The Mayflower set sail
for America in 1620, taking with her families in search of religious
freedom. These families would eventually settle in what is now
known as New England, but the origins of their religious views
lie in the Gainsborough area.
The Separatists' methods of
worship evolved in the relatively tolerant times of Elizabeth
1. Seeking the freedom to worship in their own way, separate from
the Church of England, many of the
Separatists studied at Cambridge, where they developed their religious
views under their leader Robert Browne.
One of these scholars, William
Brewster, was the son of the postmaster of Scrooby. Elizabeth's
successor, James 1, was less tolerant (and indeed outlawed the
Separatist Church in 1604). Browne and a group of like-minded
people had escaped to Holland in 1578 and 30 years later were
joined by Brewster. However, Brewster, now committed to the Separatist
movement, returned to Scrooby and together with like-minded people
such as Richard Clyfton (rector of nearby Babworth Church), John
Robinson and his wife (from Sturton-le-Steeple) and John Smyth
(from Lincoln) continued to worship in their own way.