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There are major religious, social and historical issues when attempting to place a "puritan" within the historical context from the Elizabethan Settlement (1558-59) to the Restoration (1660), which is the primary area of our focus for this presentation. This work is being presented as a rather general, and broad overview of a rather complex area of Early Modern England. Those seeking more scholarly research sources for this period might consider consulting the available resources of the Internet. Please visit our expanded Puritan Bibliography (attached), and the new broader General Bibliography for possible additional research resources. ExLibris might suggest the following scholars, if you may be somewhat unfamiliar with the general history of the period, as a few possible starting places for your general research: Collinson, Dickens, Fincham, Hill, Lake, MacCulloch, Morrill, Sharpe, Tyacke, White, to name only a few.

Much of this literature may not be generally available in many local Public Library Systems. Inquire at your local library branch at its Reference Desk about requesting an "Inter Library Loan Request Form". If these work are part of your greater "Library System", your book request may get a Book Notification Form, that your book has arrived to be checked out. Large nearby college and university libraries, if available, may be better options for finding these types of scholarly monographs, so do not be afraid to inquire about a possible Library Card, if you qualify.

Most research libraries do not generally require a current valid Library Card simply to use the books in their stacks for research purposes, some facilities might also allow access of college Internet resources. Also check out the available Internet resources which keep growing over time. One might consider that many of these works have been issued in paperback editions, and may be readily available as "used books", if you have local book stores in your area. Used books are often available at reduced prices as reference copies are available via Internet Book Vendors which there are many.

Early Modern English History can also become somewhat complex with many conflicting areas of English Society during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries English society, the return Marian Exiles, the new Elizabethan Church and its Nonconformity issues, and Crown, a more dominant Protestant Parliament and its Foreign Affairs issues. It might be liken to the proverbial onion pealing back its many different leaves as one digs deeper. The short discussion presented here must be considered within the general historical context of Early Modern England period, not in terms of 20th or 21st Century values. There have been certain stereotypical images of the puritan from earlier generations that may need to be re-evaluated in the light of more recent modern research during this period. Our primary focus is on the English Puritan in that society, and how they functioned during that period. There is also a general interest for ExLibris of these early immigrations of various English Dissenters to the American Colonies especially during the Early Stuart Period, which includes The Puritans.

ExLibris can only present a somewhat brief overview of the English Puritan community from Queen Elizabeth I to the Restoration (1660). At best, we may only begin to scratch the surface of what can be rather complex historical, and religious issues in English History. There is a great deal of research that has been published addressing these various aspects by writers, and scholars since the time of Queen Elizabeth I. [Editors Note: There are other resources that also deal with this period, we would recommend your consideration to consider ExLibris as only one arrow in your quiver in your research efforts of the English Puritan. Please visit our expanded Puritan Bibliography (attached), and the new broader General Bibliography for possible additional research interests. ExLibris might suggest the following scholars, if you may be somewhat unfamiliar with the literature, as a few possible starting places for your research on this general period: Collinson, Dickens, Fincham, Hill, Lake, MacCulloch, Morrill, Sharpe, Tyacke, White, to name only a few.]

Puritans and Puritanism

The origins, and the early use of the term "Puritan" has been discussed since the Elizabethan Settlement (1559). The term "puritan" came into usage according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) about 1556 during the middle of the reign of Queen Mary I. The word was originally used as a form of literary criticism applied by certain Catholic writers towards their fellow writers who argued rather narrow points of criticism, from their point of view. Possibly as a slight to be called a "purist"

During this period the term Protestant might mean a number of different things to many different individuals, not necessarily any Post Reformation religious group. The term "Calvinist" might be apply to any Protestant who advocated the early teaching of John Calvin, be they Calvinist, Huguenot, or even by the "Puritan". Early Calvinism was not a monolithic structure with various interpretation of Calvin. There was a generally accepted opinion that the "Puritans" community had a variant form of the standard Calvinist format which was not uncommon to the Reformed Church during the period. This problems of 16th-17th Century label has always been a concern to scholars and historian of the period. After Calvin's successor Beza took over, the scope of the Calvinist Church began to reflect a broader theological foundation of the Church.

The term Protestant might refer any Post Reformation religious group of the period, except for the official Nonconformists, or the new Separatists groups. The term "Reformed" might possibly be used for any Protestant with leanings to the teachings of John Calvin, be they Calvinist, Huguenot, or "Puritan". This problems of 16th-17th Century labels has always been a concern to later scholars and historian of this period.

Modern scholars and historians often refer to the modern Elizabethan Puritan families as a "religious movement". Their religious and theological beliefs were primarily were usually intelligent and mostly well educated individual of a good Christian family. It was not uncommon that many male members of this community were known to have university degrees often in religious or biblical studies. A high percentage also became ordained clergy, and served the Church, which they not not necessarily considered inconsistent with the prime values. These members were often also theologians, and biblical scholars who were not adverse to

The discussion of who were the Puritans, and their place in Early Modern England has been a general discussion and debate amoung their friends, enemies, their critics, including historians an scholars down to the present day. Many modern scholar, and historian generally view the English Puritan as a form of religious movement to bring their religious and theological, and moral perspectives as examples of their own particular Christian standards on a new Early Modern England. To a greater, or lesser extent there were also in competition for the same Christian souls that other religious groups of the period. Unlike many of the competing religious group their primary focus was on the God News of the New Testament, and living a "Christian Life" here on Earth using those provided examples.

Many of early English Puritans of the Elizabethan Church period were not initially political motivated to advance your own Christian values other than by public example. Political reality became apparent that they needed to publicly advance their own Christian vales in the same Public Arena with the religious views at the time. Some Puritans found themselves somewhat behind the curve, and decided to be forthright in advancing their values.

There may always be the potential for over-simplification of complex issues from a broad perspective. We also try to deal with some of the perceptions of both the pro and con arguments from the available historical data not just what we might wish to find to support a particular point of view, or a minority point of view. We need to be aware of the potential for over confident generalizations between theory and fact, "A view through a glass, darkly". The puritans were only one set of cast members on a rather large stage of players during this period, and later, but they have a major voice.

There are many scholarly issues dealing with "the Puritan", and their place in English society, and culture of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries that fall outside of the scope of this modest presentation. Someone once stated that the Past is a foreign country that we cannot visit, which may be a reasonable starting point to consider. Religion and politics were still a volatile combination during this period in English history, as it still remains the same today. We hope this overview might be of some assistance in helping those who may have an interest in "The Puritan" of the period discussed, and their relationship with the other social, cultural, and political elements that helped to shape that period

Puritanism was a major influence within English society from Elizabeth I to the Restoration (1660). Some might see a ongoing conflict between the Crown, the State Church, Puritanism, and Nonconformity. Others might see a broader and tolerant Church of moderate Evangelical Calvinist leaning bishops reacting against the rise of a more "radical" nonconformist, and conservative wing seeking additional Reformed Church reforms. Each group would gradually see the other as a faction working against the godly work of the other. These are only two aspects of the continuing research of this period. The English Civil Wars, the Interregnum, and the Commonwealth also had their own impacts on the Nation, and on the Restoration (1660)One might ask the question of who exactly were the puritans? Or another interesting question is what are the basic under pinning of what we now referrer to as Puritanism. At its heart may be a simple traditional basic dichotomy between the Bible, and the Early Church itself. There is the Promise of the Good News from the Gospels, and than the later institutionalization of the Christian Church as a State institution under Constantine, and the Roman Empire. Two different master, if you will, living side by side over the Centuries with a certain amount of undercurrent tension between the two positions.

Down through Ages, the Church history has dealt with conflict in one form or another, either from within, and from without. Theological arguments were part of the New Testament Church, and the Council of Nicene laid out some early ground work to help define the boundary lines for future generations. That early church has changed greatly since Constantine. There are large archives, institutions, and libraries on nonconformity records from the Roman Church from across the Ages. These may be better known as Heretical works, the Greek term for "not authorized", or more basically "not one of us". The Church at Rome, and the Church at Constantinople parted company, and divided the Church between them, so division is not a new concept.,/P> Down through Ages, the Church history has dealt with conflict in one form or another from within, and from without. Theological arguments were part of the New Testament Church, and the Council of Nicene laid out some early ground work. religious various theologian, and biblical scholars reading the ancient texts have seen a basic conflict of purpose between these two concepts since the Early Church Fathers. religious various theologian, and biblical scholars reading the ancient texts have seen a basic conflict of purpose between these two concepts since the Early Church Fathers. Some of these scholarly discussions became regular point of discussion, or organized debate from within the Early Church with different camps often expressing support for different theological views. Some of these discussion would led to calls for some internal reforms from within the Church. Sometimes other pressures came from outside the official Church structure, which were often simply considered as an affront of the general authority of the authority of the Roman Church itself. The early English Lollards were one such religious reform movement seeking Church reforms in England. [Editor Note: See English Dissenters: Lollards]. The import consideration may be the historical memory that the Lollards left, and their own efforts at reform in the English Church. The Lollard religious movement gradually died out, but the memory of those pre-Reformation Church reforms may not have? There are some signs of possible lingering Lollard influences into the early Reformation. The impact of the Lollard Movement on the later English Puritans has gained more interest among certain recent scholars.

ÁMany early English Protestants of various persuasions went underground during the reign of Queen Mary I, or would leave England for more Protestant Reformation societies. Some took their Edwardian English Prayer Books with them, or others did not. Many found new homes in the larger communities of Europe, often near religious centers during Mary's Reign (1516-58).

After returning from their post-Reformation Europe, many of the returning English Marian Protestants were dissatisfied with what they found, the Elizabethan Settlement (1558-59) after their stay in Evangelical Europe. Many of the Marian Protestants had some rather basic expectations of the Church of England should reflect a Post Reformation Church not unlike their former European Evangelical congregations were. The national political considerations of keeping a divided Catholic and Protestant nation under a single state church may not have been a major theological consideration. A dual church system of one independent Evangelical church system, and one Catholic and Reformed would have probably have been adequate for many of the returning Marian Protestants! Unfortunately the politics of the Elizabethan Settlement(1558-59) made that impossible for the English Crown.

A Catholic and Reformed Church of England, the State Church, with its Edwardian Church liturgical trappings, and the Book of Common Prayer, and its Episcopal administration were a compromise looking backwards rather than forward to the new Post Reformation ideals to many returning Marian Protestants. The Crown had many reasons to maintain the continuity of the current basic State-Church system, sans the Roman Catholic Church. The Scandinavian State Lutheran Churches were episcopal centralized systems, but these were not the Reformed Church models, but Lutheran models.

These Marian Protestants desired substantial evangelical changes in the Elizabethan Settlement in liturgical and theological consideration especially with regards to its current ":lingering Catholic traditions". Marian Protestants exiles returning from post-Reformation Europe also brought their most recent religious experiences with them, and expressed their own desires for religious reforms to mirror their former congregations, of churches. The Book of Common Prayer, with a State Church, and its Episcopal format of management was not well received by many. Interesting many of the new Elizabethan Bishops reflected a broad theological perspective from Calvinism to the Edwardian Church of Henry VII. Many Marian Protestants were congregationalists, and objected to a State Church

The Elizabethan Church was often referred to as a "the Catholic and Reformed Church of England". Some may have preferred more of the latter and much less of the former, if any. There was varying amounts general support for either positions within the general population. Those remaining Roman Catholic elements within the Elizabethan Church, also had their own issues with the Elizabethan Settlement, including access to a Catholic priests. The term "Priest Hole" would soon come into common usage.

During the early part of Queen Elizabeth's reign ca. 1564, the general term "puritan" was taking on a new meaning. There was an ongoing dispute over the use of vestments in the Elizabethan Church including the surplice, a white linen vestment wore over the cassock. Many clergy used these vestments for the Eucharist and Morning Prayer services. Many reformed protestants had recommending simpler vestments rather than the more traditional vestments that were used in the Edwardian Church that is to say catholic.

Thomas Stapleton [1535-1630], a Catholic in exile, has sometimes been credited as a possible source for the general term Puritan during 1565. Stapleton used the term "Puritan" as a general designation for all English Protestants. This usage did not catch on in conventional circles of the period.

Some Anabaptist in London during the late 1560's would often refer to themselves as Puritans, The "unspotted Lambs of the Lord". References like these only helped to confuse the general issue, and the usage of the term itself during the period.

The term would gradually come to be applied to certain voices of religious dissent within the early Elizabethan Church. They would question certain aspects of the Elizabethan Settlement reforms. The term may have been initially used as a generic form of ridicule against any early dissenters in general rather than directed towards specific individuals, or a specific group of reformers.

Soon after the arrival of the Marian Protestants in 1588, the "early usage" of the term Puritan gradually came to be applied to a certain religious tenor among the early voices of dissent, and for reformers. What these evangelical voice desired was a post-Reformation church. This was basically a religious movement for theological, and religious change.The early religious movement was not initially political movement in nature. That aspect would come latter.

early English puritans were not a single organized early religious sect. In the main they were the loyal communicants of the Church of England expressing their opinions and voicing their concerns regarding certain desired Evangelical reforms in the existing rites of the Book of Common Prayer, and the existing Church episcopal administration.

