Store Banner Desktop

Store Banner Mobile

Pilgrims going to church.	Source: Public Domain

Why Did the Puritans Leave England for America? (Video)

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Now known as the Pilgrims, the departure of the Puritans from England was spurred by a confluence of religious, political, and social factors during the early 17th century. Emerging from the Protestant Reformation, which challenged the authority of the Catholic Church, the Puritans sought to purify the Church of England from residual Catholic practices. Their dissatisfaction stemmed from the sluggish pace of reformation within the Church, which retained many Catholic rituals and doctrines despite severing ties with Rome.

Queen Elizabeth I's cautious approach to religious reforms, balancing between Catholic and Protestant interests, provided limited space for the Puritans to express their reformist zeal. King James I's reign saw further tensions, as his clashes with the Puritans over issues like priestly vestments and Calvinist doctrine exacerbated their discontent.

The situation worsened under King Charles I, whose overt Catholicism prompted many Puritans to seek sanctuary in the Americas. Motivated by a fervent desire for religious freedom and the opportunity to establish communities based on their ideals, Puritans embarked on perilous voyages on ships like the Mayflower, founding colonies like Plymouth and the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Driven by a fervent desire for religious purity and autonomy, the Puritans left England to forge a new existence in the New World, where they could practice their faith without interference. Their migration peaked during the early 17th century, marking a significant chapter in both English and American history.

Top image: Pilgrims going to church.       Source: Public Domain

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

Next article