The site of Mayflower High school has a rich history since long before the school itself opened.
First inhabited in the Iron Age, burial mounds still exist in Norsey Woods, but the town that would eventually become Billericay became important when a Roman settlement was formed following the defeat of the local Trinovante tribe.
During the Saxon period a now traditional form of local government came into being. The area was then owned by King Harold's father, who is buried locally, who named the fortified settlement Burghstede.
The area then passed into the ownership of William the Conqueror's half brother. When he fell out of favour, William gave the lands to the Cistercian monks.
In 1381, men from Billericay joined the Peasant’s Revolt against the poll tax. The rebels were pursued by the Kings armies and a battle ensued in Norsey Woods, adjacent to the modern Mayflower site.
Why a ship?
Whilst Billericay had become a flourishing commercial centre during the reign of Henry VIII, religious persecution during the reign of James I of England (James VI of Scotland) led some inhabitants to embark on the famous Mayflower voyage to America. The expedition was led by Christopher Martin, born in Great Burstead who is believed to have lived in what is now known as the Old Chantry in Billericay High Street and a meeting of the ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ is said to have taken place in Billericay prior to the sailing
In September 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, a port on the southern coast of England. Nearly 40 of the passengers were Protestant Separatists (they called themselves “Saints”) who hoped to establish a new church free from religious persecution, in the so-called New World.
It is the Mayflower ship that is represented on the school’s badge.
The School buildings
Mayflower High School itself was founded in 1965, with the original buildings which are now A block and B block still in use.
The school has expanded over time to and now houses 1600 students from 11-18.