Who or what constituted a "Puritan" during the early Elizabethan Church is still somewhat vague at best, which lies at the heart of the basic issue of a unified definition. The differences between a member of the Church of England and a communicant Puritan during this period may be somewhat difficult to define. Both might hold many of the same social, and moral values and concerns in common, but might express different opinions on certain reforms to the Church of England. For some of these early Puritans there were certain theological areas that were not open for interpretation in their own interpretations of the what was the true faith.

Various religious, moral, and social values may have been held to those individuals often referred to as Puritans during this period. Specific values may not nor need not be applied equally to all individuals being called "Puritans". Historically the term has had various interpretations at many different levels of Society. English Puritans were represented from the wealth classes to the shop keepers, and to the working classes, even including some supports at Court.

Those referred to as puritans would probably not refer to themselves with the term puritans. They would more than likely have referred to themselves as: godly, professors, or the elect.

Historians as early as the 1580's have suggested that the word "puritan" should be removed from the English dictionary. Thomas Fuller in his work: The Church History of Britain (1655) wanted to banish the word. The only real consensus regarding the use of the term is no consensus. The use of "Puritan" as a collective noun has been argued against by some modern historians.

Some have used the term "religious culture" to describe a certain puritan view of the world. Others have suggested that the puritan may have had a vision of the "New Jerusalem", or the "Shining City on a Hill" for their fellow Man. And some have suggested a "clearer insight into the revealed will of God ... to maintain the true church and true faith". Puritans as with most protestants exhibited a broad spectrum of opinions and values, some may have been more focused than others in those values.

The puritan community was not relegated solely to England during the Seventeenth Century. Scotland had its own puritan community and traditions. Scottish puritans held others underlying values different from their English brothers in many ways.There were Continental Evangelicals that shared many of the same values as the English Puritans did.

Many English Puritans would also migrated to the New World and the American Colonies seeking more religious, and social freedoms during the 1600's. Puritan values in the American Colonies need not necessarily mirror those at home in England during the same period, six thousand miles of ocean has been known to influence attitudes, and the reach of the English Crown. The Church of England did was not the major factor in the early American colonies development as did the early Nonconformists, Separatists, and the Trading Companies.

A very qualified attempt at a rather broad definition of a Puritan:"a member of the Church of England who questioned the progress and rate of internal reforms after the Elizabethan Settlement (1558-59). Most Puritans were Evangelical Christians who rejected the traditions and forms of the Church of Rome, and who had issues with any Churches tainted by those catholic forms.[Editor: This is only suggested as a starting point for additional discussion]. Others individuals of this period within and without the Church of England might also agree with the above qualified definition for themselves. Any attempt at a definition may be controversial at best.

Two rather broad groups within the Puritan community might be identified: 1)those who were seeking to reform various aspects the Church of England from within the community as a post-Reformation Church, sometimes referred to as "Moderate Puritans", and, 2)those who sought to change the structure of the State Church for another Evangelical reformed church structure, i.e. Presbyterianism. There might be wide variations within and between these two broad groups on political,social, moral, and religious issues.

The former group were generally considered more moderate in their approach to the "Catholic and Reformed" Elizabethan Church. Their local parish church were often under a moderate Evangelical Calvinist Bishop, and often with local moderate Calvinistic clergy performing the necessary services. Many prosperous merchants, and merchants often lived outside the larger cities, often in the Upper Class rural areas. These were often practical citizens trying to make an honest living within the System.

with a Many were willing to work within the boundaries of the existing English Church community and its authority. Many sought to extend their own godly view based on the Word of God, and to apply it to all aspects of daily life of their fellow Man. Some felt duty bound to point out the "true faith" against the mere shadow of the true church.

The Moderate Puritan has been identified as a recognized segment within the general English puritan community. These often came from the wealthier growing middle-classes. These puritans were often dedicated Calvinists, who were often reluctant to lend their support to the more radical views and reforms voiced by other. Their "moral life" were often embodied in the religious views.

Some historians have applied the modern designation of "Conformist" to those Evangelical Christians, and clergy willing to keep the peace and work within the system as a goal towards the eventual reform of the Church of England. Many ordained clergy with Calvinistic [Puritan] leanings might be included within this broader designation. Most of these more moderate clergy were passed over during the Canons of 1604, unlike those with more radical leanings.

The latter group have been characterized by many English Bishops of the period as being more hardline in their rhetoric, and their public desire for reform/change the State Church. The general term of Radical Puritanism, or "Presbyterian" has often applied to those with Separatist views. These individuals also desired to change the current English Church for a new national church structure not based on any Roman traditions, or organizational format. As with the Puritan community, there were many different points of view and different levels of reforms, and enthusiasm.

Many English pro-Presbyterian leaning reformers objected to a State Church with its tainted catholic liturgical, and administration forms, and its Book of Common Prayer. A new Church structure reform along the lines of the Geneva Church under John Calvin, or some form of the Scottish Presbyterian Church were desired. There was not a single uniform church administration under Calvinism. There were various formats of Presbyterianism being practiced. This become something of a theological discussion in England over which was the best format, which became a "cause celibe" for a short period of time, and a division withing the ranks. The exercise produced no single standard after much debate.

There was a third category the so-called Separatists, also known as "Radical Puritanism" or "Disillusioned Puritans" who developed during the late 1580's. These individuals would separated themselves from the body of the Church of England and its sacraments, or for their clergy they had failed to comply with existing Church of England statutes, and regulations.

Many of these early Separtists groups such as the Brownists, and Barrowists opted for independent congregations under the control of their own elected ministers. Some historians have problems fitting in the Separatist with the general Puritans, o Conformist, Presbyterian or as part of a related group within a broader Puritan family. [Ed. Note: See English Dissenters Index.]

English Calvinism

The term Calvinism may have been coined by the early Lutherans as a slight against John Calvin. Luther would later have heated debates with the theology of John Calvin. Early Calvinism included some variant theological positions within its community or the early form "The Reformed Church" is one of the three major Protestant Reformation Churches [Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli] coming out of the Lutheran Reformation, which all agreed not to "throw the baby out with the bath water" as a sign of early compromise and tolerance. Calvinism was the more common reference used during the Churches early history. The early Church was influenced by the theological works of John Calvin [1509-1564] and his successors including the major work The Institution of Christian Religion (1536) which was translated into English from the Latin. Calvin would establish Geneva, Switzerland as his home base. Calvinism has also been called the first "Reformed Church". Many Protestants included both Calvinists, Puritans, and others were drawn to his early theology. The Lutheran Church was considered outside the Reformed Church communion and its tradition due to its own theological teaching, and it liturgical values. Luther and Calvin would had many major theological disagreements during their later years.

The term "Reformed Church" refers a later, and somewhat broader theological signature rather just than the early theological works of Calvin, as important as they are. Calvinism would have a major impact on the early English Church theology, and many many moderate evangelical Calvinists clergy, including many Puritans theologians like William Ames (1586-1633), and John Preston (1587-1628). The Elizabethan Church included many moderate Evangelical Calvinists members within its ranks, including clergy, and some of its own Bishops.

Many of the returning Marian Exiles had found temporary evangelical congregations during the reign of Queen Mary I. Geneva, Switzerland with John Calvin (1509-1564). Or with John Knox (1513?-72), an early Scottish Protestant reformer during King Edward VI reign. There was also an active Calvinist congregation in Frankfurt, Germany. These were some of the better known congregations at the time, but did not represent the totality of other other congregations such as in Holland, many of which may not have been limited only to Calvinism. It was possible to be considered as a puritan in Elizabethan England without being a Calvinist. There was also an active Calvinist congregation in Frankfurt, Germany, another popular home for many of the Marian Exiles during the reign of Queen Mary I.

A major tenet of Calvinism was the tenet of Predestination. Very simply put,God had establish a list of those who were predestined or pre-elected souls assigned to a select community of individuals God that would be saved by His grace, and the remainder of those not to elected would not be saved, and go to hates. Only God would know who the Elect were, their status was preordained by anything else that they might do during their lifetime, or not do while on Earth. There are a number of different schools of thought regarding the theology of predestination within Calvinism.

Two forms of predestination were broadly advocated in England Calvinism: Credal and Experimental. The former group did not place an emphasis or distinction between the Elected and the Non-Elected in the broader Christian Church. The latter group generally sought to demonstrate the importance of godly election with pious activity and behavior to the World, and to help the ungodly turn to God by example. Many of this latter group often considered themselves to have been among the "Elect of God" due to their own inherent "good works".

English Calvinism was a unique blend of traditional Calvinism and other English traditional values. Non-puritans might be associated with Credal Predestination, whereas the puritan might be more predisposed to Experimental Predestination. These were issues not considered appropriate for discussion with the laity in the reigns of King James I, and Charles I. These were considered to be academic and scholarly theological issues not appropriate for discussion by any lay members, on sever punishment by the English Church. King James VI/I had personal knowledge of the religious problems that this topic had evoked in Scotland. Unfortunately some groups disregarded the prohibitions.

The Holy Bible was considered the "true Word of God" as the focal point for most Evangelicals of the period. Many Protestants might disagree with the moral and religious values embodied in the Holy Bible that should be the moral standards against which all aspect of ones daily life, and how society should be judged. Unfortunately not everyone might agree on what was the "proper interpretation", this was part of the crux of the Reformation itself.

Many puritans held a fervent desire that all Christians should follow their own godly examples toward a true Christian community of the elect here on Earth. Their godly example were often based on their interpretations of what was contained in the Word of God, and what the meaning. The Bible was a blueprint for the True Faith and a Godly L ife for all to follow. The indwelling of the "Spirit" was a true sign of the Elect for many puritans. But not everyone was always reading from the same page, so to speak.

There was also a strong message being preached of the imminent Second Coming from many pulpits. The Millennium was a powerful message of the period to the Restoration (1660). The religious fervor and zeal of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century may not carry the same weight or imply the same connotations to the modern reader of the 21st Century. Many religious sects during the Interregnum and the Commonwealth saw the "Second Coming" of the Book of Revelations as a time to prepare for the coming of Christ, and to sanctify this corrupted world of the wicked and sinful in anticipation of his arrival. For many of these groups all man made institutions including the British Crown, the Church of England, the government, and society all needed to be purged.

The difference between a Puritan and another Protestant group of the period may only be the intensity of their zeal of their opinions of moral and social reforms, or their basic faith. Small differences or interpretations of belief were often enough to cause major divisions and distrust within groups and between individuals. Some of the period have criticized the Puritan for a lack of tolerance towards others with whom they might have disagreements. Some puritans might see issues in black and white for those who followed the Word, and for those that did not. There was a wide range of moral views and religious values within the English Church, and the general puritan community at large.

Some Puritans might be more literate and educated individuals, often with college educations, or university degrees from Oxford and Cambridge. These might be the more affluent members f the community. Many puritan clergy considered the Church as a true honest vocation, and as a potential forum for education, and broadcasting their own religious values to their congregations. Puritans wanted their own ministers who would teach the faith and preach the Word of God, to their values rather than those clergy that might followed the Book of Common Prayer, and celebrated the "holy mysteries".

Puritans were represented in the new growing middle class of merchants, professional men, businessmen, or landed gentry many were prosperous farmers, and land owners. A growing number of the gentry and the peerage might have puritan leanings or might consider themselves with puritan values.

The Puritan was only one voice among many trying to influence the religious, political, moral and social aspects of the Elizabethan Commonwealth. Large numbers of protestants populated the country. The puritan did not necessarily have a large nationwide presence among the population, actual numbers are hard to come by. Many areas of the nation sometimes referred to as "dark lands" were among the traditional Catholic areas of the country. What the puritan may have lacked in numbers was more than made up for in terms of their vigor, and their political influence in Parliament or at Court, according to some reports.

Other protestants of the period were also seeking their own religious and political reform values and a vision of a new and enlightened Society which might come into conflict with some other puritan values. Many puritans and non-puritans might share many common basic values with each other, and still find areas of intense disagreement.

From 1603 to 1660, the Puritans would also compete for influence with the many new religious and political sects such as the: Quakers, Baptists, Levellers, Fifth Monarchy Men [Ed. Note: See English Dissenters Index.]. A number of these sects did not survive the Restoration (1660). Puritans survived the Restoration (1660) but some of the more radical elements gradually disappeared from England after 1660, especially any those associations are with the death of King Charles I. King Charles II had a long memory, and a long arm to go with it.

Modern historical criticism regarding Puritans has often been criticized by some as being colored by which side of the Atlantic it was written on. American writers have been characterized as being overly sentimental in their view of the Puritan based on the early American Colony Puritan settlements as part of the the Early New England which later became the Early United States of America.

Puritans and the Lollards

Another interesting question is the basic under pinning of what may have contributed to English puritanism in the Sixteenth Century. At its heart may be a basic inconsistency in the Christian Church. There is the Promise of the Good News from the Gospels, and the later institutionalization of the Christian Church as a State Church under the Roman Empire. Two different master, if you will, living side by side, The Word and the Institution. Down through the years various biblical scholars reading the ancient texts saw a mismatch of the message between the two.

Some of these scholarly discussion became regular point of discussion, or debate within the Church with different camps of views. Some of these discussion would led to calls for reforms from within the Church. Some other requests came from without the Church which were usually considered as attacks of the authority of the Church itself, and were usually put down. . The Lollards of England were one such movement. [Editor Note: See English Dissenters:Lollards]. The import consideration is historical memory of the Lollards and their own efforts reform the English Church. The movement would died, but not the memory of reform did not. Many of the came theological arguments were also used by the Puritans scholars.

