Before the Mayflower: Origins of Conflict

posted in: Mayflower Voyage, Pilgrims | 0

We think about the Pilgrims and their voyage on the Mayflower.  But what was their life like before that voyage?

King James I and the Separatists could not agree
King James I and the Separatists could not agree

The core group of the Pilgrims originated from Scrooby, England.  This group held Separatist beliefs not conforming with the Church of England.

The Separatists felt their differences with the Church of England were irreconcilable.  They felt their worship should be organized independently of the traditional church.

Since the 1559 Act of Uniformity it was illegal not to attend the official Church of England services.  Each individual was fined one shilling {which equals about £17 today} for each missed Sunday and holy day.

Individuals that held unofficial services faced penalties such as imprisonment and greater fines.

Two of the Separatists, Henry Barrowe and John Greenwood, were executed in 1593 for sedition which in essence is speaking against the monarch.

Tensions tightened in 1604.  Queen Elizabeth I had died the year earlier and King James I {VI of Scotland} was now King.  Hopes had been that a reconciliation would be possible for those seeking religious independence.  However, this request was denied.

Tensions only tightened and the congregation knew that decisions had to be made.