Assessing the danger of the Puritans in Elizabeth I reign.

Any attempt to assess the danger or threat of Puritanism needs to compare and contrast the three types of Puritan in Elizabethan England.  The issue of threat should consider a variety of factors including the perception of the monarch, significant supporters, parliamentary influence and representation in the church. It is also worth recognising that there may well be important contributions to the development of the Elizabethan Church made by the protestant opposition groups.

Why was Puritanism perceived to be a threat to stability in Elizabethan England?

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20 Responses to Assessing the danger of the Puritans in Elizabeth I reign.

  1. Lydia Kim says:

    Conformist Puritans were, to a certain extent, perceived to be a threat to Elizabeth’s reign. Scottish Calvinist leader John Knox attacked the “Monstrous Regiment of Women” in his 1558 writings, suggesting that Puritans failed to recognise a female monarch as the Head of the Church. Furthermore, the puritans certainly had significant supporters; the Earl of Leicester, notably the queen’s “favourite” minister, was a Puritan, and Lord Burghley supported the Puritan cause, suggesting that the Puritan movement had parliamentary influence. Moreover, William Strickland, a prominent Puritan Member of Parliament, introduced his own bill to reform the Book of Common Prayer, which Elizabeth perceived to be a great threat, so much so that she barred him from the House of Commons. Therefore, Conformist Puritans were seen as a threat to stability because of their influence in Parliament.

    Presbyterians posed an even greater threat to stability. The religious group were supportive of a church which the monarch would not find easy to manipulate, and found support in the highest ranks of the government. Furthermore, one of the Presbyterians’ most significant supporters was Edmund Grindal; the Archbishop of Canterbury. Grindal’s support of prophesyings led to his suspension from the exercise of his office, and he “remained in a form of limbo for the rest of his life”. Additionally, John Field was an outstanding organiser, who ensured that Parliament was in conjunction with Presbyterian meetings so as to augment the threat. Moreover, Peter Juror’s proposed Genevan style Prayer Book in 1584 received much sympathy in Parliament. Therefore, the organisation of the Presbyterians and their influence in Parliament meant that Elizabeth perceived them as a threat.

    Separatists also seemed to be a threat to Elizabeth; she employed savage penalties against them, suggesting that she feared their capabilities. Their radical views, denying that a national church was possible at all, were probably the reason why the queen felt threatened by them; otherwise, they did not have any elite support and were divided on different views.

    • Iona says:

      It could be argued that the Puritans imposed a threat to the reign of Elizabeth I to an extent. Due to the fact that they were divided into three separate groups, the Puritans, Presbyterians and Separatists, a threat was imposed as it meant a greater span of control had to be exerted in order to meet the challenges which were created against Elizabeth and her government. However, because Conformist Puritans were prepared to work within the Church with the intention of gradual reformation, they cannot be seen as a threat as such as their policies were not radical in their nature. Presbyterians arguably imposed a threat to some degree as Elizabeth did employ formidable powers to suppress them. However, regardless of this, they Presbyterians had very little chance of success due to the actions Elizabeth took against them, such as the confiscation of Cope’s Bill. Finally, the Separatists, the most radical and ambitious of the three, ironically had their ideology’s act against them due to the fact they were too few in number and totally devoid of elite support; thus making it easy for Elizabeth to employ penalties against them.

      In conclusion, although the progression and expansions of the Puritans imposed an element of threat and opposition towards the monarch, Elizabeth eliminated and dealt with them effectively, thus not damaging her position on the throne.

  2. Lois says:

    Although the threat of each individual protestant division appeared to be a threat to Elizabeth, it can be argued that their actual impact during her reign was limited. This was perhaps partially due to the increasing divisions which developed as the group declined from the Puritans to the Seperatist. The more radical approach to religion was not one which was largely supported, as religion was during this period a staple part of society.The Seperatists particularly in some ways condemned themselves to failiure by refusing to attend church which was frowned upon. Initially the Puritans could have been regarded as a threat due to their high numbers and unified status. However Elizabeths leniant attitude when compromising aspects such of the Acts of Reform, would suggest that she was not threatened by their existance. Furthermore even when Presbytariansism began to develop, support for the group decreased particularly due to the Martindale Marprelate Tract which generally offended many people and failed to gain any further support. It can be argued that a key issue when adressing the danger is to note that none of the groups gained foreign support and therefore their strategy of attack was always somewhat lacking despite the organisation skills of leaders such as John Field. Overall it can be argued that although the Puritans had the potential to be a danger to Elizabeth, the ambiguous nature of her original settlement had seemed to appease the majority of Protestants therefore the more radical movements failed to gain the traction and support that they needed to develop into a significant danger.