Puritans and the Edwardian Church 1537-1553

With the death of King Henry VIII (1491-1547) Prince Edward the only son ascended to the English throne as King Edward VI on 28 January 1547. The Church of England was still nominally catholic when he ascended to the Throne at the age of ten years. The Edwardian Church of England was being influenced by aspects of the Lutheran Reformation and Reformed theology. By 1548 efforts well were underway to reform the Church of England to a post-Reformation church. Two active movements were driving the discussions. The more active Evangelical-Reformed Church advocates, and the more moderate traditional church advocates. The latter group included many of the current sitting bishops with Protestant leanings, even including the Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) Archbishop of Canterbury. The Archbishop was married to a Lutheran, and was presumed to have had some Lutheran leanings. As the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cranmer took a major role in overseeing the transition from the Roman to a post-Reformation Edwardian Church. He controlled the general pace of the transaction, to the consternation of some pro-evangelical dispositions. The young kings also seems to taken a keen personal interest in processes was happening with his Church's transitions. The Archbishop was also one of the appointed guardians of the new young king, and may have has a influence in his education, and his understanding of a new Edwardian Church. The young King gave good impressions of the efforts under way.

Many of the Reformed Church advocates complained that the current reforms were taking much too long in getting started, in their opinions. It may have been Cranmer's intentions from the start to gradually advance his reforms to the general populous. In an effort to push their own evangelical reforms efforts along, many of the Reformed Church advocated started to advance their own reforms without any prior Church authorizations. These were sometimes prominent members of the Court, who may have held anti-catholic leanings. Some groups began to remove, or destroy any offending catholic religious element that they may have consider offensive. This of course caused major problems of wanton destruction of existing State and Church property which was still punishable. Effort were put in place to curb the damage, but the Reformed Church advocates were not easily deterred. Archbishop Cranmer, and his supporters, were finally able to get their basic changes made. The Prayer Book of 1549 was revised in 1552 with more Reformed principles incorporated. Some new Reform minded Bishops were being appointed. Unfortunately for the evangelical Reformed Church reformers, King Edward VI died too young in August 1553 which ushered in Queen Mary I, and the return of the hated Roman Catholic Church administration to the post-Reformation Protestants. Thousands of evangelical Protestants escaped to Scotland, and to other Reformed parts of Europe, just hoping for Queen Mary I to die without issue.

Queen Mary I 1553-1558

Queen Mary I was raised as a Catholic by her father King Henry VIII who was excommunicated by that same Catholic Church. The marriage of Henry and her mother Catherine of Arigone was declared invalid in favour of Princess Elizabeth, pending a male heir. During the short reign of her younger brother, King Edward VI, a Post Reformation state church was formed under Archbishop Cranmer with some linger traits of Catholicism. Soon after the new Queen Mary took the throne, she was very methodical in her efforts to erase any remnants of the former post-Reformation Edwardian Church, and its Protestant theology. A number of former Edwardian bishops were tried for crimes against the State and the Church including Archbishop Cranmer who were executed as a heretics, along with a few others. The Queen's agents continued to comb the populous for those of suspected of Protestant leanings. Many prominent Protestant families started to leave England as soon a King Edward VI fell ill, if they had the means, especially those of the Reformed Church dispositions. Not unlike King Henry VIII's former administration, a Catholic State Church was reinstated under the control of the Crown. There were some recent hints that Queen Mary I may have considering many of the same reforms coming from Rome. Some new research has called into question some of the long standing prejudices labelled against the reign of "Bloody" Queen Mary I. Luckily for the many evangelical English protestants, Queen Mary I did die without issue.

Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603)

The daughter of Queen Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife, Elizabeth was raised as a Protestant. Queen Elizabeth I spent most of her long reign building the English Nation, and keeping her throne safe from those within, and those without. There was a great revival of the Arts during her reign. Her basic religious policy was keeping the State Church and its bishops strong and to keep the many dissents and the non-conformists under control. She was not afraid to use her authority, or power when, and where necessary. The impact of the early Marian Protestants on the early Elizabethan Church has been called into questioned? The Queen's constant vigilance and her constant desire to maintain her throne unfortunately colored certain aspects of her reign.

The Elizabethan Settlement (1558-59)

[[Ed. Note: The Elizabethan Settlement is a major historical event that is outside the general scope of this review. We will try to give a brief overview. Please consult the General Bibliography for additional sources.]

With the death of Queen Mary I in 1559, without any recognized legal issue, Princesses Elizabeth Tudor became Queen Elizabeth I, Chairman of the Board, and CEO of the House of Tudor of England, for good or ill. After all the legal wherewith all, and the Coronation Rites, Queen Elizabeth I took up her new residence on the late throne of Queen Mary I of England. Queen Elizabeth I had inherited the House of Tudor from Queen Mary I, and the new Queen Elizabeth began to consider any appropriate re-decorations that she might be in order in how she viewed England.

Elizabeth was now saddled with the current working administration of Tudor England under Queen Mary, which was still in place, and still operational, with all of those consequences. The question of War with France, foreign and domestic affairs, the military, government agencies, new appointments of new advisers to the Crown, the courts, Parliament, the Royal estates, etc., now required her attention, and her signature. And the not too small question of the current Catholic run State Church were matters for some consideration. As Shakespeare wrote, "Heavy is the Head that wears the Crown". Luckily for England, Queen Elizabeth was a cultured, well educated woman, and the daughter of her mother Queen Anne Boleyn and who understood the reigns of power, and their limitations. Queen Elizabeth would need to place her stamp of approval on what to keep, what to do away with, and what she wanted to change, or improve to put her personality on the new government, hopefully all for the better!

The present condition of a State Catholic Church were of major concern to the Crown. Queen Elizabeth was also concerned with some of the legal language still on certain books, codes and laws under Queen Mary I, since 1553 which needed to be addressed. A number of new important Acts were now required by for signature by all for current government service officials, and legal requirement to hold those positions. And the consequences of not following the Act. There was still a very large, wealthy, and influential Catholic population in England. Some new legal aspects of how the State would be governed, and would operate were also addressed. In some ways you can see a certain level of modernization, and simplification in process.

There were also the remains of former Edwardian Church congregations that did not leave England, who had to be considered initially. Some form of accommodation was necessary for both sides of the question to be willing to sit at the same table together. An accommodation for a new "Catholic and Reformed Church of England" was arrived at with more theological diversity among the list of bishops in 1560. Many Catholic clergy were asked to stay, and most officially returned home. Certain wealthy families in the North often had private chapels, of even manorial churches who kept family clergy on staff. Interesting enough, the Marian Protestants generally returned back to England after the Elizabethan Settlement (1558-59). Some of these often found the terms of the Settlement somewhat lacking in certain areas without their prior input.

Princess Elizabeth had been raised as a Protestant by her mother, she knew the Edwardian Church, The Book of Common Prayer, and was familiar with the reform efforts of former Archbishop Cranmer. Elizabeth was personally uncomfortable with certain aspects of the Roman Catholic Church, but was also concerned with the potential political and foreign affairs consequences of a return to a former quasi-Edwardian Church format. During 1559, a decision was made, and the current seating Catholic bishops were replaced before 1560. They would be gradually replaced with a broad group of theological diversity, including former Edwardian ministers. Catholic clergy were asked to stay in England, but most would officially leave overtime, except for a few who resided in a few wealthy Catholic manors, which were somehow often overlooked?

The current Roman Catholic Church population were rather uneasy about a potential quasi-Edwardian State Church structure. The Elizabethan Settlement (1558-59) was a major historical compromise negotiated by Queen Elizabeth between various religious and political groups within her own Court, the Church of England, the wealthy upper classes, and the conservative peers, and a large The Queen christened the new enterprise the "Catholic and Reformed Church of England" which both sides had various issues with. The Queen needed to forge a middle course acceptable to these various groups on political and religious values. And there was the matters of State and its foreign relations with France and Spain both powerful Catholic nations to be taken into consideration.

Some have used the term "normalcy" to describe the desired goal of the Elizabethan Church. The Queen wanted to maintain a basic fabric of continuity within the present State Church of England, that the majority of the population would find comforting and acceptable to them. A standard would be established for all parishes to follow and to comply with the Book of Common Prayer. Those who did not openly comply with the local parish attendance requirements Church might find Church authorities at their door. How a family conducted their private families beliefs were conducted within their own homes was not a real concern to the Church authorities, unless those practices became an issue of public concern.

The Act of Supremacy(1559) was a revision of the earlier Henrician dictum that the Monarch was now the "only supreme Head of this realm", and that the Queen was responsible for "the welfare of the Church". An oath of obedience to the Crown in things temporal and religious was required of by various officials both religious and public office holders.

The Act of Uniformity (1559) repealed the previous Marian Act of Uniformity. The new Act re-applied the standards of the earlier forms of worship established under King Henry VIII. The Edwardian Act of 1552 and the liturgical standards and rites under the revised Book of Common Prayer (1552) were also re-applied to the current Church of England.

The new revised Book of Common Prayer(1559) would become the only approved manual for all religious services and rites in the Church of England. Much of the earlier Edwardian Church legacy was incorporated into the new revised Prayer Book as a familiar compromise format between catholic and reformed theology views. "In an orderly and decent manner" would become the standard to be judged. Many reformed minded Marian Exile, Evangelical Protestants, had strongly held objections to those rites and ceremonies tainted by the theological traditions of the Church of Rome. Many returning Evangelical Protestants envisioned a modern post-Reformation Church and theology in a new Elizabethan Church. What many wanted, and what they received under the reforms of the Elizabethan Church, were somewhat wanting by many hopeful reformers.

Noncompliance to the new Church statutes by laity or clergy alike would bring reprisals, lost of current position, or future positions, fines, jail and or possible prison time. The Crown had the will and the resources to help keep the dissidents, and nonconformity in check, or would force them to find safety in other sanctuaries. Both catholic and protestant views were policed equally for compliance to the new laws. All would comply or face the consequences of their actions.

The following reforms would become reoccurring issues of concern for many reformed protestants including many puritans: 1)the separation from the corrupting nature of the Roman Church, and its traditions; 2) progress towards a more Reformed Church and theology; 3) greater simplified forms of worship; 4) more emphasis on the literal Bible, and preaching; 5) proper observance of the Sabbath; 6) an emphasis on the simpler virtues of life. Some of these same issues could be raised by other non-puritan groups also.

Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury (1559-1575)

Matthew Parker (1504-75). He was born in Norwich, and attended Corpus Christie College, Cambridge where is earned a B.A. (1525), M.A. (1528), and D.D. (1541). He was a Chaplin to Henry VIII, and to Queen Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth's mother. He was deprived under Queen Mary, was able to led a quite life. He reluctantly accepted the Archbishop of Canterbury (1559-75). He was involved with the compilation of the Thirty-Nine Articles (1563), and with the Bishop's Bible (1568), a new translation of the English Bible under the Archbishop. Parker was known as a moderate, tolerant churchman and a scholarly writer. He was not overly active as an administrator, or part of the Queens inner circle. He did not seem to support the aims of the puritan cause, but he did support the more traditional values of the prior Edwardian Church.

The period after the Elizabethan Settlement (1558-59) saw the beginnings of grumbling among many English protestants. Many had anticipated additional reforms and changes in the Church of England. Queen Elizabeth was not anticipating any additional changes just conformity with current Elizabethan Settlement and its statutes. Archbishop Parker was a firm supporter of the Queen's goals, and may not have held Reformed views. He did set a good example for the clergy of the day.

The Vestiarian Controversy

Liturgical vestments were traditional in the Early Church, and Roman Church, and the Edwardian Church. They were re-introduced into the Church of England in 1559 based on the earlier Edwardian Church traditions. Many of the English Reformed laity in the Elizabethan Church considered the use of clerical and liturgical vestments worn in and out of Church to be too overtly Roman Catholic in outward appearance for a Reformed Church, and outside of it.

The Vestiarian Controversy of the 1560's became a growing concern for many within the English Church. The issue of liturgical and domestic vestments had already been debated in certain reformed protestant churches in Europe without any resolution. Many reformed clergy in Europe often adopted simpler forms of vestments than often used in England. Other Protestant traditions keep many of the same traditional forms of vestments, such as the Lutherans. In some traditions of use of specific forms were often considered somewhat optional.

Matthew Parker (1559-1575), as the Archbishop of Canterbury issued his Interpretation of 1560 on the recommended use of the cope and surplice during the celebration the Eucharist. These regulations were questioned in 1564 by many returning of the Marian Exiles as too catholic. Some thirty-seven London clergy were initially deprived after refusing to comply with the new regulations, but later reinstated. Compromises were often made for those parish churches outside the larger metropolitan areas. Some local bishops were somewhat ambivalent in their own enforcement of these same regulations in the rural areas.

The early Vestiarian Controversy of the 1560's within the Church of England may have been one of the early initial liturgical issues that helped to raise a general level of conscience among the Protestant laity that formed the basis for the new label known as "puritan" ca. 1564. Who exactly were these initial voices for that designation still uncertain, but the generic label stuck and its uncertain usage continued, and expanded over time.

