Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Puritans, a name given to those who refused to assent to Elizabeth's Act of Uniformity on the ground that it was too favourable to Romish doctrine and ritual. According to Strype, it was first applied in 1569, but Fuller mentions its use as early as 1564. The earlier Puritans for the most part advocated a Presbyterian form of government; Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity marks the final position of the Church of England against them. During the reigns of James I. and Charles I.' the main body of the Puritans continued to hold Presbyterian and Calvinistic views; but the Independents were now gaining strength, and before the establishment of the Commonwealth the term Puritan had become identified with them rather than the Presbyterians. The change in the use of the term was justified by the character of those to whom it was applied, for the Independents were even more remarkable for their austere lives than the Presbyterians. After the Restoration the term "Puritan" fell into disuse, "Nonconformist" and "Dissenter" taking its place.