  3. Jenny F says:

    It can be argued the Puritans, Presbyterians and Separatists posed a threat to the government, the queen and her settlement of 1559. The Puritans, who wanted further reform, were only a small group, making up just 3% of the population, meaning they were never considerable in size. On the other hand, there was sympathy for their cause amongst some key figures, such as Robert Dudley, which could potentially have been dangerous due to his influence within council and parliament. Strickland introduced his billl to reform the prayer book during the 1571 parliament, which was received negatively by Elizabeth, resulting in her barring him from the house. This could suggest she felt threatened by the Puritan influence as she took direct action towards Strickland and his attempts to bring about reform.
    Similarly, the Presbyterians can be perceived as posing a threat to stability. John Field was an excellent organiser, ensuring conferences coincided with London parliaments, meaning the movement gained more attention and publicity. The meetings they held to discuss religion were highly organised, meaning they had a clear focus, but not all areas were active, e.g. Hampshire, showing that by no means was Presbyterianism to be found all over the country. However, there was some sympathy in parliament concerning radical reform bills and they went as far to become private members’ bills. The fact that Elizabeth stopped them shows she saw them as dangerous as she wanted to prevent them from being discussed. This can be seen with Turner’s bill, which wanted to implement a national Presbyterian system, which was vetoed by the queen.
    However, the group was not a unified one and cracks were starting to emerge. There was disagreement over some key issues, such as episcopacy, which was partly the reason for its decline. As it declined, so did its influence, as there were divisions in what the group actually wanted. Separatism, believed to be the most threatening form of Puritanism, emerged from Presbyterianism. Although they too were divided over key issues, the government felt threatnened. In 1590, Cartwright and eight others were arrested, showing that the Separatists were considered a threat to the religious stability of the country. However, the extremity of their views meant that their support was limited within the Church and parliament.
    Overall, it can be argued that while these three groups posed some threat to the religious stability of the country, gaining some support, there was not enough. There was never any hint of rebellion and the government seems to have experienced no serious issues in dealing with them, suggesting they perhaps didn’t pose as huge a problem as is sometimes believed. The majority were appeased by the Religious Settlement and the extremity of their beliefs went too far for many.

  4. Alex Woodhouse says:

    Conformist Puritans can be perceived to be a small threat to stability in Elizabethan England. One reason why they can be perceived to be a threat is that William Strickland, a puritan member of parliament, tried to reform the prayer book. Elizabeth barred him from parliament showing how she saw him and the puritans to be a threat. Also the puritans had significant supporters in Lord Burghley and the Earl of Leicester showing how powerful people close to the Queen were key supporters of them. This shows why puritanism was perceived to be a threat to stability in Elizabethan England.
    Presbyterians can also be seen as a threat to stability in Elizabethan England. The archbishop of Canterbury, Edmund Grindal, was a key supporter of the Presbyterians. Elizabeth suspended Grindal from his position showing how she saw the presbyterians as a threat as they had key supporters. Also John Field, a leading Presbyterian, was a very good organiser and arranged a Presbyterian meeting to coincide with Parliament. This shows how Puritanism can be seen to be a threat to stability in Elizabethan England.
    As well as conformist Puritans and Presbyterians, Separatism can also be seen as a threat to stability in Elizabethan England as Elizabeth used strong measures, such as executing two leading Separatists in Barrow and Greenwood, to try and stop the group posing any threat. This suggests that she saw them as a strong threat. They were the most extreme puritan group as they didn’t believe a national church could work. This could be why Elizabeth saw them as such a great threat showing how Puritanism was perceived to be a threat to stability in Elizabethan England.