Adiaphorastic Areas

Some issues of early disagreement between the English Church and the Reformed laity were referred to as adiaphorastic , or "in their own nature were indifferent" in scripture. Some issues were argued based on biblical authority for, or against it. If something was not mentioned in the Holy Bible, its value and authority might be called into question lacking authority. Item that were mentioned but not considered necessary might also be ignored as "indifferent" some sought to use the negative argument as a positive vehicle to remove offending items which they found contrary to their own values or belief systems. The Bible mentions the use of music and singing, but some object to congregational singing, or the use of the organ; or even clapping in church.

Some of these adiaphorastic areas might included: clerical dress and vestments; kneeling for prayer or for communion; the use of the sign of the cross; use of the baptismal font; the use of altar rails; the placement of and the composition of an altar (or Holy Table); the use of the organ, and of non-congregational singing; women wearing a head cover while in church; where the baptismal font is to be located; the use of incense in church. Many of these same items can be a reflection of long held tradition in certain parish church over time that are passed on to later generations.

Many of these areas reflected a certain bias against certain Catholic traditions that was found objectionable among many post-Reformation Protestants also including some Puritans. The Elizabethan Convocation of 1563, a conference of Church officials, had come close to resolving a number of these issues but it produced no lasting resolution.

Some of the quote offending adiaphorastic areas being voiced by some within the Church of England may have been already in practiced in certain other Protestant congregations and churches in Europe. Some of these same practices allowed in Europe were still considered offensive by many in the English Puritan community. European Reformed clergy often criticized their English Reformed brothers for not being more tolerant in their attitudes, and for being too narrow in their views, some English Puritans of the period took exceptions to these comments.

Lectureships 1560-1570

In the early 1560's there was a growing concern within the Elizabethan Church of non-sanctioned Church preaching outside of the local Church pulpit. Certain segments of the Reformed Church were not content with the message from their local parish pulpits which were often pre-approved. Those with a particular theological point of view often sought out local area preachers with the "right message" that they might not find in their own parish church. Such venues were often posted, and sometime with a fee. Traditionally this became a common occurrence event after church services on any Sunday. A whole family might travel some distance to attend such an event for the right message. Many evangelical Protestants including various Puritan groups were often engaged in these activities on the Sabbath. The Church would issues laws for the Sabbath placing restrictions on leaving the boundaries of their local parish after Church Services. Over time the Crown put more pressure on the local Bishops, who added more agents to monitor the activity levels. Finally a legal statue would restrict the to similar events outside of their local parch boundaries with some teeth in them.

Queen Elizabeth had expressed her own personal concerns of a growing amount of what she considered as unregulated preaching that was now available at certain forms of Church Meetings venues where various preachers, either paid or unpaid might give sermons on certain theological matter, of questionable religious value, or contrary to current Church teachings. The local Bishop controlled access to the parish pulpit, and the issuance of valid preaching licenses to authorized individuals. An authorized preaching licenses did this always guarantee the contents of the message, only the permission. The Queen for her part was just as concerned about unregulated or unauthorized preaching of potentially unfavorable opinions concerning the Crown or the Church at large. Parish preaching was well regulated by the Church authorities, or often reduced to the reading of written per-authorized homilies issued by the church for the Seasonal message.

The Lectureships were employed to circumvent these same requirements. Non-Church groups such as a local parish, individual groups, or even local towns might engage, or sponsor the services of these individuals, or groups of preacher after Church services, or during the week in a prearranged location to spread the Word of God and the proper values that they wanted to promote. Since these were not official church activities, they did not fall under the church statutes. The practice continued into the 1570's. Local Church agents might also attend these functions to monitor the contents of the message, and the individual preachers. Some of the more radical elements of the Reformed Church such as some of the the Puritans, and other were common draws to these types of events.

Thirty-Nine Articles (1563)

The Thirty-Nine Articles (1563) were formulated under Archbishop Parker according to the directives of Queen Elizabeth I. They were an attempt to summarize various doctrinal formulae in rather broad and somewhat ambiguous language. The Articles were only issued officially until 1571 after the Queen had been officially excommunicated by the Church of Rome.

The Articles were not being put forth as formal Church doctrines, but rather as a mixture of catholic and the reformed protestant theology that might be referred to for some personal insight. The Queen wanted the Articles to be intentionally vague and to cause uncertainty among certain religious groups within the Church. Additional articles on the Sovereign and civil powers were added for the nonconformists. The clergy were required to subscribe to these articles. There were many cries of protests from many on the protestant right over the content of the articles.

Thomas Cartwright at Cambridge University 1569-1571

During 1569-1571,Cambridge University became something of a focal point of some theological controversy. A form of neo-Calvinism was being lectured on at Cambridge under Dr. Thomas Cartwright (1553-1603), a prominent puritan theologian, and a professor of theology, on the New Testament more specifically The Acts of the Apostles. The lectures became very famous at the time, and many universiity members flocked to hear them

Thomas Cartwright and his department conducted lecture on the history of the New Testament Church from the Acts of the Apostles. Their thesis was that the New Testament churches had been organized, and functioned at the congregational level. Cartwright was advocating that the true church administration and structure should be based on a model structured similar to that of John Calvin's Church in Geneva (Switzerland) which is what most Presbyterians would probably endorse.

The Lectures became so famous that they came to the notice of the Queen herself. Being somewhat concerned, she sought the opinions of her advisers. Basically her advisers questioned the theological interpretations regarding the Acts of the Apostles. Professor Cartwright was deprived of his fellowship, his job, and his association, in 1571, and left the University. He made his way to Geneva, Switzerland. He returned to England a few years later. The impact of these lectures on Presbyterianism and Separatism in Elizabethan England has been argued by historians over the years.

Prophesyings 1570-77

Prophesying were educational and instructional meetings where the techniques of preaching were taught and discussed. Prophesying were supported in practice by the Church to improve the quality of it clergy. Many local bishops saw the long term benefits of training qualified preachers and supported the general practice. Many saw Prophesying as growing out of the earlier influences of the Lectureships and their desire to educate.

Both Puritan and non-puritan clergy might attend periodic public gatherings to study and expound on the Scriptures. They provided a form of "religious education" for the laity. Even when supported by local bishops these meetings became a source of possible concern for Queen Elizabeth as potential sources of unregulated Church doctrine, and even spreading potential political controversy outside of the control of the Church. Gradually over time the local Bishops closed them down much like the Lectureships.

The Saint Batholomew's Day Massacre (August 1572)

The Huguenots were Calvinist Reformation Protestants who had escaped to France after seeking asylum from persecution in their homeland as non-catholics. The Huguenots found a corner of France where they were tolerated, and welcomed. Unfortunately, certain anti-Reformation sentiments often ran high in the French Court, and the French Catholic Church. French religious wars with the Huguenots, and the French Crown became something of a staple of the period, sometimes with military assistance from Rome. It would appear that members of the French Court led by the Queen seem to have planned an action against the French Huguenot community to which the King would reluctantly acquested. On 24 August 1572, The Feast of St. Bartholomew, that French Huguenot citizens of Paris were summarily murdered and killed in their homes under order from the French Court. It was reported at the time that from 5,000 to 10,000 citizens were killed, the figures are still disputed, that French Huguenots Protestants were massacred by French police, and local gangs of Catholic French citizens. Under the cover of the local mayhem and killing , friends of the Duke of Guise, a political rival, stormed the home of Admiral Gaspard II de Coligny (1519-1572), a prominent French hero, and a friend of the Huguenot French community was brutally murdered and the body desecrated to which the King did not give his sanction. The wholesale killing of thousands of French Protestants had a major impact throughout Europe for both Catholics and Protestant communities. The French Crown, and the French Church were condemned roundly. The Edit of Nantes ( ) was signed giving the French Huguenots guaranteed religious freedom and protections from persecutions by the French Crown. There was a major condemnation of the French Catholic Church, and the French. There was a general decline of hostilities in France during 1552-1585 when the Edit of Toleration was rescinded, and conditions heated up again. There had been some immigrations of French Huguenots into England seaport communities since the time of Henry VIII. Huguenots refugees into England were also not uncommon under Elizabeth I when special Churches were established for various Contential Protestant immigrant artesian population as in London. James I had helped to continue to established various Huguenots Churches in a number of English communities including Canterbury of a number of years.

Admonition Controversy 1572-75

The Admonition to the Parliament (1572) was a published document written by John Field, and John Wilcoxthe titular head of the Presbyterian movement to replace the current Church structure, and its English Bishops with a new Presbyterian Church administration. Field voices the concerns of not having a National State Church with an Episcopal administration, and a Monarch. His manifesto went over like a lead balloon from Queen Elizabeth. It did express some growing discontent among a certain elements within the Elizabeth Church for more radical reforms.

The period from 1566-1572 was a period of growing discontent over the continued use of Book of Common Prayer (1559) with its lingering catholic traditions for many Reformed Protestants. There were no included provisions for, or options in the the Prayer Book for any non-standard or local practices at the local parish level. Many Reformed leaning parishes began to request the use of non-standardized rites and ceremonies from their own local bishops, which was not permitted. There was a regular growing sentiment of disrespect for the Church of England and its local Bishops. The Book of Common Prayer did not support the theological needs of many Reformed leaning local parish churches which was why the Book of Common Prayer was being used by the Church of England, and not the used of the Reform Church of John Calvin. In some of the rural parts of England the local parish church was often administered by a Reformed Bishop, under a local Reformed leaning clergyman in a pro-Calvanist Congregation. Some local congregations even sought to take total local control at the parish level from the local Bishop, or clergy if they could.

There was an underlying criticism of the authority of the bishops and the structure of the Elizabethan Church to suppress dissent when ever possible. Attempts for changes were attempted, the Queen saw to their eventual failure. Many were beginning to feel that attempts at internal reforms within the Church structure were mute, and that change was only possible if the power structure of Parliament might changed too. Many now looked to the House of Commons as a new venue for potential political and religious changes.

In 1570, Queen Elizabeth was excommunicated by the Pope. A number of prominent reformed protestants and puritans broached the Queen for new moderate Church reforms hoping that politics would not now be an issue for the Queen on Church reforms to the Elizabethan Settlement. The Articles of Religion (1563) were now issued officially in 1571 to cries of protests.

The Alphabet Bills (1572) introduced in Parliament were supported by the Church administration to help redress certain issues with local clergy. Pro-puritan MP's yoked certain radical sections into the legislation that would have permitted changes to the Book of Common Prayer(1559) and the Church of England. Queen Elizabeth had the Bill vetoed in the House of Commons for trying to legislate religious policy.

What became known as the Admonition Controversy was an important discussions on reforms that were being requested by puritans and those with similar leanings. The writings that came out of this discussion would help outline the first general statements of puritan theology for many years.

Important puritan writers such as Thomas Cartwright (1535-1603) carried on extended conversations with Church officials such as Archbishop Whitgift. The controversy started with two companion pieces written by John Wilcox and John Field in 1572.

John Wilcox, a puritan, wrote Admonition of Parliament (1572) which argued against the authority of the bishop in the Church of England. He attacked the current reception of the Sacrament while kneeling, the admission of catholics to communion, and argued for the reinstatement of excommunication in the Church. Wilcox was reasoned and careful in his arguments.

John Field (1545-88) was a well known puritan of the period. As a minister he run afoul of Archbishop Whitgift in 1571. Whitgift was a staunch Calvinist for predestination. Whitgift has his issues with those that attached the Church administration with himself as the titular head He had been conditionally willing to subscribe to the Thirty Nine Articles, and to the Book of Common Prayer(1559), but not willing to wear the surplice during church services. It was for the latter that he lost his Preaching License for eight years (1571-79). He became one of the major radical puritan voices and organizers against the Elizabethan Church and the authority of its bishops.

Unlike Wilcox's more moderate rhetoric, John Field openly attacked the Church of England as "popish", and referred to the Bishops as ungodly in his companion publication View of Popish Abuses yet Remaining in the English Church (1572). The crass language and the vinegary of his message guaranteed little, if any possible support from the general public at large for his work. There may have been a small minority that supported this position.

There was a general criticism against Field's work. His work was criticized by many well known puritans of the day. John Foxe (1516-1587), a noted puritan, and Thomas Lever (1521-1577) a noted puritan preacher and Archdeacon of Coventry both openly criticized Field's work. Thomas Cartwright, Cambridge theologian, even distanced himself from the work, and the criticis. Both Wilcox and Field were sentenced to a year of prison under the Act of Uniformity (1662).

The Second Admonition to the Parliament (1572) has been ascribed to Thomas Cartwright, a noted puritan theologian. It was a basic defense of the earlier work by Wilson. A warrant was soon issued for Cartwright who promptly left the country.

Archbishop Whitgift (1530?-1604) answered Cartwright in, An Answere to a certain libel entituled an Admonition to the Parliament(1572). Penned by the Archbishop, he supported the authority and traditions of the Church, and its bishops. Whitgift included his own theological support for Credal Predestination in the English Church which was contrary to the general puritan position. He followed this up with: The Defense of the aunswere to the admonition, against the replie of T.C. (1574).

Cartwright carried on a running conversation on the topic until 1577: A reply to answere made M Dr Whitgift agayste the Admonition to Parliament (1574); The second replie to T. C. against Master Doctor Whitgift's second answer, touching the church discipline (1575); The rest of the second replie ... (1577).

