17th-Century English Village
Welcome to the 17th century!
The 17th-Century English Village is a re-creation of the small farming and maritime community built by the Pilgrims* along the shore of Plymouth Harbor. The English Village brings colonial Plymouth vividly to life. Here, you will find modest timber-framed houses furnished with reproductions of the types of objects that the Pilgrims owned, aromatic kitchen gardens, and heritage breeds livestock. Engaging townspeople are eager to tell you about their new lives in Plymouth Colony.
The people you meet are costumed role players portraying actual residents of Plymouth Colony. They have adopted the names, viewpoints and life histories of the people who lived and worked in the Colony. Each has a unique story to tell. Their viewpoints might shock or fascinate you, educate or entertain you. Imagine you have travelled back in time and can hear directly from the Pilgrims about the Colony's difficult beginnings. Ask about religious beliefs, education and child rearing, relations with Native People, gardens, cooking, or any topic of interest to you. Or simply rest on a bench and enjoy the unique atmosphere of 17th-century Plymouth Colony.
Your visit to the 17th century is self-guided, so please explore the Village at your own pace. Feel free to walk in on the Pilgrims as they eat dinner, join a lively conversation in the street, or participate in hands-on activities that vary with the season and time of day. In addition to our role players, you may also encounter Museum Guides who speak from a modern perspective and can give you additional background on life in the 1600s and how the Museum accurately re-creates this world. For more information about your visit to the 17th-Century English Village, please see our Frequently Asked Questions.
In 1623, Emmanuel Altham - a visitor to Plymouth - wrote of the town:
It is well situated upon a high hill close unto the seaside… In this plantation is about twenty houses, four or five of which are very fair and pleasant, and the rest (as time will serve) shall be made better. And this town is in such manner that it makes a great street between the houses, and at the upper end of the town there is a strong fort, both by nature and art, with six pieces of reasonable good artillery mounted thereon… This town is paled about with pale of eight foot long, or thereabouts, and in the pale are three great gates…. And lastly, the town is furnished with a company of honest men…
*Although not commonly used until the 19th century, for the sake of convenience, we often use the popular term Pilgrim when talking about the Plymouth Colonists.