Elizabethan puritans had to spend a lot of time assuring people that they had no desire to overthrow the queen. Since Elizabeth I had faced repeated uprisings and conspiracies from Catholics, who opposed her religion from one end of the spiritual spectrum, many in positions of power feared such rebellion from the opposite end. Puritans, however, were campaigning for Church reform from a position of complete loyalty. In the eyes of the Lord Chief Justice, being a radical puritan meant being ‘a very rebel’, ready to ‘draw thy sword, and lift up thy hand against thy prince’. The puritan in question assured him, not unexpectedly: ‘Not so, my Lord, a true subject.’
It was, therefore, bad luck for the movement that in 1591, as its leaders languished in jail for their nonconformity, a puritan malt manufacturer from Northamptonshire said God had told him to overthrow the queen and become king of Europe.