The First general statement of Puritan Beliefs and doctrines came out of the extended exchange. These statements became the central core of Puritan concerns for the next generation.

Edmund Grindal, Archbishop of Canterbury 1576-83

Edmund Grindal (1519?-1583) was known for his staunch treatment of Catholics, but he was also known to have puritan leanings. He had been a Chaplin to King Edward VI, he fled the reign of Queen Mary to Frankfurt, Germany. On returning to England he was made Bishop of London (1559-70), he was translated to Archbishop of York (1570-76) to deal with catholicism in the North. He became the Archbishop of Canterbury (1576-83) on Parker's death. Grindal was seen as a possible facilitator between the Church and the conservative protestant community.

In 1576 Grindal as Archbishop was instructed by the Queen to shut down a number of the Prophesyings meetings, and to discourage preaching lectures. Being in sympathy with their cause, Grindal was unwilling to comply with the Queens initial instructions. Other bishops and clergy were also divided in their own opinions on the matter. Grindal recommended placing the Prophesyings under the authority of the Church, but this was rejected.

In a famous Letter (20 Dec. 1576), Grindal rather undiplomatically expressed his own opinions on the matter to the Queen, and suggested that she might respect the authority of her own bishops in these religious matters, she was not amused. From 1577-1583, most of Grindal's official authority was rescinded by the Queen as much as possible. Unable to replace Grindal as the current Archbishop of Canterbury, he became a lame duck administratively during the remainder of his life except for his religius duties as stipulated under Church Law. Agents for the Queens would finished shutting down the remaining Prophesying facilities in 1577. Grindal would become blind during the last few years of his life. Some have suggested that Grindal's appointment to the See of Canterbury might have been considered as an unfortunate mistake at Court.

John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury 1583-1604

John Whitgift (1530?-1604) was a moderate Calvinist. He had spoken out against Thomas Cartwright, as the Lady Margaret Professor at Cambridge, a position which Whitgift had previously held in 1563. Whitgift was the Dean of Lincoln Cathedral (1571), and Bishop of Worcester (1577), and as Archbishop of Canterbury (1583-1604).

Whitgift unlike this predecessor Archbishop Grindal (1576-83),he was outspoken in his anti-puritan views, and for his support of Queen Elizabeth. Whitgift was not one to look the other way, or to give a little slack in the enforcement of statutes especially with regards to puritans.

Whitgift introduced his Six Articles of 1583 to all clergy in his dioceses. Some three hundred clergy were suspended for their failure to fully subscribe, but most were later re-instated by outside pressures from the Privy Council. Uniformity and authority were major issues of concern for Archbishop Whitgift especially for any suspected of nonconformity be they either catholic or puritan.

The 1580's saw the rise of the English Separatist. Among the early groups were the Brownists and the Barrowist. The Church had agents who activity sought out foreign sects and nonconformity where they could find it, now they were seeking out domestic nonconformity. Some of these new English sects went underground while others left England for the religious freedom and safety of Europe. Holland was an especially popular destination for its religious tolerance under the Dutch Reformed Church. Many English sects might find pre-existing brethren already residing in safety in Holland.

Whitgift was diligent in his pursuit of dissidents wherever they could be found. His agents were known to have hunted down the noted English Separatists: Henry Barrow (1550?-1593), John Greenwood (d.1593), and John Penry (1559-1593). All noted Barrowists, they were martyred in 1593 on charges of seditious writings and stirring up rebellion. They all pleaded innocent to the charge of "intent" in the statutes. There were allegations of illegal procedures used by the Church authorities in the pursuit of these own ends. Both Barrow and Penry were alleged to have been possible authors of the notorious Marprelate Tracts. [Ed. Note: See English Dissenters:Barrowist for more details.]

Classical Movement 1580-90

The Classical Movement (1580-1590) was an administrative form of Presbyterianism that was organized in secret within the Church of England. Various Puritan ministers set up local chapters to express their own concerns on various religious matters. These were than report to a larger city or county chapters, and ultimately to some type of national council for consideration.

By 1580 the organization was already operational, John Field, a radical puritan, was one of its early leaders. The organization collapsed in 1591 based on information gathered from links with the Marprelate Tracts (1587-89) publication to those clergy that were involved with the Classical Movement.

The extent of the operations of this group, and its impact on puritans or Presbyterianism in England is hard to judge since we know little of what they did with the information. Some have suggested it may have accomplished more in the minds of the government that it did in deed. The institution may have even helped the discussion of issues within the puritan community rather than create controversy.

The ring leaders including Thomas Cartwright were arrested in 1591. They were questioned by the Star Chamber, which was usually reserved for traitors. Cartwright was freed in 1592.

Thomas Cartwright (1535-1603) and some other Presbyterian supporters were discredited over a incident about a certain individual, a Mr. William Hackett (d.1591), whom they had declared to be the Messiah. Presbyterianism in England was at a low ebb.

The abortive Classical Movement (1580-90) had failed to establish a meaningful structure within the Church of England. The actual numbers of clergy holding pro-Presbyterian views were relatively small during this period. The laity were the active voices of reform and change within the Church, not its clergy. Many lay puritans deciding to turn their attentions to a new and larger arena outside the control of the Church to Parliament itself.

The Parliamentary Elections of 1584 were targeted by John Fields and other puritans as a test case to influence the election of pro-puritan and Presbyterian members for the House of Commons. The results fell short of their hoped for expectations. Attempts were made again in the 1586-87 Elections which did see an increase in pro-puritan members, but not Presbyterian.

A Bill was introduced in Parliament in 1584 to establish a national Presbyterian church system in England by Dr. Peter Turner, MP, which failed. A Bill was introduced in Parliament in February 1587 by Anthony Cope, MP to replace the Book of Common Prayer with theGeneva Prayer Book, and a Presbyterian church administration was vetoed. Members of the House of Commons might listen to complaints against the Church, but it was not a friend of Presbyterianism during this period.

Church Discipline (1587) a scholarly treatise on Presbyterianism by Walter Travers. Travers sought to produce the final word on Presbyterianism. Unfortunately the work failed to set any standards or resolve all of the issues. It only created more tensions and raised more questions than producing any real answers or forming any real consensus of opinion within the English Presbyterian community.

Support for Presbyterianism had begun decline in Parliament in the late 1580's. By 1590 a number of the important protestant patrons at Court had died: Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester(1532-1588; Sir Walter Mildmay (1520?-1589); and Sir Francis Walsingham(1532-1590).

Marprelate Tracts 1587-89

During 1587-1589, seven religious tracts were written under the pseudonym of Martin Marprelate attacking the institution of the Church of England and its clergy. These pro-puritan tracts criticized the conditions in the Church of England and its clergy from their perspectives, and were not above a certain amount of satire for good measure. Rather than generating the desired public support, the tracts only seemed to inflame the general public sentiment against the tracts and its puritan rhetoric. Not all puritans supported the tenor of the tracts but many might agree with the underlying issues addressed although poorly formed.

The Church and Crown made it a high priority in finding the unknown author(s) of these works and tracking them down. A number of possible suspects authors were questioned including Job Throckmorton, Robert Walegrave, and John Penry but not charged. The noted radical Barrowist writer, Henry Barrow (1550?-1593) was also suspected as a possible author. Barrow was later thrown into prison for many years, and later hanged for his writings. The true identity of Marprelate was not proven until the mid-20th century. Interestingly enough it had been Throckmorton (author), Walegrave (printer), and Penry (agent) as the principals responsible in large part for the publication and distribution of the Tracts. Some of the tracts had multiple contributors.

Richard Hooker's major work Of the Law of Ecclesiastical Policy (1593) was a major defense of the Elizabethan Settlement. It supported an historical legacy of the Church of England as a product of its liturgy, episcopal structure and traditions. The work contributed to the theological basis for what would later be more commonly referred to as Anglican theology. Archbishop Bancroft (1604-10) openly supported its basic message against puritanism and Calvinism. This work would again impact another Archbishop William Laud some thirty years later.

The House of Stuart

King James I (1603-1625)

With the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, the House of Stuart was confirmed as the rightful successors to the Throne of the House of Tudor. Under King James I of England or James the Fourth of Scotland both Scotland and England were now united under a single monarch. This also added to the complexity of running the new Nation.

Many of the same general political, and religious policies enacted under Elizabeth I were to be continued in place by King James I. The authority of the Crown and compliance to the authority of the Jacobean Church were key elements of national policy for the new King.

All Radicals and nonconformist groups within the State would continue to conform to the current existing laws in force. "In an orderly and decent manner" were still valid sentiments for the new monarch. Conformity with the current rites of the English Church, the Book of Common Prayer (1559) and subscription to the Thirty Nine Articles were still the norms to be followed. The King could be tolerant but he sought uniformity and order wherever possible. King James may have enjoyed the pomp and circumstance of the English Court, and the support of the Church of England, but he was still a realist politician in philosophy.

King James I pursued two basic religious programs during his reign: 1) maintain the ceremonial conformity of the Book of Common Prayer; and, 2) to reduce the radical religious nonconformity elements in Society, the puritans ranked high on his list, along with the Separatists movement. To a certain extend the King James had some successes in his goals, but maybe not as much as he had wished for?

The King would see himself in the role as a champion of Protestantism in Western Europe, against the Counter-Reformation efforts of the Roman Catholic Church. He hoped to facilitate moderate views among the warring factions and monarchs of Europe. His good intentions aside, the King had little tangible success in these directions. The successes of his own reign is still open to criticism by many scholars.

The Millenary Petition 1603

The Millenary Petition (1603), a proposal signed by one thousand English clergy. It was basically a Xmas List of requested Puritan/Evangelical reforms for the Church of England. The document had been compiled by a number of divines including Thomas Cartwright (1553-1603), D.D. Cambridge University and other other respected puritan scholars. It was presented to the new King on his way to his Coronation Investment Rite at London. The King agreed to discuss the document, and their list requests after his Coronation. Unfortunately, Dr. Thomas Cartwright, arguably one of the the most gifted and learned puritan theologians of the Sixteenth Century, died before the assembly with the new king in person. /font>

Hampton Court Conference (1604)

The Hampton Court Conference (1604) was called on 14 January 1604 to discussed the Millenary Petition (1603) presented to the new King. A delegation of puritan representatives and Church divines met to discussed their positions before the new King. The King had come to listen to the Reformed scholars and their requests, and to hear their defense of their religious positions. The King has said that he would keep and open mind, and he might be favorable to some concessions that he might consider workable.

They meet in a large hall with a panel Reformed theologians on one side , and a panel a Church divines of the other side. Maybe one of the best religious conference in British history? To the general surprise to many in the hall, the King was an active participant in the discussions and was well versed on the theological and political issues involved with the Millenary Petition (1603). Many of the Church divines including the elderly Archbishop Whitgift were not well disposed to the puritan arguments, and generally argued against their positions which might have impacted their own authority. Some in the puritan delegation presented reasonable arguments for certain changes that may not have been too radical to discuss. Unfortunately for those on the Reformed side some unfortunate statements were directed at King James I which they had presumed on the nature of the authority of the King.

Some members of the puritan delegation were predisposed to the general opinion that since the new King having come from a Presbyterian Scotland would be inclined to readily accept many of their same policies that were already in place in Scotland. The King's experiences with his own Scottish Presbyterians countrymen, only helped to heighten his own personal concerns of what some of these same English puritans might want later if they had some of that same authority. In the end, the King chose to maintain the current basic status quo of the Church of England.

The King was very concerned about a national Church of England not under the control of the Crown. The "No Bishops, No King" was the Kings' mantra. The monarchy and the episcopacy were still a necessary partnership for true religion and the punishment of sin in England.

Among the very few concessions that were granted by the King James at the Hampton Court Conference was the requested Church commission for a new English translation of the Holy Bible. The Authorized Version (1611), the jewel of the English language, or later known as the King James Version of the Bible, is one of the great achievements of the English Language. The puritans for their part wanted a new English translation of the Bible. The Reformed Protestants wanted and English Bible to read and study. This simple request has been one of the major social and cultural events in English History, all from a Hampton Court Conference, and a simple request.

Under King James I(1603-1625), Catholics and the radical protestants found little support at Court for their own religious reforms, especially the pro-Presbyterian faction. The King would pursue a moderate "middle ground" policy within the Jacobean Church. Radicals fractions and Catholic clergy or laity would be marginalizes, and the moderates would be generally welcomed.

Even Catholics were approached for inclusion by the new King. The Treaty of London (1604) ushered in a new peace with Spain. The King needed to keep the English Catholics close and to keep them happy.

Canons of 1604

Following the Hampton Court Conference (1604), the Church issued The Book of Canons, or more commonly referred to as the Canons of 1604. The Canons of 1604 were compiled in Latin by than Richard Bancroft, Bishop of London (1597-1604). This was a codification of some one hundred and forty-four Church statutes dating from King Henry VIII to Elizabeth I. It was an attempt to document and codify past Church practices and laws under a new single central unified code. All clergy and bishops were required to subscribe to the Canon of 1604, or leave the Church.

