The Pilgrims and The Separatists

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Before 1534, England had many believers of the Roman Catholic Ministry. In the era of King Henry VIII between 1509 and 1547, he took an unexpected move by declaring himself a leader of a newly formed church by the name, Church of England.  The King and Queen Elizabeth, altered how the church is run so have to differentiate it from the Roman Catholic Church. A quite number of people were of the view that the newly established Church preserves many doctrines of the Roman church (Tambling and Jeremy, 50). They demanded a return to less organized form of worship and simple faith. For the reason that these type of people needed to purify the church from all evils, they were given the name "Puritans."A new group emerges that careful deliberated and took a step a forward. Considering the situation in England, they concluded that the new emerging Church of England was past reform. They called themselves "Separatists"and the main agenda was the creation of new, different church worshipers. This idea was not taken lightly in the 1600s the country of England. The members of the public were only allowed to be followers of the Church of England and anyone going against this rule faces severe punishment.

The Church of Separatist followers that come up with Plymouth Colony in this country of England was initially placed on the Nottinghamshire, the town of Scrooby. The initial members of these group included the William Brewster and small William Bradford (Cousineau and Phil). This Separatist group went against the teachings and doctrines of the Church of England. The face a lot of punishment which ranges from fines, sending them behind bars or even harassing them publicly. They endure these sufferings for quite sometimes until they decided to flee the Dutch Holland to seek refuge.

When they arrived in the Netherlands, the pilgrims were able to worship their God freely without any obstacles from the government. Life in this country was not smooth just like England. The group of Separatists had to leave behind their relatives and friends to settle in a foreign nation without any organized plan on how they would take care of themselves (Valenze and Deborah, 140). These followers reside for some time in the city of Amsterdam before moving to the town of the Leiden. In Leiden, they stay for around 11 to 12 years exercising their freedom of worship. The culture of the Netherlands was too permissive. William Bradford, the Pilgrim, remarked on the extreme immorality of youths, lousy role models and many temptations in the Holland.  Compounding these encounters were what they termed as the inflexibility of the place. The majority of the families of Pilgrim resided in houses of poor conditions.   Many of Pilgrims worked from morning until evening, six days and rested on the seventh day, to keep soul and body together. Their tasks included carding, weaving, and spinning and even as textile workers. Even young Children were not left behind to working. Some children of older age left their families to work as sailors and troops of the Netherlands (Valenze and Deborah, 136). The older people were afraid that these young ones would lose their way of life as English people. On top of these, the Separatist were in the panic mood that another worse battle might take place between the Spanish and Dutch, so they decided to move to another overseas country.

The congregation, after careful consideration they agreed to vacate Holland for North America. Their main aim was to start a farming village in the Virginia Colony the northern part of it. During that time, Virginia stretched from upper of the Hudson Stream in the north to the south of Jamestown. Pilgrims intended to occupy an area adjacent to present New York City. At that place, they expected to live under the English regime, but exercise freedom of worship of their own, as the separate church. Since their own money wasn't sufficient to launch their settlement, they entered into a covenant with monetary stakeholders (Tambling and Jeremy, 49). The team of investors would arrange for passage for the settlers and supply them with clothing, tools, and other materials. The immigrants, in turn, would toil for the enterprise, sending natural resources such as furs, timber, and fish, back to England. All properties, including the Pilgrims' houses and the land, would be owned by the firm up to a seven-year period after which would be shared among all the investors and colonists. The investors and colonists had many differences, nonetheless finally the Pilgrims were able to vacate Europe for America.

The entire worshippers were not able to come to America as a whole. Those who could resolve their matters in Leiden went first. However, the higher number, comprising of their preacher John Robinson, stayed behind (Bickford, John and Cynthia, 4). The worshippers bought Speedwell, a small ship, to convey them across the ocean and also to use it for trading and fishing in America. At the port of England the side of Southampton, they were joined by a set of English immigrants who had been congregated by the financiers. Mayflower and Speedwell – a ship hired by the financiers – left for America together. After two times turning back to England for the reason that Speedwell seeps out, they were forced to leave the ship.

As a consequence, several families were separated when some travelers when unable to find space and had to be left behind.  Thirty days after the first group left England, Mayflower follows them with 102 travelers to New England. They started the journey on September 6, 1620, and arrived five days later.

The calculated move by Pilgrims to leave for the USA takes us back to a story of the sower in the Bible. In highlighting the Pilgrims' pursuit of religious liberty, we see a critical nuisance in their narrative of their worst of oppression (Owl and Grey, 17). Also, the Pilgrims encounter significant danger in the Netherlands which is not termed as the sweltering sun, but suffocation prickles as it was in the parable of the sower. For their faith, they were firm not to let the happenings of this universe weaken their belief or challenge their ministry.

When we look at the steps that Pilgrims took when they encounter oppression in England, we agree that they were courageous and genuine of their faiths.  Maybe we will even test ourselves how we would answer back if, God allows us to undergo the same challenge (Owl and Grey, 17).  In the circumstances, where the government is threatening us with severe punishment, as believers of Christ in this nation, we should not tremble.


Bickford III, John H., and Cynthia W. Rich. "The historical representation of Thanksgiving within primary-and intermediate-level children's literature."Journal of Children's Literature

41, no. 1 (2015): 5.

Cousineau, Phil. The art of pilgrimage: The seeker's guide to making travel sacred. Conari Press, 2012.

Owl, Grey. Pilgrims of the Wild. Vol. 17. Dundurn, 2010.

Tambling, Jeremy. "Dickens and Chaucer."English: Journal of the English Association 64, no. 244 (2014): 42-64.

Valenze, England Deborah. "Pilgrims and progress in nineteenth-century England."In Culture, Ideology, and Politics (Routledge Revivals), pp. 131-143. Routledge, 2016.

November 24, 2023

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