Hi Mike.I’m only going by what I’ve read concerning Richard Mather.Apparently, he refused to wear a liturgical vestment (surplice or papal robe) as well as seeing Conformity as a sin; and after fifteen years of preaching he was “silenced” in 1633 for “nonconformity” by the ecclesiastical authorities of the Church of England.He was briefly reinstated, then silenced again in 1634.After that he decided to take his family and head for the Colonies.
In “The A to Z of the Puritans” by Charles Pastoor and Galen K. Johnson, the authors say, on page 207, that Richard Mather, in England, “became increasingly committed to an Independent model of church government,” and caught the attention of Archbishops William Laud and Richard Neile, who suspended him for Nonconformity in 1633.They say that, after Mather corresponded with Thomas Hooker, he became committed to relocating to New England.
Thomas Hooker had also been suppressed by Archbishop Laud in 1629 and forced to retire, and his leadership of Puritan sympathizers brought him a summons to the Court of High Commission.After that he fled to Rotterdam, Holland and from there took off for the Massachusetts Bay Colony aboard the ship “Griffin.”
From what I gather, these clerics refused to conform to the Anglican Church Discipline in their uniformity of worship according to the Book of Common Prayer.Archbishop Hooker saw them, and Puritans in general, as a threat to the Church; and pursued Puritans in the infamous Star Chamber, where self-incrimination could be compelled and torture frequently used.Those convicted of Sedition and Libel had their nose or ear cut off and had the letters “SL” branded on their cheek (Sedition and Libel).Under Archbishop Laud’s tenure the SL became known as the “Sign of Laud.”
I guess Richard Mather read the writing on the wall and joined the Puritan exodus to Massachusetts.