The Canons of 1604 became a code of conduct for all clergy to follow on Church policies and practices including Divine Services and the sacraments. Some of the tatutes and procedures were directed at the rising tide of puritan nonconformity, and a desire to conform with the policies of the past. Even Archbishop Whitgift's Three Articles (1583) were added to the Canon.

Cries of protest came from many in the protestants community including puritans. Some two hundred clergy would finally refuse to subscribe to the new statues. A number of churchmen left the Church rather than following the 1604 Canons subscriptions on conscience. Many of these rejected clergymen would become quite prominent individuals in the growing Separatist movement in England.

Richard Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury 1604-1610

Richard Bancroft(1544-1610), as Bishop of London (1597-1610) he exercised a great deal of authority during Archbishop Whitgift's declining years. Bancroft compiled the Canons of 1604. He was translated as the Archbishop of Canterbury (1604-1610). He was a strong supporter of the episcopacy. He was outspoken against puritan and Presbyterianism nonconformity and values.

The Crown would initiate a basic "carrot and stick" policy within the Jacobean Church under Bancroft. The carrot was a basic subscription to the authority of the Crown and the Church and to comply with its basic ceremony requirements of the Book of Common Prayer. Once having subscribed all clergy would be welcomed as loyal supports of the Crown and Church.

The Crown and the Church for its part would welcome all moderate clergy including those with puritan values. The Church was also willing to moderate its own procedures to make subscription as easy as possible to accommodate the greatest number of individual clergy possible including those holding puritan values. The Crown wanted as large a tent as possible within which to reasonable accommodate the greatest number of moderate and conformable clergy. Tolerance and as little controversy as possible was sought by the Crown and the Church. Successful clergy need only comply, keep their opinions to themselves, and not to be controversial.

As far as the Crown and the Church was concerned there were two basic clergy in the Jacobean Church: 1) those clergy that had subscribed; and, 2) those clergy who had not. The former were considered loyal clergy, puritan or not. And the latter might be considered to be Radicals, nonconformists, and possible enemies of the State.

Non-conforming clergy could be deprived of their parishes, and or their preaching licenses. The more moderate elements of the clergy generally kept their parishes. It was the more radical dissident elements in the Church that were usually weeded out over time, or would leave over time out of personal conviction.

Moderate clergy including puritans were often willing to accept the tolerant attitudes of their bishops, and to work within the current structure, and to honor their own personal oaths. Many bishops may have been tolerant of moderate puritan leanings.

Some clergy have been called "conformable" for their willingness to overlook or ignore the controversies raised by their more radical brethren. Being able to preach and to maintain ones livelihood were strong inducement to many of these clergyman to work within the system and to support changes towards their goals.

Between 1604-11 bishops would continue to keep an eye out for or targeted suspected radical and nonconformist clergy. The Church did not want open controversy in the rank and file. The Church was not looking for reformers but only for dutiful clergy to serve the needs of the Church.

After 1608 there was a growing number of clergy in the English Church who would embrace a theological doctrine called Arminianism. The major theological tenets were "free will" and "universal salvation by faith". These clergyman were tolerated as a radical theological faction within the Reformed Church.

By 1611 a number of English sects were beginning to return from Europe bringing their ew found religious experiences and radical theology home with them. Many of these sects and their new memberships only helped to increased the general unrest within the Church authorities. The first English Baptists made their appearance during 1612 outside of the city walls of London near Spitalfields, near a French Huguenot community, and others would soon follow. Dissident sects as with the English Separatist were sought out by Church agents.

George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury 1611-33

George Abbot(1562-1633) was Bishop of Lichfield (1609), Bishop of London (1610). Hewas translated to Archbishop of Canterbury (1611-1633), and unlike his two predecessors, Whitgift and Bancroft were strong anti-puritans, he had more moderate leaning and some puritan sympathies. George Abbot had risen to prominence under James I. His administration was colored by his own personal habits.

An English Calvinistic theology of grace had become acceptable to most Jacobean bishops. Moderation, tolerance and conformability were the general preferred norms of the Church of England by 1611.

Moderate evangelical Calvinist bishops tried to maintained the outward forms of the Book of Common Prayer (1555). A "harmonious Calvinist consensus in the English Church" was the goal. Differing attitudes and points of view still existed within the fabric of the Jacobean Church. Both anti-Calvinism and anti-puritanism attitudes still lingered just below the surface in silence. Tolerance and moderation were the preferred perception of the Jacobean Church, controversy was to be stifled.

King James I took an active interest in the composition of bishops and in the translation of bishops in the Church of England. The King James I added a number of pro-liturgical bishops during his reign in what appears to have been an intentional effort to keep a balance if you will within the Church hierarchy. Many of the bishops later so-called Arminian WIng under Charles I were originally appointed by his father James I, including William Laud. Most of these liturgical bishops were looked on with suspicion by many of the reformed clergy and laity including the puritans at the time.

Puritan areas of concern under James I were basically the same as under Elizabeth I. Items such as the Elizabethan Settlement itself, the lack of more religious reform away from lingering Catholicism, the Book of Common Prayer (1559), and the Thirty-Nine Articles (1563), and the Act of Uniformity (1559). The Canons of 1604 became a new weapon against the more radical dissidents in the Church. For their basic love for what they thought the English Church could be against the many lingering abuses which they saw within that same Church, many puritans continued their basic support of the Church of England.

Synod of Dort 1618-19

The Synod of Dort (1618-19) was called to debate the Arminian Controversy within the Dutch Reformed Church (Holland). A hand picked delegation of moderate Calvinist divines from the Church of England attended the synod. The English delegation watch and acted more as neutrals between the various factions, and were not active participants in the formal debates themselves.

An official document was issued by the Synod stating the Calvinist principles of the Dutch Reformed Church in 1619. The English delegation was invited to sign the document, which they basically agreed with in principal, but they declined respectfully indicating that they were committed to their own Church authority.

Arminianism was pronounced a heretical movement within Calvinist theology. Some two hundred clergy of the Dutch Reformed Church were deprived for holding these views after the Synod of Dort. A growing number of clergy in Europe had already begun to embrace what was now considered anti-Calvinist or heretical theology.

The Synod of Dort (1618-19) indicated a rather broad acceptance of a moderate Calvinist theology within the mainstream clergy of the English Church at the time. The English delegates represented many highly placed and respected members of the Church including a number of Calvinist bishops.

During the reign of James I and Charles I the following areas became more central to the puritan view of English Society, and the need for change. The following areas represent some of those concerns raised by puritans during the period.

The Day the Lord Hath Made

For many puritans the strict observance of the Sabbath was a major point of personal religious belief. Private religious study at home, or attending an appropriate form of religious service would be the preferred norm for the puritan family. Lacking an appropriate religious service, many sought out religious gatherings or meeting places where the Scriptures were discussed, and good preaching was available. Unfortunately, the puritan's personal beliefs came into direct conflict with the Church of England.

Attendance at all local parish services was a general requirement of the Church of England for all local parishioners, protestants, Catholics, and puritans. All healthy adults were expected to attend regularly scheduled parish church services including the primary Sunday Services of the Church of England. Those not attending were subject to fines, and other legal outcomes.

Church services under the Book of Common Prayer (1559)were considered inappropriate by many puritans who objected to the overtly Roman traditions embodied within them. The lack of appropriate preaching and religious contents vexed many puritan laity in the Church of England. The lack of puritan clergy in local parishes was also an issue. Some puritans began to look elsewhere for their spiritual needs.

Puritans had concerns regarding the Sabbath since the 1560's. By the 1590's, many puritans were in open opposition to many of the Sabbath statutes. Richard Greenham (1535?-94?), a Puritan divine, in his Treatise of the Sabbath (1592) proposed the strict observance of the Sabbath was good for business. Nicholas Bownde (Bound) (d. 1619), a Puritan and Greenham's step-son, wrote a strict legal treatise of the Sabbath and Mosaic Law, Sabbathum (1595). Some protestants including puritans observed the practice called Sabbatarianism, the observance of Jewish Sabbath under the Old Testament and Mosaic Laws.


Sermons and preaching on the Word of God were considered of high moral and educational value for the average puritan. If one had no preacher, or even a bad preacher, one might seek out another source to hear. The quality of local parish preaching varied greatly often poorly, to the reading of printed homilies provided by the Church. It was nor entirely uncommon that local parish puritans might walk for miles in search of a good preacher with a good sermon message on the Word of God. In certain areas these services were often regularly available for the local Puritans, after church services.

Puritans might engage in Sunday prayer meetings which might last for hours or the entire Sabbath. They might feature numerous sermons and preachers, discussions the of the Scriptures, and maybe some unaccompanied singing of Psalms. These were gatherings held outside the authority of the Church of England and usually only attended by puritans and their families. This practice of walking outside of your local parish to attend other Sunday meetings was officially known as "gadding".

Gadding on the Sabbath was seen as an act of civil disobedience against the Church and the Establishment. Puritan did not always find ones local parish preachers to their liking, so they might find somewhere else more in keeping with their religious values. This was a problem for the Church authorities and it became a major issue of nonconformity with King James. Laws were passed to restrict the movement of puritans outside of their own local parishes on the Sabbath. Local authorities attempted to restrain the movement of puritans on the Sabbath outside of their parishes.

The Book of Sports

Many puritans made a conscious distinction between the godly and the profane. The temporal pleasures and enjoyment on the village green were considered an offence against the Lord's Day. Local parish gatherings called "church-ales" were denounced as inappropriate or worse.

The Book of Sports (1618 and 1633) had been authorized by James I to engender public activities and sporting events as appropriate activities on Sunday after Church services. The division between the temporal and the sacred, if you will.

These temporal activities on the Lord's Day only helped to heighten a general discontent and increased the general resentment against the Crown and Church by many puritans. Both were identified with the temporal and profane rather than the godly piety that many puritan wanted to presented to the world. The Crown was acting against the biblical message of the Bible in many puritan eyes.

Charles I (1625-1649) "The Personal Rule"

The new King, Charles I (1600-1649) was the second son of James I and Queen Anne of Denmark. His older brother and the heir apparent to the throne, Henry, Prince of Wales died in 1612. Both parents doted on the eldest son as a paragon of virtue and manhood as the next King. Charles was not held in the same high esteem by his parents, and was treated differently.

George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury (1611-1633) crowned the new King in 1625. Abbot had the bad sense to questioned the King's Divine Right to rule. By 1627, Abbot had run afoul of the King and had become a virtual lame duck waiting to be replaced. Archbishop Abbot is an uneven figure of the period.

The reign of Charles I is often referred to as the "Personal Rule" for his hands on management style. Charles wanted to prove his manhood to be as competent a King as his elder brother Henry would have been. The young King was heavily influenced way, and some say controlled by George Villiers (1628-87), 1st Duke of Buckingham, his fathers' minister, until the Duke's assassination in 1628.

Charles I had always been suspected of having pro-Catholic and "popish" sentiments. His marriage in 1625 to Queen Henrietta Maria (1609-69), daughter of King Henry IV of France, a Roman Catholic was viewed with more religious suspicion than as a political alliance between nations.

The treaty with France that accompanied the marriage agreement would guarantee certain rights to English Roman Catholic. The Queen would establish her own private Catholic Chapel with foreign musicians. These only enhanced a growing perception of creeping "popery" at Court for many. Her Catholic chaplains were instructed to leave England. Queen Mary was still in the public memory. There was also an ongoing anti-catholic bias in the country that many were more than willing to inflame whenever they could for their own purposes.

During the reign of King Charles I (1625-49) the Crown instituted a number of reforms within the fabric of the Nation. These reforms ranged from financial and economic policies to the Church of England. By the early 1630's the nation was in excellent financial conditions, and the King was well respected even by his distracters.

The Caroline Church 1625-1640

The state of the English Church when Charles I came to the throne was still much in the mode of his father, King James I. There was a general accommodation between the moderate Calvinist bishops and the clergy. There were moderate clergy willing to administer the rites under the Book of Common Prayer (1559) without controversy. The Church was tolerant, broad and largely Calvinistic in spirit. This was not to say that controversy still lingered under the surface.

The new King was concerned with uniformity and order in the Nation. Was the Church in keeping with its historical liturgical and sacramental traditions of the true religion under Elizabeth I? Was the House of God a house of prayer and worship following the precepts of the Book of Common Prayer (1559), and in continuity with its ancient liturgical and sacramental traditions?

These included a view of the true religion and of ecclesiastical order, the priesthood of believer's, and authority of the State and Crown flowing from one another. These were the broad views that the King would expounded as Head of the Church of England during the 1630's. Many of the new envisioned reforms would come into conflict with the status quo, the English reformed tradition, as it was sometimes known. They would also have an impact on the vision of the "Godly and the profane" for many puritans.

Richard Montague (1577-1641) sometime Canon of Windsor (1618), Royal Chaplain (1625), Bishop of Chichester (1628), and Bishop of Norwich (1638) was known as a supporter of traditional values. His work Appello Caesarum (1625) was a defense against Popery and Arminianism. John Pym (1584-1643), a well known puritan MP, argued against Arminianism in Parliament. The Duke of Buckingham voiced his own support for Arminianism.

The King had personal concerns with culture in the Church of England with the statutes relating to the Book of Common Prayer (1559), the Thirty-Nine Articles, and the Canon of 1604. "Uniformity, order, and obedience" were the new watch words for the King, and his Church.

