Calvert marker to London with Pride Ready to ship: With much hoopla, vessel prepares to deliver a memorial to Maryland's founder.

February 01, 1996|By Carl Schoettler | Carl Schoettler,SUN STAFF

On Maryland Day next month, the Pride of Baltimore II will set sail from St. Mary's City to reverse the historic voyage of the Ark and the Dove, which brought the first English colonists to Maryland in 1634.

In a public-private effort called unique by its participants, the Maryland departments of Transportation and Economic Development, Maryland Public Television, Eyre Tour and Travel Ltd. and The Sun are cooperating on various aspects of the Pride II's journey.

The Pride will bear to London a plaque memorializing Cecilius Calvert, the founder of Maryland. Calvert's grave at St. Giles-in-the-Fields Church has been unmarked since the church burned to the ground early in the 18th century.

Ever since he became rector at St. Giles 30 years ago, the Rev. Gordon Taylor has kept a place of honor vacant for an appropriate memorial to Cecilius Calvert, W. Bruce Quackenbush Jr., the Pride's executive director, told a press conference yesterday.

"He's an historian who understands the importance of this man," said Molly Hughes, director of development for Pride II.

Cecilius Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore and first proprietor of Maryland, sent forth about 150 colonists aboard the Ark and the Dove in November 1633. They landed at St. Clement's Island off St. Mary's County March 25, 1634, now celebrated as Maryland Day.

Cecilius Calvert died without ever coming to Maryland. He was buried in St. Giles-in-the-Fields Dec. 7, 1675. St. Giles, now pressed upon by modern London, is just north of Covent Garden.

Stonecarver Joseph D. Moss is at present cutting the seal of the State of Maryland into the memorial, which is a flat plaque of American slate that looks rather like a simple arched-top gravestone.

The memorial was designed by the surveyor emeritus of Westminster Abbey, Peter Foster, with carved and gilded letters, the Maryland Seal, engraved depictions of the Ark and the Dove, a simple epitaph and an inscription that celebrates Parris N. Glendening, Pride of Baltimore II and the People of Maryland.

Because St. Giles is a national monument, strict and exacting requirements demanded materials and methods prevalent during the late 17th century. But Bruce Quackenbush insisted on one exception: "That the marble [for the frame] come from a set of Baltimore row house steps."

"When I explained the significance of what I was asking," Mr. Quackenbush said, "Mr. Foster smiled and immediately agreed."

So there will always be a little bit of Baltimore in the heart of London.

Pride II is scheduled to dock at the foot of the Tower of London bridge on May 6. Capt. Jan Miles and his crew will carry the memorial to its installation in St. Giles in a carriage drawn by the Whitbread Shires, brewery horses that are the British equivalent of the Budweiser Clydesdales.

On May 10, the Cecilius Calvert memorial will be unveiled at a special service at the church with dignitaries from both England and Maryland in attendance.

Maryland Public Television has created its first "Electronic Field Trip" to broadcast to the state's classrooms the embarkation of the Pride II. Called "Voyages of the Ark, the Dove and Pride II," MPT's field trip is planned to be exceptionally interactive television.

"During the live broadcast, students will ask questions using phone, fax, and e-mail," said Gail Porter Long, MPT vice president for education, "questions that will direct the course of the discussion during the program."

The project has been developed in conjunction with the state Department of Education, with the collaboration of Historic St. Mary's City, the Maryland Historical Society and the state archives.

"It integrates the new technologies into traditional broadcasting in a way that enhances both," Ms. Long said. "We believe 'Voyages of the Ark, the Dove and Pride II' represents a new type of education and a new type of television."

In cooperation with MPT and as part of its Newspapers in Education program, The Sun will create in March a special supplement dedicated to Pride II's voyage and the Calvert memorial.

"We thought it was one of the best opportunities we had heard of to work with students in our schools to celebrate Maryland's history," said Regina P. Swearingen, vice president, new business development and marketing.

"Throughout the voyage we'll be running a series of lessons in the paper that will very much keep the students in tune with the experiences that are occurring," Ms. Swearingen said.

The Sun also will create a "Captain's Log" on the audiotexts called Sundial so students -- and parents -- can call in and hear a daily review of exactly what is happening on Pride II.

Pride II's voyage will be very well covered, indeed. Gary Jobson, a world-class sailor and commentator, and a ESPN television crew will be aboard the Pride to record the Atlantic crossing from St. Mary's City to Baltimore, Ireland, the first landfall in Europe.

WOCT-FM 104.3 will broadcast weekly reports, updates and information on Pride II's journey. And the Eyre travel company has worked up a 13-motorcoach tour of "The Calvert Trail," sites in England associated with Cecilius Calvert and his wife, Anne Arundel. The two-week, $2,599 tour leaves BWI April 29.

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