Heacham church greets Pocahontas anniversary 

Dr Kelso receives greetings sc
St Mary’s Church in Heacham recently sent greetings to the American celebrations of the 400th anniversary of Pocahontas’ wedding to Norfolk farmer John Rolfe, who was born and baptised in the West Norfolk church.

400 years ago in the first English colony in America at Jamestown, Virginia, Pocahontas, the daughter of Powhatan, Chief of the Chesapeake Indians, married Norfolk farmer John Rolfe, founder of the Virginian tobacco industry. The marriage created a climate of peace between the Jamestown colonists and Powhatan's tribes for several years. 

On April 5 more than 2,200 visitors came to see a re-enactment of Pocahontas' marriage to John Rolfe on the original site where the wedding took place, in celebration of the 400th anniversary.

Former Wymondham College headmaster and author John Haden attended the celebrations in Jamestown and took the greetings of St Mary’s Church, Heacham, where John Rolfe was born and baptised as well as St George’s Gravesend, where Pocahontas died and was buried, to the Virginian Indians still living in the Chesapeake region.

John Haden said: ’It was a privilege to be the bearer of the greetings of the people of both churches, to the 400th re-enactment celebrations of the wedding.”

John Haden now lives in the East Midlands and runs the ARIES Project (The American Roots in English Soil Project), which helps English schools research their links with early American history. He has written the book 'Mrs John Rolfe of Heacham Better Known as Pocahontas'. Mr Haden presented a copy of his book as well as a scroll of greetings from the English churches to Dr William Kelso, Director of the Jamestown Rediscovery Archaeological Project.

John Rolfe’s parents, grandparents and other relatives are all buried in St Mary’s Church, Heacham.  When in 1616 Pocahontas visited London with her husband John Rolfe and young son Thomas it is thought that they may also have visited Heacham to meet his family and village legend says she planted a mulberry tree there.

Photo: John Haden (left) presents a Scroll of Greetings from St Mary's Church, Heacham to Dr William Kelso.

Network Norwich and Norfolk > Regional News > West Norfolk > Heacham church greets Pocahontas anniversary 
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