  5. Chloe says:

    Bacis Puritans could be said to have posed a threat to Elizabeth because of the volume of them within the government itself. However they were mostly made of the lower clergy and lacked in education making them unorgainised. The Puritans became more orgainised in 1571 when they introduced the Stricklands Bill within Parliament making them seem like a bigger threat. The threat didn’t last long as Elizabeth used the House of Lords to defeat the bill and developed the 39 articles to clamp down on nonconformity. Elizabeth’s actions ended the basic Puritans and the Presbytarians took over.
    Presbytarians seemed more of a threat as they had more radical ideas but were mostly in London so were very limited. They disrupted London meeting by having Presbytarians within London at the same time, which seemed like they had more support then they actually did. Their attempts to change the Religious Settlement failed as they were too forceful and the government used this against them e.g. the Martin Marprelates Tracts. The bills proposed by them in Parliament were easily confiscated by Elizabeth as they had little support.
    Sepratarians were even more radical in their ideas so Elizabeth saw them as the most threatening and over exaggerated their influence. As a group there was very few members and the leaders of the Brownists and Barrowists were swiftly taken care of before they could cause any serious opposition to the Religious Settlement. Elizabeth conquered their slight threat by introducing the Acts against Seditious Secretaries which forced the Sepratists and Presbytarians completely underground.
    The groups of Puritans could be seen as threat to the Religious Settlement as with every advancement, they became more radical, but with fewer members and followers.

  6. Jenny Anderson says:

    All forms of Puritanism were considered to be a threat to the Elizabethan regime as they posed a direct opposition to the nature of the Religious Settlement of 1559. Presbytarianism in particular was perceived to be a threat as they were, initially, a well organised group (due to John Field’s influence), that were able to potentially influence parliament. Indeed, both Juror and Cope (in 1584 and 1587 respectively) introduced a Private Member’s Bill calling for a more Genevan Style prayer book. This publically conflicted with Elizabeth’s religious settlement thus making the Presbytarian sect a threat to the stability of government. The underground nature of the Prophesysing meetings furthered the assessment by the Elizabethan regime that Puritans posed a threat to the establishment. The fact that Elizabeth couldn’t monitor the ecclesiastical discussions of ministers meant that the actual threat of the Puritans was difficult to judge, thus resulting in Elizabeth’s overreaction to the Purtian movement.
    However, the extent to which they were an actual threat can be debated. Although Neale would argue there was a solid Puritan Choir body present in the House of Commons that manipulated the monarch, this is an unlikely reflection of the true nature of the influence of Puritanism. Those with Puritan sympathies were at the 3% mark, therefore making the extent to which they could pose a serious threat is doubtful due to the sheer lack of support. In addition, the Puritan group was further weakened by the substantial divisions within this branch of religious beliefs. The Separatists are a noteable example of the divisions present where there were the Barrowists and the Brownists. The divisions meant that their potential to assert a substantial threat to the Elizabethan regime was diminished as they couldn’t internally agree on the extent of reform they desired. Furthermore, Marprelate’s Tracts of 1588 alienated the potential for a larger reisistance to the ambiguous religious settlement due to its excessively radical proposals to dissolve the episcopacy. It is the combination of the internal divisions and the failure to generate any meaningful support that results in the conclusion being drawn that Puritanism wasn’t a threat to the Elizabethan regime.

  7. TheMikecrowave says:

    Separatists provided a threat to Elizabeth through their radical ideology in denial that a national church was not possible. Their views conflicted the settlement Elizabeth produced and she perceived this as a sublime threat as she used extremely severe punishments against them, prominently through the execution of two of the leading sepretarians in Barrow and Greenwood. However in practice they were few in number and showed limited organisational skills.

    Similarly Presbyterians proved to be threatening to Elizabeth. They supported a church which Elizabeth would find hard to control. They had support in the highest ranks of Government and from Grindal, the Archbishop of Canterbury, which was a threat to Elizabeth. We can understand that the Queen perceived them as threatening as she suspended Grindal from utilisation of his offices. A further threat Presbyterians offered was that there dominant leader John Field was a sublime organiser and organised Presb meeting in conjunction with parliament. Conclusively the biggest threat Elizabeth received from Presbs was their organisation and influence in Parliament.

    Furthermore Elizabeth also perceived the threat from conformists as a significant one. A big threat they offered was that they failed to recognise a female monarch as head of the church. A further threat they posed was the fact they had significant support. We can see that the conformists had parliamentary influence as the Earl of Leicester and Lord Burghley supported the Puritan cause. We clearly see that the Queen perceived them as a threat as after Strickland introduced a bill to reform the Book of prayer Elizabeth produced in her settlement she barred him from the House of Commons.

