Rigdale Close

One of a dozen or so developments off Speedwell Crescent to have a name commemorating a “Pilgrim Father”, Rigdale Close thus honours John Rigdale, who appears not to have been a father of any kind in the conventional sense, for, together with his wife Alice it would appear that the both fell victims to the epidemic that claimed so many Pilgrims’ lives that first transatlantic spring of 1621.

Little is known of either Mr or Mrs Rigdale, although if an alternative (and commonly used) spelling – Rigsdale – is employed the possibility suggests itself that John and Alice were perhaps the John Rydsdall and Alys Gallard who were married in Lincolnshire in 1577. Researchers, so far, have so far failed to find any other reference to a John Rigsdale marrying an Alice of any other name. This would, of course, most likely make the couple in their sixties when they sailed to the new world, which may perhaps have made them more vulnerable than most to that spring epidemic.

John Rig(s)dale was, nevertheless, one of the forty or so who signed the Mayflower covenant on 11 November 1620, and so however little is known of him, his place in history is assured.