TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Where did the “Pilgrims” first try for religious freedom?

December 18, 2012 ( – America, or the “new world,” was not the first place “separatists” from England tried to find religious freedom.

By PS | December 18, 2012

In 1608, a congregation of disgruntled English Protestants from the village of Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, left England and moved to Leyden, Holland, because they did not want to pledge allegiance to the Church of England, which they believed was corrupt and idolatrous and they hoped in Holland they would be free to worship as they liked. 

The “separatists” (who called themselves “saints”) did find religious freedom in Holland, but also a secular life that was more difficult to navigate than they had anticipated, according to For one thing, Dutch craft guilds excluded the migrants, so they were relegated to menial, low-paying jobs. Secondly, Holland’s easygoing, cosmopolitan atmosphere proved sed.uctive to some of the saints’ children. They decided to move again, this time to a place without government interference or worldly distraction.  

They returned to England to get organized, then joined other groups to journey to the “new world.”