Christian History Timeline: The English Puritans

1509 Henry VIII becomes king of England

1526 William Tyndale’s English New Testament published

1534 Henry VIII leads Parliament in break with Roman Catholic Church and becomes ‘supreme head of the Church of England”

1547 Edward VI becomes king and advances Protestantism

1549 First version of Book of Common Prayer published

1553 Mary Tudor becomes queen and labors to reestablish Roman Catholicism; nearly 300 Protestants are martyred during her reign, including Thomas Cranmer

1558 Elizabeth inherits throne and restores Anglicanism

1558 William Perkins is born

1559 Act of Uniformity requires use of Book of Common Prayer for public worship

1567 Controversy over clerical vestments is symptom of Puritans’ desire for further reformation

1570 Puritan leader Thomas Cartwright deprived of teaching post at Cambridge for criticizing Anglican liturgy and government

1571 Parliament approves Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion stating doctrinal beliefs of English church

1583 John Whitgift becomes Archbishop of Canterbury and enforces uniformity in public worship

1588 England’s navy defeats the Spanish Armada

1599 Oliver Cromwell is born

1602 Death of William Perkins

1603 James VI of Scotland becomes James I of England

1604 James I rejects most Puritan requests for reform included in their “Millenary Petition”

1608 John Milton is born

1611 King James Version published

1616 Richard Baxter and john Owen are born; William Shakespeare dies

1618 James I advocates Sunday recreation in opposition to Puritan Sabbatarianism

1618 Thirty Years War begins in central Europe

1620 The “Pilgrims,” Puritan Separatists who had fled to the Netherlands, sail to America and found colony at Plymouth, Massachusetts

1625 Charles I becomes king

1628 Oliver Cromwell becomes Member of Parliament

1628 John Bunyan is born

1633 William Laud appointed Archbishop of Canterbury; “Great Migration” of Puritans to New England

1641 The House of Commons presents Charles I with Grand Remonstrance

1641 Richard Baxter becomes pastor in Kidderminster

1642 English Civil War begins; most Puritans side with Parliament against King Charles I

1643 Parliament calls assembly of Puritan leaders, who produce Westminster Confession of Faith, Larger and Shorter Catechisms, and Directory of Worship

1645 Archbishop William Laud executed by Puritan-run Parliament

1645 Charles I defeated by Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentary army

1646 George Fox founds the Quaker movement

1647 John Owen’s The Death of Death in the Death of Christ espouses limited atonement

1649 Charles I is beheaded by Parliament; Commonwealth begins under leadership of Oliver Cromwell

1649 Cromwell massacres 3,500 Irishmen at Drogheda

1653 Cromwell becomes England’s “Lord Protector,” dissolves Parliament, and advances Puritan objectives

1656 Richard Baxter publishes The Reformed Pastor

1658 Death of Oliver Cromwell on September 3

1660 Parliament restores the monarchy; Charles II becomes king

1660 Richard Baxter moves to London and is appointed chaplain to Charles II

1662 Act of Uniformity passed and 2,000 clergy, including Richard Baxter, ejected from parishes

1662 Richard Baxter marries Margaret Charlton

1665 Great Plague kills nearly 70,000 in London

1665 Five Mile Act forbids nonconformists from coming within five miles of former parishes or corporate towns

1667 John Milton’s Paradise Lost published

1672 Declaration of Indulgence pardons some imprisoned nonconformists

1674 Death of John Milton

1678 John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress published

1681 Death of Margaret Baxter, wife of Richard Baxter

1683 Death of John Owen

1685 Charles’s Catholic brother James II takes throne; persecution of nonconformists intensifies

1685 Richard Baxter imprisoned until November 1686

1688 Glorious Revolution: William and Mary become king and queen of England

1688 Death of John Bunyan

1689 Puritans regain freedom of worship through Act of Toleration

1691 Death of Richard Baxter on December 8

By the Editors

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #89 in 2006]

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