  8. Joshwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa says:

    The puritan movement was a clear threat to Elizabeths regime, they posed a prominent opposition to her Religious settlement in 1559, and ran the risk of enraging the populace of Catholics in England around this period. The Conformists posed a threat to Elizabeth mainly due to their scale in numbers, they were large in size and had very infulencial supporters of their movement. The Earl of Leister, noticably one of the Queens most favored ministers was openly a purtian. William Cecil, Elizabeths most infulencial member of parliment was know to have purtain sympathey. Showing that the conformist puritains had strong infulences within her parliment, which could have proved very dangerious under certain circumstances.

    The Presbytarian group, however far smaller than the regular conformist puritains, were far more extreme in their belieifs. They wanted a structure of church that would prove very difficult for Elizabeth to manipulate, in turn becoming a threat to both her stabilty as a monarch, and to her religious settlement. Furthermore, Edmund Grindal, the Archbishop of Canterbury was a key supporter of Presbytarian. This was potentally very dangerious for Elizabeth, as the most influencial member of the church excluding herself, was a supporter of a radical fundamenatist group that already posed a large threat to her postion as “Supreme Governer” of the church
    The Separatists, were far less of a threat than the potentailly could have been, as they were very radical with their veiws, and not just threatened Elizabeths religious settlement, the entire church of England, as they did not feel that a national church was a possible solution. However they had no key memebers in their group and seemed to be divided on their ideas.

  9. Ellie says:

    All forms of Puritanism can be seen as threatening to the stability of Elizabethan England due to the fact that they disagreed with the Religious Settlement, which was one of the most fundamental groundings of the Elizabethan era. The Puritans can be seen as a threat because they had sympathy from within the Church and the upper classes. For example, Strickland’s Bill to reform the prayer book was denied by Elizabeth; therefore she obviously disagreed with it. However as her actions angered parliament it suggests that, due to the support the bill received from MPs who were in positions of power, that there was a conceivable threat. This is emphasized as Elizabeth felt the need to destroy the bill presented and supported by Puritans, however the size of the threat can be disputed, as she had the ability to discard the bill with relative ease; using the House of Lords for support.
    The Presbyterian movement could also be considered a threat due to its proximity to the Queen and her parliament. John Field led meetings within London at the same time as Parliament was in session, and again had the approval of prominent figures such as the Earl of Leicester. It is also possible that Elizabeth considered the Presbyterians as a larger threat than the Puritans as they grew from her own actions. Radical Puritans moved towards Presbyterianism after her dismissal of Strickland’s Bill, and now favored an anti-Episcopal structure. Therefore, the threat had increased. However, Presbyterianism was not hugely widespread, and so even though they were more organised and had more radical ideas, their threat was not much bigger than the Puritans.
    Separatism can be considered the most threatening form of Puritanism, as it’s aims to establish a church entirely separate from the Church of England would mean that the Queen herself would have been undermined. Therefore Elizabeth perceived it as a threat, however even though it was the most extreme in its views; it had the least amount of support in and out of parliament, and was divided itself. Separatism had extreme views and therefore had the appearance of being a threat, when in actual fact it lacked a larger power base and a higher level of support.
    Overall all forms of Puritanism were a threat to Elizabeth. Each form had a considerable impact, and caused issues within the hierarchy of the church as well as disputes between parliamentary officials; causing the Queen herself to act to stop them. However there were other issues which presented a bigger threat to Elizabeth, such as the foreign relations, and as she managed to control Puritanism with relative ease; it is possible to conclude that although a note-worthy threat to the stability of the country, it was not the biggest.

