Best Seller


The dramatic true story behind the building of Mayflower II


The Wicked Pilgrim by Randal Charlton

The Mayflower is a national treasure like the Statue of Liberty.  

It has a deep meaning to most Americans because it speaks to our collective history as immigrants.  

In 1620 the iconic ship brought passengers from Europe to “the New World” seeking a better life.

In 2020 – 400 years later – more than 30 million Americans can trace their roots to that historic voyage.

The Wicked Pilgrim is the dramatic true story of how a historically accurate replica of that famous ship was built in the 1950’s .

Mayflower II is the product of transatlantic competition and collaboration between two men of bold vision and determination: Warwick Charlton (British) and Henry Hornblower II (American).  Each man wanted to build a replica of the 1620 ship in the 1950s, but for different reasons. Their story is the subject of The Wicked Pilgrim.

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Categories: Biography, Non-fiction, American History, Nautical History, Entrepreneurship,  Marketing.


  • “I devoured in a single sitting. Written with great zest.  It’s about time Warwick’s contribution is given its proper due.”  Nathaniel Philbrick, Author of “Mayflower – A Story of Courage, Community and War.”
  • “Four stars out of four”. org
  • “Warwick Charlton’s forgotten story deserves an audience”. Sailing Today
  • “A visionary who sailed through controversy. A warts-and-all portrait.” Western Morning News

Amazon Description

The true story of Warwick Charlton, his storm tossed life in war and peacetime, how and why he built Mayflower II, sailed it to America and gave it to the American people. It is a story that involves larger than life characters, suspicion, conspiracy, deception and finally triumph against all odds.

Book Review  (Mayflower Event News)

The Wicked Pilgrim by Randal Charlton is an easy read and tells the dramatic true story of the transatlantic competition to build the Mayflower II, a  replica of the ship that brought English Pilgrims to America in 1620.

It is the story of two men of bold vision and determination:  Warwick Charlton (British) and Henry Hornblower II (American).   Each man wanted to build a historically accurate replica of the Mayflower in the 1950s, but for very different reasons.

Warwick Charlton (British) conceived of the idea on a troop transport ship in 1945 while returning to England at the end of World War II. He saw America as the essential player in defeating global tyranny, and he came up with the idea of building a replica of the original Mayflower, sailing her to Massachusetts and presenting her to the American people as a gift from England for all America had done during the war.

Henry Hornblower II (American) knew that the values expressed in the Mayflower Compact lay the foundation for American democracy. The Compact stood beside the U.S. Constitution as a defining document.   The English Pilgrims wrote the Compact and then made Plymouth their home. But before each of these events, they sailed across the Atlantic on the Mayflower. He envisioned a living history museum called Plimoth Plantation that would be innovative and unlike another other and it would tell this story. He already had the land, now he needed the boat.

But there was no boat, yet.

Charlton was a British journalist of limited means, and Hornblower was an heir to one of the largest Wall Street investment firms in the United States.   For Charlton, the Mayflower II project became an obsession that required him to create elaborate marketing schemes and innovative corporate sponsorships, which were unheard of at the time. Hornblower, in contrast, was a conservative New Englander with great wealth and influence.  

In today’s tech world, it was a competition between a start-up and IBM.  One had money and resources, while the other had merely a big idea, moxie and an obsession to make it happen.

In the end, Warwick Charlton built the Mayflower II, sailed on it to America and then sold it to Henry Hornblower II’s Plimoth Plantation for $1. 

The Wicked Pilgrim tells the story of how Warwick came up with the idea of corporate sponsorships to help finance the Mayflower Project. At the time, this was disruptive and broke with the norms of the day. The book describes how this unconventional approach led to schisms in both Britain and New England.

It was also a time of emerging challenges to established media. The Mayflower II was a big story worldwide, but one company was able to gain exclusive rights to the voyage, which blocked coverage from all others. Anyone following the competition between Netflix, Amazon and the established broadcast networks will find this media history fascinating and eye-opening.

World events were the supporting actors in this drama, and included the likes of Russia, a Middle East crisis and a Presidential election.

Next year is the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower voyage 1620 – 2020, and numerous celebrations are planned on both sides of the Atlantic.

Charlton would be the first to point out that the Mayflower II is a tangible piece of history that we all learned about in elementary school, but may have forgotten.   But it is important history that resonates today.

The Wicked Pilgrim brings all this to life. I recommend it.