LEAD - A group of about a hundred religious refugees from England has been reported in Leiden. she ladder, predikant John Robinson, has made an official request to settle in the city in a letter to the city council. The city council has therefore agreed.

The refugees left about a year ago from the town of Scrooby, near Nottingham. They profess strict puritan Christian faith and left the Anglican church. Because they are prosecuted, the group decided to leave for Holland.

Holland has long been known for the fact that religious minorities are not prosecuted. The region is therefore a magnet for groups who are persecuted in their own country. The newcomers provide a major economic boost. The relative calm, Now the war with Spain short break, zoegt sure that Holland has become an attractive place.

An earlier attempt by the group to come to the Netherlands failed two years ago. It is not allowed to leave England without permission. A second attempt succeeded so well.

Port of Amsterdam. Pieter Bast (round 1600)


The first group arrived in Amsterdam. In previous years there were many Englishmen come to Amsterdam. Not only political refugees, but also merchants and soldiers.

The Puritans care regarding their views not much of the Protestant Dutch. Yet the Puritans establish their own churches and they did not go to a Dutch church. Soon arose within the Puritan churches quarrels over policy.

The group from Scrooby was afraid of being drawn into the arguments and therefore decided to leave after a year Amsterdam. The Puritans chose Leiden, the second city of Holland, because the city experienced a period of unprecedented prosperity. The presence of the Calvinist College played a role.

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The council meeting today the official request of the Puritans was to settle here discussed. In the letter, Robinson explained that he moved about a hundred followers in the town and that she would go to work.

"Jan Rabarthsen, servant of the divine word, and such 100 men and women belong to the Christian Reformed religion, all born in the Kingdom of Great Britain, give to know the necessary reverence and humility about the first of May that they want to establish in this city, with all the freedom that, in order to do their job, without anyone to bother. They turn to you honorable city leaders and pray for you this to give them permission to perform the requested "

(Rough translation of the letter from John Robinson at the Leiden city council, 1609)

The council replied that could not be refused only honest person in the city, provided that the group would adhere to the laws in force in the city. Actually the Puritans were not required to obtain permission.


Where the English newcomers live exactly is not clear. The chance that they are going to build a church in the town is not big, because they have to fund yourself. They should not use anyway existing churches in town.

Hoe ging het verder?

The group of Robinson was finally eleven years in Leiden. Under Robinson became the church into such 300 membership. Several houses were built near the Kloksteeg. In one of those houses were probably held services.

The British authorities got wind of the Puritans fled. The English ambassador came redress in Leiden, but the city remained at the conclusion that Robinson and his followers were welcome in the city. The story that they had fled, has been called into question by the city government as nonsense.

Robinson made a name. He went to work at the University and also played a part in the Synod of Dordrecht. He was several times in this "church meeting’ have been in discussion with remonstrants and would have won that debate.

Ten years later, most Puritans decided anyway to leave from Leiden. A large proportion of them had little money and lived in poverty. They also examined professed their faith with suspicion to the Dutchmen. That was far too freely of the Puritans to it.

In addition, the end of the twelve-year truce with Spain played a role to leave. And one of the puriteiten was slain in the spring, because he was mistaken for a Remonstrant.

About a hundred faithful went to America. through Delfshaven (Rotterdam) England and they came with the Mayflower in England. This group is called the Pilgrim Fathers.


Wikipedia – Pilgrim Fathers (NL)

Wikipedia – Pilgrim Fathers (IN)

W.H. Bartlett, Pilgrim Fathers: The founders of New England (London, 1853)

Pelgrimskerk Delfshaven

Leiden Pilgrim Museum

Text: Dave Datema

published: 01 oktober 2017

story number: 04

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