  10. Annabel says:

    Due to their direct opposition with Elizabeth’s religious settlement of 1559, all forms of Puritanism can be considered as a threat. More so, the Presbyterians were perceived as the largest threat due to their successful organiser, John Field. Meeting’s were held in London by Field which had the approval and support of important figures such as the Earl of Leicester. The threat of the Presbyterians increased once Elizabeth dismissed Strickland’s Bill. Elizabeth over-reacted and barred him from the House of Commons suggesting that Elizabeth herself saw Presbyterianism as a threat. However this could also suggest the power Elizabeth had as Queen as she was easily able to destroy the bill without much conflict from Parliment.
    However the threat from the Presbytarians can be debated as, although they were highly organised and had extreme views, their numbers limited their impact on the religious settlement and therefore their threat weakened along with their numbers. Also, although Neale argues that the Puritan choir within the House of Commons had a large influence over Elizabeth and her decisions as monarch, especially concerning the religious settlement, it is unlikely that they had too much of an influence over Elizabeth’s ruling. Another reason to support that Puritanism was not a threat to Elizabeth was The Separatists which were divided into The Barrowists and The Brownists. This division meant that they could not be a huge threat to Elizabeth due to their lack of numbers and therefore, their influence weakened and with it their threat.
    Overall, Puritanism throughout Elizabeth’s reign can be seen as a threat due to their extremist views and support from important figures in Parliment, but their lack of numbers meant that they had little influence over Elizabeth’s ruling and therefore their threat decreased. Although the Strickland’s Bill was refused and Elizabeth over-reacted, her ability to refuse the bill suggets the Puritans lack of influence and threat to Elizabeth as there was little opposition, even though her over-reaction suggests otherwise. Throughout Elizabeth’s reign she had many other threats to deal with including foreign relations and Catholicism throughout England, and so Puritanism was not much of a threat to Elizabeth.

  11. Sophie says:

    Initially, Puritans posed a threat to Elizabeth, they had high numbers and were united, with some parliamentary support as one of the Queens minister’s, the Earl of Leicester, was a Puritan. The Puritans had been successful enough for a MP to introduce a bill of reform for the Book of Common Prayer, and thus being able to achieve this much meant that they may have posed a threat as they had influence over the parliament. However, Elizabeth’s leniency towards their Acts of Reform could also suggest that it did not pose that much of a threat.
    From this point on wards, the threat decreased as the numbers did, and a divide within the Puritans led to more radical ideas, which weren’t as successful. The Presbyterians which emerged from the Conformist Puritans, had great organisational skills, and were able to discuss their focus; however they did not cover all areas of the country, but did have influence in parliament, which meant they were able to go as far as introducing a private members bill. As Elizabeth quickly stopped this, it could suggest they posed a threat, however as it was so easily dismissed, it in fact shows that even the more radical Presbyterians weren’t a large threat.
    The Separatists were the most radical of the Puritans, this meant that they had little support from the Church or Parliament, and although Elizabeth did begin to employ harsher punishments, such as arresting Catwright, again it meant that she removed the threats and drastic ideas for further reform which they had.
    As there were continuous divisions between the Puritans themselves, their inability to gain any real support, and as Elizabeth was able to remove them with ease, meant they posed very little threat to Elizabeth.

  12. James says:

    While the Puritans were certainly seen as a threat by Elizabeth herself, the true extent of this threat was in fact fairly insignificant, and at no point in Elizabeth’s reign did the issue flare into rebellion or major issues within government.
    Conformist Puritans were not a major threat to Elizabeth – they were not an organized group and were prepared to accept the terms of the settlement. At this time, Puritans made up only 3% of the population, and hence did not have widespread support. However, due to strong support amongst the educated classes and within the House of Commons, Elizabeth did perceive this group as a threat. Parker’s Advertisements and the Vestiarian Controversy could be interpreted as a sign that Elizabeth was opposed to further reform, and indicated clearly to the Puritans that she would not amend the settlement. Furthermore, Elizabeth’s angry reaction to Strickland’s Bill of 1571, which proposed only moderate reform, demonstrates her waryness of the Puritan threat. The reaction of Parliament to Elizabeth’s decision to bar Strickland from the Commons was perhaps more of an issue of privileges than evidence for significant Puritan sympathy within government.
    Presbyterians were the most threatening Puritan group, which ironically gathered support after Elizabeth’s strong opposition to reform, and her unwise appointment of Grindal as Archbishop of Canterbury, who sympathized with the Presbyterian cause. John Field’s leadership made the Presbyterian movement an organised and effective opposition to Elizabeth and her religious settlement, but was neither united enough nor powerful enough to force any kind of reform. That Juror’s Bill and Cope’s Bill were both confiscated by Elizabeth shows that, on the one hand, Elizabeth was very worried about the Presbyterian threat, but on the other hand, that the threat was easily dealt with and did not cause instability.
    The Separatists, who were made up of only the most radical of Puritans, never really presented a threat, but Elizabeth exercised a very harsh policy against them, executing some of the leaders, and imprisoning other key figures, such as Cartwright. By this point, of course, Elizabeth need not worry about the Puritan reaction to such actions, as the movement had splintered and become divided over ideological issues, and as such the Puritans never presented a threat to Elizabeth. However, there was a potential for danger, as shown by the level of support for reform acts within Parliament, and the need for Elizabeth to intervene suggests that she feared the legislation may have been passed. Elizabeth however, constantly overreacted to the Puritan threat, perceiving them as a far greater threat than the evidence suggests; the Puritans were not a threat to stability, but they were perceived to be so by Elizabeth.

