From the Old World to the New - the Quest for Religious Freedom . In 1620 one hundred Puritans boarded the 'Mayflower' bound for the New World. These people were The Pilgrim Fathers. This is the story of a group of religious Separatists who sailed across the Atlantic in 1620 and helped shape the laws and ways of life in what was to become the United States of America. Told by two British historians from near the Pilgrims home villages in Nottinghamshire, England and interspersed with dramatic reconstructions this program probes their roots in the England of the 1600's. It explores their reasons for leaving England as well as the perilous journey they took to get to America. The story begins in Nottinghamshire where Separatists - worshippers wanting to reform the then highly intolerant church - were in danger from the Crown. They believed in a greater freedom of religion than the authorities would permit. Fearing for their lives they decided to leave England and create a community where they were free to practice their beliefs. After a failed attempt at the dangerous journey they managed to escape to Amsterdam where they spent twelve long years before their decision to move to the New World. The program reenacts not only the Pilgrims' religious services but the perilous journey by just over a hundred men, women, and children in the Mayflower and another leaky vessel, one of which had to be abandoned, over months at sea through storms and terrible conditions. On November 9th 1620, land was spotted - Cape Cod on the East coast of North America - over 3,000 miles from the start of their journey in Nottinghamshire. The Pilgrims found a rich land with cornfields, timber and rivers teeming with fish. They set up their new colony - Plimoth - now modern Plymouth, Massachusetts. From these humble beginnings their influence helped shape the nation into the United States of America that we know today. Although we credit the Pilgrims for Thanksgiving, this program explains why this brave group is far more significant, because the quest for religious freedom matters far more than a celebratory harvest feast. The tale ends with the historic Mayflower Compact, the first self-governing agreement in America.