The King had been raised on the traditional norms of the Elizabethan and early Jacobean Church with greater emphasis on its historical traditions embodied in the Book of Common Prayer (1559). These would form the basis of what were later referred to as the "Laudian Reforms".

The King found additional support for his views in the works of Richard Hooker (1554?-1600). His monumental work of eight volumes (1549-1662) Of the Lawes of Ecclesiasticall Politie which defended the Elizabethan Settlement and supported the argument for the authority of the episcopacy. Hooker also attacked many puritan views. Archbishop Bancroft (1604-1610) had also supported these same views and conclusions of Hooker's works, and was himself a strong opponent of the puritan. Some have referred to these works as cornerstones of what became known as Anglicanism.

The contemporary Church of England of the period was often referred to as the Anglican Church, the continuity of the church constitution and administration dating from the Elizabethan Church (1559). Some have used the term Anglicanism to describe a particular theological view derived from the historical traditions of the Church of England. And some have called King Charles I "the first" Anglican.

King James I had added a number of traditional clergyman to the episcopacy during his reign. Many of these bishops were rewarded under Charles I and assumed position of authority within the Church. Many of these churchmen would become important individuals in the implementation of the King Charles' envisioned Church reforms.

1652 saw the rise of the Durham House (1617), a circle of clergy known for his support of the Book of Common Prayer and its more conservative traditions. Many of the so-called Arminian Wing clergy of the Church were associated with the Durham House movement. Bishop Richard Neile, later Archbishop of York was the titular leader of the group. Unfortunately charges of being pro-Popish with Arminianism leanings, anti-Calvinist "free will" fears were often promoted.

During the period from 1625-29 the well known puritan MP, John Pym (1584-1643), a Parliamentary radical argued against the theology of Arminianism. Rather than centering on the anti-predestination aspect of the tenet, Pym would argue that was in effect a conduit against creeping free will of Catholicism into the Church of England.

Laudianism of the 1630's

[Ed. Note: We will use the term Laudianism to describe the broad religious controversy and its problems within the English Church during the 1630's-1640's.]

The 1630's saw a confluence of a number of competing policies, theological and religious views, and the royal whims of King Charles I. An increase of pro- Arminian bishops and clergy in the Church would become a help to the King to facilitate his desired reforms in the English Caroline Church.

There was a new message of order, uniformity, and obedience to the authority of the bishops from the Crown. This would cause problems with some of the moderate bishops and Calvinist divines. Mere subscription in principal was no longer acceptable, but rather a zeal of conviction was being sought among the clergy for the new reforms under King Charles I. Some of clergy held to their oaths of obedience to their bishops while others saw the new reforms as a rejections of their reformed theology, or as creeping Catholicism.

The so-called Laudian Reforms of the 1630's had been formulated on traditional values of ceremony, liturgy and the administration of the sacraments in continuity with the The Book of Common Prayer and its Elizabethan and Edwardian traditions. The moderate Calvinist reformed church of James I was being requested to change. Not a change to a more reformed Church , but rather a transition back to a more conservative and traditional Church of their grandparents.

The new emphasis on the Church as the House of God and a vision of the divine presence in the world and its liturgical response to that vision. The "Beauty of Holiness" being the relationship between public prayer and preaching with the administration of the sacraments in observing the Church liturgical year and the celebration of its major festivals and Holy days. This also included the beautification of the House of God for his divine service with religious finery and religious images.

There was an attempt to redraw the line between the sacred and the profane in the Jacobean Church would had a major impact on the Calvinist theology of grace, i.e. Presbyterianism. A new theology based on "universal salvation" and "free will" would threaten this. There was also the issue of difference between individuals and groups, i.e. the puritans as the godly and elect saints and the ungodly majority. Many puritans would migrate to the Low Countries, or the new English Colonies in the New World away from the Church of England and its authority.

Many parish churches had maintained the standards under the Book of Common Prayer (1559) while other had not. It was the latter that were most concerned with these changes and their suspected underlying motives of the King and this supports for popish reforms. The English Church was not a uniform institution of a single point of view but a broad institution with many different and varied points of view.

By the late 1630's, the continuing emphasis on the Book of Common Prayer (1559) with its catholic traditions was seen as an argument for a planned popish plot to take control of the Caroline Church. For many members of Parliament including the pro-puritans and Presbyterian supporters their worst fears were coming true. With the imposition of more order and uniformity in the Church under the Book of Common Prayer the greater became the fears of those who opposed those same changes.

William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury 1633-45

The new King found a competent and willing churchmen to help oversee the implementation of his Church reforms. One such individual was William Laud (1573-1645). Ordained in 1601, he rose to prominence under James I with the support from the Duke of Buckingham.

Laud was well known for his traditional sacramental and liturgical theology and his support for the Book of Common Prayer. Laud was translated to Bishop of St David's (1621) under James I. Under Charles I he was translated to Bishop of Bath and Wells (1626), the Privy Council (1627), Bishop of London (1628-33), Chancellor of Oxford University (1630). He was translated as Archbishop of Canterbury (1633-1645).

From 1621-45, Bishop Laud had followed a general policy of compliance at the parish level with the statutes related to the the requirements of the Book of Common Prayer, the Thirty-Nine Articles, and the Canon of 1604. Especially troubling to some congregations was the refurbishing efforts of many parish church interiors with more traditional liturgical furnishing: altar rails, baptismal fonts, the replacement of and orientation the main altar, or other liturgical finery. Those who objected to linger catholic traditions of the Anglicans wing of the English Church made their voice known.

Laud has been criticized by some for his own administration from Canterbury. Evidence would might tend to support a more general policy of moderation especially in the more rural areas. Laud was know to take action against "extreme" Arminian positions. Many local parishes complained about the "local intervention" of the Bishop on what certain congregation might consider their own authority their local parish authority. Many Reformed congregation including the Puritans were not adverse to express their own disapproval of the their local Bishops policies. The theological diversity, and personality among the local English bishops were often quite broad, and interesting. Some bishoprics often drew certain parishioners of a particular theological preference, or not.

The 1630's produced a number of puritan publications questioning the state of the Nation and the Church. Three prominent examples are addressed here. William Prynne (1600-69) was a well known puritan, his work Histriomastix (1632) attacked the institution of the theater, and the King Charles and the Queen subtly. He was charged by the Star Chamber, imprisoned for life and fined £5000.00. His News from Ipswich (1637) attacked the Declaration of Sport. He also had a literary feud with William Laud.

Many puritans of the period might see Archbishop Laud and the so-called Laudian Reforms of the 1630's as "an attack on the true religion"e;. Arminian theology and the catholic leaning traditions of the Book of Common Prayer were a potential path of a possible pending popish plot in the minds of some Englishmen of the period.

The 1640's saw a gradual erosion of the Church of England as an independent body under the Long Parliament. As an outcome of some of those efforts, Archbishop Laud was subsequently impeached (1640), imprisoned in the Tower of London (1642-44), tried (1644) and finally executed by order of Parliament in 1645 for attempting to "overthrow of the Protestant religion",.

Dr. Henry Burton (1578-1648), was an Independent minister, and was Clerk of the Closet to Prince Charles. Burton attacked Bishop Laud and Neile and was demoted. Burton published some of his sermons (1636) attacking Arminianism, and the rise of popish leanings in the Church in his work: For God and King (1637). He was arrested and questioned on charges of sedition. He was sent to Fleet Prison Prison, he was pilloried, ear cropped, degraded of this clerical and academic positions, he was fined £5000, sentenced to life imprisonment. He was released in 1640, and reinstated to his previous honours in 1641. He returned to preaching at St. Matthew's Church (London).

Dr.John Bastwick (1593-1654), was a physician and a pamphleteer, he attacked the Papacy and the episcopacy. He published a work in Holland in 1624, and Flagellum Pontificas et episcopotium (1643) which resulted in his excommunication, and loss of his profession, a £1000 fine, his books burned, and he was sent to prison . His prison work Litanie of Dr John Bastwick (1637) attacked the episcopacy. All three individuals suffered prison time and punishment. Others had been similarly punished in the past under these same laws. These three gentlemen were mentioned prominently by puritans in criticism directed against Archbishop Laud and the Church during the late 1630's.

The puritans were not of a single monolithic theological disposition. Some Scottish Puritans were of a slightly different disposition than their English cousins. The Scottish puritans had a high respect for Holy Communion, and a certain respect for many of the traditional values of Scotland. They had embraced a preferred church structure known as Presbyterianism in the Scottish style. To paint the puritan Scots in the same mode as the English puritans would be an unfortunate mistake.

The Bishop's Wars 1639-40

King Charles I in his desire for greater order and uniformity in the new Engla nd-Scottland , the King turned his attention towards Scotland. The King had decided to impose a Scottish version of the Book of Common Prayer (1559) on the Scottish Church. Scots rioted in the streets of Edinburgh under the perception that an episcopal church structure was to be imposed on Scotland. The Scots organized and armed themselves fearing a possible English invasion.

Two brief military campaigns were mounted against the Scots in 1639 and 1640 which were general known as the Bishop's Wars (1639-40). An under staffed an ill prepared English Army moved against a superior Scottish army which resulted in major defeat for the English Army with large concessions for the Scots.

The King found themselves financially strapped in 1639. Each campaign against the Scots required the financial assistance of Parliament to fund the King's war chest. The King had managed to rule successfully up until now without becoming dependent upon Parliament's financial assistance. He now found himself in a difficult political position and needing financial assistance from Parliament and their good will.

Short Parliament 1640

Short Parliament (1640) was called by the King under the general leadership of John Pym (1584-1643), a well known puritan. The King was seeking a war chest for the First Bishop's War (1639). The House of Commons tried to hold the Kings' feet to the coals to further their own political agenda of change. The Short Parliament was quickly dissolved. The King probably objected to the lack of demeanor and the political demands of the members of the House of Commons.

H3>Long Parliament 1640-1648

There was a certain optimism in the air that church and state reforms and good governance were possible with the co-operation of Parliament, Country and King during 1640. Later in 1640 the King called another Parliament which would become known as the Long Parliament (1640-48).

The King needed additional funding for the Second Bishop's War (1640) in the same situation with regards to Scotland. The Scots soon invaded England and occupy Newcastle-on-Tyne in autumn of 1640.

A number of concessions were made to the Scots on financial and political considerations. Many historians credit the military blunders of the Bishop's Wars (1639-40) as a contributing factor on the eventually road to the English Civil War.

The King was becoming unwilling to deal with Parliament, or was not willing to make any concessions. The King would gradually turned to the application of force in an effort to resolve his problems with Parliament.

In 1641, the Parliament expressing its own frustration with the King, many of the MP's began to push the envelop on its legislative prerogatives for their own political advantages. In February 1641, Pro-Scottish MP's proposed the Root and Branch Bill which outlined the elimination of the episcopal church administration, but the bill was shelved.

Proceedings were initiated by Parliament against Archbishop Laud and Thomas Wentworth (1593-1641), 1st Earl of Strafford. Laud was imprisoned and Wentworth was executed following mob violence in London. Various governmental and church officials became objects of the Parliamentary ire.

Pro-puritan MP's and their supporters began to turned their attention towards the dismantling of the Church of England. The authority of the bishops was rescinded with the election of any new bishops was halted. The hated Book of Common Prayer was to be replaced with a new reformed Directory for the Public Worship of God (1654) complied by the Westminster Assembly (1645) was not well received. The Liturgical Church calendar with Christmas, Easter, and various other Holy Days were eliminated. Directives were issued to parish churches to remove or destroy any images, furnishings, altar railings, or decorations that supported any "popish" liturgical functions including church organs.

The Church of England as an institution was in the process of being reduced to a mere shadow of its former self. Parliament was becoming the new Supreme Head of the Church of England. Many saw this as and opportunity to remake the Church of England into a true reformed protestant church. A Presbyterian form of church administration was even imposed in some areas of the country.

Many of the landed gentry, wealthy land owners and freeholders did not support a Presbyterian church structure which would diminished their own authority and control at the local county level. They held up the implementation of this process until local churches could elect their form of worship. Many parishes became Independent congregations which allowed them to chose their own form of religious service which in many cases was Anglican. It is interesting to see that "all politics are local" as a 20th century political voiced.

Somewhat ironically just as the puritans had often refused compliance with their objectionable Government and Church policies, a large percentage of the protestant laity generally ignored most of the Puritan directives after 1641 against their local churches. Large segments of protestant parishes continued using the Book of Common Prayer (1559) and the traditional church services until the Restoration (1660). The offending religious artifacts were often hidden from public view and government agents.

Some members of the House of Commons began to question if the King was fully competent to continue to exercise his authority as King. The King was willful and stubborn, unwilling to compromise or make concessions with Parliament.

Some MP's seized on this for their own political advantages to under cut the King and his own supporter in Parliament and by playing on the public fears of a driven King waiting to establishing a Catholic church, shades of Queen Mary. The vision of King Charles commanding a large army was a picture that concerned many members of Parliament. Many MP's including puritan supporters initially did not support the goals of Parliament, and actively sought to bring reason to bear on both parties involved.