  13. Shelby says:

    Puritanism posed a threat to the stability of Elizabethan England because as the years passed the seperate groups opposing the reform became more severe. If the Puritans and Presbytarians united it would propose a serious threat to the stability of Elizabeth’s reformation. The presbytarians tried to get a private members bill ‘Copes bill’ passed proposing a more Genevan Style prayer book and church government; because they posed a threat to the government it forced Elizabeth to make ammendments to the articles of Reform to try and encourage them to sign the bill. After John fields death the presbytarians lost their strength and continued to decline, he was basicall the glue holding them together, which led the way for separatism.
    The separatists wanted to form a completely autonomous church. These posed the greatest form of puritan threat against the government because its level of support was low it didnt seem to worrying to the government. The separatists were divided into two seperate groups which showed the seriousness of there views and radical tactics. The Brownists and the Barrowists wanted the same thing but felt had different methods in trying to beat Elizabeths reforms.
    The low level support ment that their threat was limited and eventually the classis movement ended with the death of field and cartwright; the 1593 Act Against Seditious Secretaries in conjunction with the ex-oficio oath proved effective in putting an end to the puritan threats and any other anti-authoriy group trying to emerge within government.

  14. almazRish says:

    While each devolution of puritainsim in theory, posed a threat to Elizabeth’s religious settlement and the church, in actual practice, this was hardly the case. Both conformitism, presybetarianism and sepretism lacked the substantial weight – influence, support, etcetera – to have any real lasting effect on the 39 articles, as they held strong throughout the entirety of her reign. They were only regarded as a threat because of their outright objection to the settlement, and refusal to conform. That, and John Field’s organisation skills in arranging a key puritain meeting that coincided with Parliament. However this may be, it is known that no rebellion surfaced from their defiance, indicating the extent to just how little they threatened her stability – though the opposite was percieved by Elizabeth. In reality, their numbers were far too scarce. Even if the seperatists were dangerous because of their ideology, because of the extremism there, and the bitter conflict from within the movement, they had little interest from the public, just skeptisism. The more extreme the views, the more you repel people. The catholics on the other hand, in comparison, were far more threatening to her stability and the settlement – though not overly dangerous themselves.

  15. Sarah E says:

    It is possible to argue that conformist puritans posed little threat to the stability in England – they were prepared to work within the church in the hope of gradual reform, following the same stance as Peter Martyr, to ‘reform from within’ thus causing little threat to the 1559 religious settlement as no real action was taken. Arguably, the only true threat conformist puritans posed was that more radical Puritans evolved as a result, in particular Presbyterians. The danger Presbyterians posed is evident in the reaction of the Queen; she employed formidable powers to suppress the percieved threat. This was perhaps due to the Presbyterians support from key figures such as Edmund Grindal; the Archbishop of Canterbury. His support in prophesyings ultimately led to his suspension, highlighting Elizabeth’s perception of threat. Furthermore, the Presbyterians appeared to be a growing threat, particularly in parliament as Peter Juror’s Genevan prayer book received much more support than anticipated in 1584. The separatists were less of a threat – they were few in number and completely without elite support which gave them little standing to pose as a great threat to the religious settlement. It is clear that despite the growing Puritan movement following the religious settlement of 1559, the monarch dealt with it effectively and efficiently as the religious settlement was strong enough to be upheld throughout the rest of Elizabeth’s reign.

  16. adamskinator says:

    The threat of the puritan movement can be seen as a potentially dangeorus threat to Eliz however it is often argued that this threat was exaggerated. A main reason for its perception as being a threat was due to the fact that the Puritans had high numbers and was initially well organsied. However, the split into three different groups with declining support made them less of a danger to Eliz.

