I find myself sitting on a bed at the house in Suffolk that we’re staying in for a few days, it has an interior balcony from which I can look down on the lounge area where I can currently see Richard and Eric preparing for tonight’s show in Leiston.
It has been another truly incredible day, this morning we drove out to Otley Hall, the former home of Bartholomew Gosnold the man who founded America, his story is not very well known, people have the common misconception that The Pilgrims founded America actually, Bartholomew Gosnold sailed out 13 years before they did on his ship Godspeed with two other ships Discovery and Susan Constant.
The ships were only the size of a cricket pitch, it’s absolute madness that they were able to sail all the way from Harwich, Essex, England to what became Jamestown, Virginia, America! Jamestown of course being named after King James I of England who was the reigning monarch at the time and the one who instructed Bartholomew Gosnold to set sail.
Bartholomew Gosnold’s story is being told in a Folk Musical called To Look For America that Richard and Eric have written and produced, the musical is one of the projects we have under Lilypaddle and I feel incredibly blessed to have been a part of it even in my own small way. My contribution to the project comes in the form of a Photo Movie that Richard and I made fitting illustrations to the music that Eric and he had written.
The Photo Movie will be released later this year, but the CD of the musical is available for purchase now through the To Look For America website, with two songs available on there for you to listen to before you purchase as well as a lot more information about the story and the musical as a whole!
Anyway, enough selling, back to our fantastic day…
Bartholomew Gosnold’s house was closed to the public because it is out of season but knowing that it is also a residential property Richard, Eric and I decided to chance our luck and went anyway, knocked on the door, explained who we were, what we were doing, and a lovely woman called Karen kindly invited us in and showed us around.
Side note: I don’t endorse bothering people like this usually, quite the opposite in fact, but we thought they’d be interested in our musical about the man who’s house they own which is why we knocked. Please don’t just bother people in their private houses for no good reason, that isn’t fair or right.
Being able to stand in Bartholomew Gosnold’s house this morning after spending so long producing his life story and more importantly the story of how he founded America was phenomenal. I can’t put in to words how it felt to walk through the gates that Bartholomew Gosnold will have walked through on that cold December morning in 1606 when he set off to sail to America on Godspeed, or the emotions that hit me when we stood by the very fireplace that Bartholomew Gosnold sat beside in candlelight planning his voyage to what was to become America.
The most powerful experience for me from today was being stood in his bedroom, the bedroom where his wife Mary will have slept alone for years after he left for America never to return, the residual energy in that room of grief, sadness and hope was overpowering and I had to fight hard not to burst into uncontrollable tears, it really was an experience like no other.
I can’t believe what an incredible week this has been so far, exploring 12th century churches, seeing The Hay Wain for the first time, walking around Bartholomew Gosnold’s house and now sitting on a bed writing for my beloved blog, listening to Richard and Eric preparing for tonight’s show, I really do love my life.
The rest of this week is going to be really interesting too, tonight Richard and Eric are playing in Leiston at the oldest theatre in Suffolk, tomorrow in Harwich, the place that Godspeed sailed from, at the oldest theatre in the country, then on Friday we’re in Great Yarmouth, the Blackpool of The East and on Saturday we’re off down to Devon! I really am enjoying travelling around like this, getting to see different parts of the country and some really incredible places all whilst writing and enjoying the brilliant shows that Richard and Eric put on each night!