The Mayflower, celebrated for transporting the Pilgrims to the New World, was registered in Harwich, in Essex, where its captain, Christopher Jones, was from.
The house where Captain Christopher once lived is set to open as a tourist attraction as his Essex hometown seeks to reaffirm its connection to the story of the famous ship.
The Mayflower set sail from Plymouth in the UK to the New World in 1620, carrying the Pilgrim Fathers to North America, but the ship was registered in Harwich in Essex, where its captain, Christopher Jones, was from.
Its landing site was named Plymouth Rock, the settlement was called Plymouth Colony, and it developed into the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts.
David Whittle, Vice Chairman of the Harwich Society local history group, said: “I don’t want to decry Plymouth in any way. They are part of this thing.”
But he said it was only by chance that the Mayflower went to Plymouth, after an accompanying ship sprang a leak and they both turned back.
If this had not happened “Plymouth wouldn’t have come into the equation”, he said, adding: “If that hadn’t happened and the two ships had gone across there, would there be Plymouth Rock?”
He said that Harwich was where the Mayflower was registered, and its captain Christopher Jones once lived in King’s Head Street in the town.
He said that “people in America don’t know about Harwich” and that visitors are “absolutely astounded” when they are told.
Sites around the UK that are connected with the Mayflower have worked together with the US travel trade to create new Mayflower tours.
More than 30 million people can trace their ancestry back to the 102 passengers and about 30 crew of the ship, according to the Mayflower 400 website, which was established ahead of the anniversary year.
A new visitor centre is being created in Harwich, and images will be projected on to Captain Jones’s house on Friday as part of an international Mayflower 400 opening event called Illuminate, involving locations connected with the Mayflower.