Sacred day in England visiting Pocahontas' burial cite.
The day began, with an official welcome at Cobham Hall with the Mayor of Gravesham and members of the royal family. Gifts were exchanged and words of welcome where given. Then the representatives of the Virginia Indian Tribes were taken to St. George's Church in Gravesend to the burial site of Pocahontas for a private ceremony.
Mary Pugh, of St. George's church, told the history of St. George's and Pocahontas. Pocahontas on a trip to England with her husband John Rolfe, became ill and after she boarded a ship to return to her native land her condition grew worse and she was brought back to Gravesend, died and was buried in the chancel of the parish church, the place reserved for clergy and notable parishioners. Her remains have not been disturbed and are buried in the chancel of the church to this day. In 1896, the memorial tablet to Pocahontas was put in the chancel of St. George's Church, the memorial windows were presented by the Colonial Dames of America in 1914. St. George's Churchyard was laid out as the Princess Pocahontas Garden in 1958 and the Queen gave to St. Georges the replica of the chalice and paten used in 1607. The legend is that the vicar of St. George's received the statute of Pocahontas in the garden as a gift after a trip to Virginia. The tablet commemorating Pocahontas reads:
This stone commemorates Princess Pocahontas or Metoak daughter of the mighty American Indian Chief Powhattan. Gentle and humane, she was the friend of the earliest struggling English colonists whom she nobly rescued, protected, and helped. On her Conversion to Christianity in 1613, she received in Baptism the name Rebecca, and shortly afterwards became the wife of John Rolfe, a settler in Virginia. She visited England with her husband in 1616, was graciously received by Queen Anne wife of James I. In the twenty second year of her age she died at Gravesend preparing to revisit her native country and was buried near this spot on March 21st 1617.
When Mary Pugh completed her presentation, the non native visitors were asked to leave the sanctuary and a private ceremony was conducted by the Virginia Indians visiting the Church. Afterwards pictures were taken in the courtyard and the party left and visited "The Promenade" on the River Thames to prepare for the Big Day Out on Saturday and Sunday.
Appropriately, the St. George's Church Guide, contains this prayer:
May your Church, Lord, be a light to the nations, the sign and source of your power to unite all men. May she lead mankind to the mystery of your love. Amen