    Conformist Puritans were willing to to work with the Church on the hope that there would be gradual reform. This group caused no real concern for Eliz and no harsh or extrmeme measures were needed in order to suppress its followers.

    As for the presbytarians, they posed a greater threat. Not only was there support but there was also support from people of higher positions. Edmund Grindal who was AoC was supportive of the pesbytarian movement and reguarly particiapated in prophesyings in order to spread the word of God. The Queen disliked these and beleived that it encouraged radicalism. Once Grindall refused to stop them he was suspended from his postion as AoC. This clearly shows how Eliz felt action was needed in order to prevent a growing support for the cause. Another issue was the activity of John Field. He was able to organise meetings to coincide with Parliament as well as appealing to Parliament for support. This would give evidence to support the fact that there was clear threat for Eliz, however, with the death of John Field and the lack of organisation within the Presbytarian movement, its danger declined.

    The separist group represented the greatest possible threat and Elizabeth had issued savage penalities against them but due to them having small support and lacking any from the higher class they never really got into their stride.

  17. Bradley says:

    As Elizabeth was consolidating her power within her new religious settlement the pose of any threat whether it be small or large was enough to get it dealt with and with the rise of an ever looming Puritan movement the factor of a threat was becoming more a reality. The Presbyterians were the main force to be reckoned with as they posed the largest threat to Elizabeth’s stability as during the years 1584-88 they were at their most organised, led by John field. A man who led so many arguments against the Church of England that he was forced to stop preaching for eight years, insistent on wanting to get rid of Roman Catholic elements in the Protestant act of uniformity. This figurehead for Presbyterianism was what made the threat ever so greater as with his arguments and a potential zealous force he could of sparked a rebellion but luckily for Elizabeth there was divisions within the movement. Another potential threat tot he stability of the throne was the small advancement of the separatists however their views were so radical that they only really managed to gain a select people willing to follow their beliefs. Two groups were formed the barrowists and Brownists named after their leaders, fortunately for Elizabeth both groups broke apart quickly and thus ended a major threat if had ever got the chance to be large enough. If the groups hadn’t become so divided and had gained a large following they may have well had the potential to overthrow Elizabeth but due to a strong Protestant doctrine and the backing of large percentage of the English people, Elizabeth it could be argued had very little to worry about.

  18. michael gove says:

    The Puritans were seen as a threat arguably by Elizabeth herself, yet the true extent of this threat was in fact insignificant when assessing the amount of followers of the raidcal and most threatening groups. At no point in Elizabeth’s reign did the issue flare into rebellion or major issues within government. Showing that the views of the groups were extreme yet weren’t acted upon, whether due to lack of confidence through organisation: an example being the Conformist Puritans as they were not an organized group and were prepared to accept the terms of the settlement, or through lack of followers to their group as at this time, Puritans made up only 3% of the population, and hence did not have widespread support.
    However, due to the strong support amongst the educated classes and from people with high positions in the House of Commons – a key figure being Leicester – they did perceive this group as a threat to Elizabeth. Rebellions from the Puritans suchg as the Parker’s Advertisements and the Vestiarian Controversy could be interpreted as a sign that Elizabeth was opposed by the Puritans and that was a way to make their views heard to further her need for reform, Yet her response indicated clearly to the Puritans that she would not amend the settlement further.
    As for the presbytarians, they arguably posed a greater threat to Elizabeth as not only was there support from the masses; but there was also support from people of higher positions. Edmund Grindal: the AoC was supportive of the pesbytarian movement and reguarly particiapated in meetings in order to spread the word of God. However Elizabeth was strongly against prophesyings as she beleived they encouraged radicalism, and Elizabeth, mentally was questioning whether she was able to combat the possible radical rebellions which possibly may occur. Yet; once Grindall refused to stop them, he was suspended from his postion as AoC, thus showing Elizabeth showed herself to be able to defetat possible threats without feeling the need to execute people the reaction was appropraite in order to prevent a growing support . The organisation – as mentioned earlier -was arguably another reason for the threat to Elizabeth as John Field was able to organise meetings to coincide with Parliament as well as to appealing to Parliamentary key figures for support. This would give evidence to support the fact that there was clear threat for Elizabeth. Yet once the death of John Field was the case, there was a significant lack of organisation within the Presbytarian movement, resulting in the danger declining.

  19. Talullah says:

    Thank you for these posts – combined they have each been very helpful! Thanks again.

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