Were the Puritans or Roman Catholics a Greater Threat to James the First between 1603 and 1606?
How successfully had he dealt with them by 1606?
In the period of James’ reign religion formed a very crucial role in almost everybody’s life. Religion was so important because it was thought that it determined whether a person’s soul would go to heaven or not. The Church of England had been established by a number of acts of Parliament at the start of Elizabeth the first’s reign after the upheavals of the mid sixteenth century under Edward and Mary. The Church of England contained elements of deliberate ambiguity. For example, the services were Protestant but they could have a Catholic meaning to them if people wished so. This worked well in short term and people liked this new church but there were extreme Catholics and Protestants who wanted a change. When James came to the throne in 1603 it was these two groups of people who awaited his arrival with anticipation.
Puritans was the name given to an extreme group of Protestants within the Church of England who thought the English Reformation had not gone far enough in reforming the doctrines and structure of the church; they wanted to purify their national church by eliminating every shred of Catholic influence. In addition, they wanted the Church of England purified of any liturgy, ceremony, or practices which were not found in Scripture. This is where the name puritans comes from. The Bible was their sole authority, and they believed it applied to every area and level of life.