The nucleus of the group came into being in the meetings of a group of Puritans (see Puritanism) at Scrooby, a village in Nottinghamshire, England. Opposed to the episcopal jurisdiction and the rites and discipline of the Church of England, the group had formed as a separatist church by 1606, with John Robinson eventually becoming their minister. The congregation was composed mainly of farmers and artisans, men of little education or position, although William Brewster, one of their leaders, was a man of some importance in the town and had spent some time at the Univ. of Cambridge. Although not actively persecuted, the group was subjected to ecclesiastical investigation and to the mockery, criticism, and disfavor of their neighbors.
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