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A royal pilgrimage

PUBLISHED: 15:43 08 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:09 23 August 2010

DESCENDANTS of Princess Pocahontas visited the town to celebrate her extraordinary life on the 50th anniversary of the unveiling of her statue. Visitors from as far as America made the pilgrimage to St Georges Church, Gravesend, to mark the landmark d

DESCENDANTS of Princess Pocahontas visited the town to celebrate her extraordinary life on the 50th anniversary of the unveiling of her statue.

Visitors from as far as America made the 'pilgrimage' to St Georges' Church, Gravesend, to mark the landmark date.

The statue at the church was donated to the borough by the American town in 1958, in recognition of her burial place in 1617.

On Saturday morning Gravesham mayor Ken Jones welcomed members of the Bolling Family Association (BFA).

In a strong American accent, President Woodruff Bentley spoke of his pride at visiting the borough for the fourth time.

He said: "Our organisation has 500 members who are related either through the bloodline or names to that of Princess Pocahontas. It is a proud moment every time our members visit Gravesend. In the last 20 years we have visited St George's Church on four occasions.

"It is important we remember Princess Pocahontas and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the statue which is a twin to the one founded in Jamestown, Virginia." Eve Butler Gee, BFA Secretary, added: "This visit is so important as it enables us to visit the site where her remains are buried and offers us that closeness."

All eight members of the delegation are related through the marriage of Pocahontas to John Rolfe in 1614.

The BFA is composed of descendants of Robert Bolling who immigrated to Jamestown in 1660 at 13-years-old. He later married Jane Rolfe, granddaughter of Pocahontas and John Rolfe.

In addition, members include descendants of Robert Bolling's second wife as well as descendants of at least eight other Bolling emigrants prior to 1800.

During the visit to the Civic Centre, members of the association listened to historical stories about Gravesham.

Mr Bentley also presented Mayor Ken Jones with a traditional Venetian Standing Bowl, made at the Jamestown Glass House.

The special guests attended a service at St George's Church at about 4.30pm, where Professor Helen Rountree, a world class expert on Pocahontas and

the English Settlers, gave a talk on

the subject.

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