So where did all we Quakers come from in the first place?
England at the beginning of the 17th century was in a time of social and political change. Bitter struggles raged between the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church, and various more extreme Protestant and Puritan groups. William Caxton’s introduction to England of the printing press 200 years earlier together with the new modern English translation of the Bible recently authorised in 1611 by King James I, and the consequent increased access to the scriptures (which prior to the reformation had been largely controlled by the priests educated in Latin) served to intensify the struggle even further. A hundred years had passed since Martin Luther commenced his attempted reformation of the Church, and there was a growing feeling that the new Protestantism had slipped into just the same dogmatic rigidity of form over the direct spiritual experience Luther was originally protesting against.