English Civil Wars 1642-49

Frustrated and angered by Parliament the King in January 1642 sent members of the Royal Guard into the House of Commons to arrest five MP's. They left without the MP's. This single act became a pivotal factor in precipitating the events which would led to the start of the English Civil Wars (1642-49). Within a few months preparations were underway for war. [Ed. Note: The history of the English Civil Wars is outside the scope of this "short" overview. Please refer to the General Bibliography for selected references.]

By 1642 most of the optimism of 1640 had disappeared. Political and religious rhetoric and growing anti-Catholic fears and papist plots following the Irish Rebellion ran high. Catholic lords and bishops were considered suspect. The common man was often in open rebellion against the local authorities and the county land owners. Fear and anxiety were rampant in the land being fed for the political and religious benefit of a number of interests.

A Scottish army of 100,000 was raised to quell the Irish Rebellion (1642) in Ireland. Thousands of transplanted protestants Scots had been killed in Ulster and northern Ireland. The rebellion was suppressed in late 1642. Returning Scots spread their tales and accounts of alleged atrocities by the Irish Catholics before the Parliamentary elections.

In May 1642, an attempt was made in the House of Commons to re institute the Root and Branch Bill (1641) against the Church. The House of Commons was actively involved in establishing new legislative powers and controls of the government.

Royalist and Parliamentary troops would soon to be engaged in a bloody Civil War. The New Model Army of Parliament would become the new major military and political force within England. Military battles were waged across the Commonwealth, and many died. The King fled London to Oxford to establish a temporary new capital.

Unfortunately for the Long Parliament, the New Model Army was not just another mercenary army. Many of the New Model Army troops and its officers had their own political and religious agendas which were often at odds with various agendas of Parliament. They would have a major voice in the political decisions of the Parliament and in the peace that followed.

The signing of the Solemn League and Covenant (1643) had committed Parliament to accepting a Presbyterian system of religion in England in exchange for receiving military support from Scotland. The surrender of the King and his troops in 1646 had threatened this agreement.

From 1643-49, the "Assembly of Learned and Godly Divines" or more commonly called the Westminster Assembly was created. This was an assembly of appointed churchman to advise Parliament on religious matters and a proposed new national church organization and its structure. There were representatives from various religious points of view including Calvinists, Puritans, Presbyterians, Independents, and some former Church of England clergy.

Political forces within the New Model Army (1645) grew. Radical dissident religious and political groups and sects, and the new organization of the Long Parliament began to shape their own long sought religious and political goals. Radical religious and political views among these groups led to conflict, suspicion and distrust.

The Putney Debates (1647) argued for more personal and religious freedom within a more democratic state. Independents and the New Model Army wanted complete religious freedom from any and all imposed national church structures or models be they Presbyterian or Episcopal. The latter being more acceptable than the former. The end results of the Putney Debates were inconclusive other than that many voices of change to the current system.

During 1647, Charles I attempted to broker an alliance between the Scottish Presbyterians and the pro-Presbyterian MP's for a new national church structure acceptable to them. This was being offered in exchange for military assistance to the King to help re-establish himself as the head of the British Nation.

The dialogue by Presbyterians MP's in 1647 to establish a national Presbyterian church structure in Scotland and England was even less acceptable to the New Model Army than maintaining the current Church of England. The perception of Presbyterians MP's trying to make an independent deal for peace with Scotland, and with the King on their own terms was viewed with grave suspicion. The Presbyterians were attempting to impose a new national Presbyterian church order on the English nation from within. Not all puritans supported their agenda.

The growing suspicion and discontent by Independents and the New Model Army of the recent actions of the pro-Presbyterian members in the Long Parliament prepared the way for Pride's Purge (Dec. 1648). One hundred and forty three pro-Presbyterian members of the House of Commons were removed by troops of the New Model Army.

The Regicide of King Charles I

Pride's Purge (Dec. 1648) did not result in a better political situation for the King. This in turn led to the formation of the so called Rump Parliament (1648-53). Many of the remaining MP's held pro-puritan views, and they had a deep distrust for the King and his political and religious views. What to do with the King was the problem facing the Rump Parliament.

"No Bishop, No King" was becoming the new watch words in the halls of Parliament and for many of the population. Church and Crown were being targeted for a major revision. There was a great deal of anger and fear being generated against the King.

Within a very short period of time, the Rump Parliament unable to resolve their own ambivalent positions with the recognized head of the English Nation, members of the Rump Parliament decided to removed the King's head and his authority with it. Not everyone including members of the Rump Parliament had supported this draconian resolution. There was even a brief attempt to broker a compromise solution with the young Charles II which failed.

Many only wanted to change the structure of the current government with the monarchy playing a reduced role, not the elimination of the monarchy as an institution and the King with it. A quick dog and pony trial for the public, and a sentence of death was a forgone conclusion once the charges were made.The King was in control of the trial and argued the government charges against himself during the trial.The Parliamentary Court was unable to provide any legal precedents or documentation to support their charges against the King, or for his execution. The King was still the king, Divine Right and all. The King was credited is asking at the trail who was present there with authority to accuse him. Many public ally argued against the death sent ice.

Many of the senior officers of the New Model Army signed the death warrant against the King including Oliver Cromwell. Charles showed himself every inch a King at his public beheading outside of the Banqueting Hall (Whitehall). With the regicide of Charles I in January 1649, England became a republic. Cromwell was reported to have called the beheading "a tragic necessity".

Rump Parliament 1648-65

The Rump "the remnant" A non-elected Parliament of some fifty appointed MP's was now the only legal Law of the Land. The Rump Parliament governed with a Council of State until its rejection by Cromwell in April 1656.

Between 1648-1649 the Rump Parliament began to articulate its own agenda of pro-puritan reforms now unencumbered by the former Long Parliament majority. Much of their efforts were now directed at their perceptions against popery, and the need for new religious reforms in England. A new society based on ethical and moral values was being legislated on religious principals.

The period from 1649-53 saw the New Model Army vie with the new radical religious and political groups for power and the control of the minds of the People and control of the State. The New Model Army wanted its back wages which the Rump Parliament was refusing to pay. The Rump Parliament would soon come to learn the political clout of the New Model Army.

Some former historians have referred to the period from 1649-1660 as the Puritan Revolution. Some have also called it " ... more confusion than revolution".

Additional directives were issued against the Church and its various institutions. Forms of worship and conduct of religion in the nation were impacted. Certain forms of entertainment were either restricted or banned by order of Parliament such as playhouses where plays had criticized or poked fun at puritan values. The concert halls for popular music and entertainment were generally untouched. English opera was a new form of public entertainment which develop during the Interregnum. Liturgical and most sacred music was prohibited.

Barebone's Parliament 1653

Some 140 varied delegates, some representing certain political positions. were appointed as a quasi-governmental assembly to advise the Cromwell government. Known as the Barebone's Parliament (1653), it was named for one of the elected delegates, Praise-God Barebone (or Barbon, Barbone) (ca.1596-1679), a well known London minister and Common Councilman. It was formed by Cromwell after his expusion of the so called "e;Rump Parliament" in April 1653, Cromwell need a political replacement. It was called as a "Godly" Parliament to recommend guidelines for helping to create a new national governmental structure. A progressive delegation of that assembly argued for many democratic reforms in society. A more conservative delegation of that assembly was afraid of many of the proposed reforms. Due to a general lack of will to pass any meaningful proposals, the membership voted to close the Assembly, and return it Charter to Cromwell with their regrets.. It only met from July to Dec. of 1653.

The more liberal members of the Barebone's Parliament and their supporters condemned these tactics, and demanded the reopening of the Parliament at once. There was a total lack of any support from Cromwell on the issue. There was some comment that the "Status Quo" would not look too kindly on any public political referendum on governmental reforms that might impact their own positions of authority and power.

Cromwell as Lord Protector (1653-1658)

A new national government was quickly established on the heels of the Barebone's Parliament closure. Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) was quickly appointed as the new "Lord Protector" by the Instrument of Government (1653) England's first written constitution, this was not a national election. Cromwell was an acceptable candidate to the Establishment. Some Englishmen soon questioned if they had just substituted one old yoke for another new one?

Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) came from a prosperous puritan family. Oliver Cromwell had been a former Member of Parliament (Huntington and Cambridge City), including the Short and Long Parliaments, Army officer, a national war hero, and a political leader. He was considered a moderate puritan by disposition and a practical politician in principal.

Cromwell's first task as the new "Lord Protector" was to keep the ship of state afloat. His next task was to keep the peace, and the various radical and dissident elements under control.

Cromwell believed in the basic principal of freedom of religion and of worship. He helped to facilitate a broad policy of tolerance towards most religious groups including most of the English sects. Some religious groups including some puritans resented the fact that Cromwell's freedom of religion was a little too open ended from their point of view. The amount of practical religious freedom allowed was unprecedented in England until this point in its history. Cromwell understood when to be moderate, and when he needed to be firm.

Cromwell needed to deal with the political and economic aspects of a new government. Eleven military districts were establish each under a General reporting directly to Cromwell and enforced various administrative directives and enforced puritan values. Cromwell needed to reassure those individuals of power and influence that put him there that he was capable of keeping the Nation peaceful and prosperous. If he did not, they would find someone else that would.

Quakers, Baptists, Levellers, Puritans and other sects all took a back-seat to the State as they had under the Crown. Many of these sects would try to either manage or improve their own positions under the new "Protectorate" on social or religious grounds. Oliver Cromwell made an effort to be fair and equitable to all who kept the peace. Even the puritans were counted just another religious group. [Ed. Note: See English Dissenters Home Page.]

Many of the English dissident sects would feel the heel of the new government. Many members of society were beginning to resent the imposition and enactment of more puritan laws and regulations from Parliament. Many began to question the puritan ethics impacting their daily lives. Many questioned their new found freedoms and the rational for the Civil War,, and its current status.

An English nation dominated by puritans was not the desired outcome of the Civil Wars by the general population. Many non-puritans actively worked in the background against or simply ignored many of the new imposed Parliamentary reforms especially in the more rural areas. Others have referred to these puritan reforms as "much to do about nothing".

A major group in opposition were the local gentry and the old wealthy landed families across the country. They were convinced that the puritans would place their interests above the locals. At the local county level many families use their authority to keep the growing puritan influence at bay.

The death of Oliver Cromwell in 1658 was a major cause of concern for the Establishment. With the failure of his son, Richard Cromwell (1626-1712) as a surrogate "Lord Protector" who only contributed to the growing fears of 1658-59. The short lived new Rump government did little to bring stability.

There was a growing unrest within the country, and the fear of a possible failing government. Many in the Establishment wanted a more secure and stable government for property, commerce, trade and security at home than what the Republic would appear to provide.

Many in the nation were unhappy with the social experiment of the Interregnum. A growing social unrest from militant religious sects and a perceived lack of security at home prompted many to find a new "Protector". This resulted ultimately in a facilitated reconciliation with the Army under General Monck and the Charles II of Scotland in the Restoration (1660). Better the devil they knew and the former monarchy looked rather attractive to the wealthy and powerful.

Restoration (1660)

The Restoration (1660) returned King Charles II back to his father's throne after a long vacation. This would not the same English throne that his father left in 1649 nor would it be again. The fruits of the Civil War and the Republic included new civil and religious relationships that could not be put back in the bottle.The old relationship of the Monarchy with Parliament and the People would not be the same again.

The Savoy Conference (London: 1661) attempted to mediate the concerns of puritans on the proposed revisions to the new The Book of Common Prayer(1662). The Anglican bishops basically ignored most of proposed changes being requested by the puritan and other reformed ministers.

The Anglican bishops also required the re-ordination of all English ministers not previously ordained by a authorized bishop of the Church of England. Some two thousand Presbyterian minister would not support the new The Book of Common Prayer (1662) and were deprived of their livings.

Most of the former bishops and its clergy returned to their former dispositions or parishes. Many parish churches were repaired and returned to their pre-Civil War conditions. Unfortunately many churches and cathedrals had been vandalized, defaced, or damaged during the Civil War and Interregnum. Many church organs and stained glass windows were destroyed or severely damaged.

The puritan and other dissident sects had reduced influence under the new government of King Charles II(1660-85). Under the Act of Uniformity (1662) puritans and other religious dissenters were tolerated within limits, but would be watched and controlled when necessary. Former militants were closely watched.

Puritans and other dissenters who would not or could not submit to the new law of the land became known as Nonconformists. Many prominent puritan families especially the growing middle class merchants continued to prospered within the new restrictions of post-Restoration England. Some puritans looked for new homelands where their religious freedom and values would be less restricted such as Europe, or the New World.

Puritan values and Calvinist theology did not disappear with the Restoration (1660) but continued as a vital force within the religious and social life of England. Those radical puritan values of the Interregnum gradually disappeared during the 1660's. Many of the puritan values were exported to the new American Colonies where they grew and prospered. They have left their impact on the history of North America as well.

[Editors Note] New historical research methods continues to provide us with a fuller understand on the impact of the "Puritans" on English Society and culture and by extension to its antecedents into the American Colonies over time. This is a much more diverse and dynamic community than was generally understood just a few generations ago. Some researcher may be still discussing some "olde standards", and a number of new ones that have sparked new interests, and we have a fuller understands of their place in our history, and culture. The "puritans" had a long reach, and we are still feeling it today. Check out our Select Biblio as we continue to expand its coverage, as time permits.



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* Currently under revision

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