1612, pilgrims

The Pilgrims who settled New England were Independents, peculiar in their ecclesiastical tenet that the single congregation of godly persons, however few or humble, regularly organized for Christ's work, is of right, by divine appointment, the highest ecclesiastical authority on earth. A church of this order existed in London by 1568; another, possibly more than one, the "Brownists," by 1580. Barrowe and Greenwood began a third in 1588, which, its founders being executed, went exiled to Amsterdam in 1593, subsequently uniting with the Presbyterians there. These churches, though independent, were not strictly democratic, like those next to be named.

Soon after 1600 John Smyth gathered a church at Gainsborough in Lincolnshire, England, which persecution likewise drove to Amsterdam.
Here Smyth seceded and founded a Baptist church, which, returning to London in 1611 or 1612, became the first church of its kind known to have existed in England. From Smyth's church at Gainsborough sprang one at Scrooby, in Nottinghamshire, and this, too, exiled like its parent, crossed to Holland, finding home in Leyden in 1607 and 1608. Of this church John Robinson was pastor, and from its bosom came the Plymouth Colony to New England.


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