The 17th century Protestant Church in England had a Puritan element. However, the 1662 Act of Uniformity required that all ministers should declare publicly their assent to the Book of Common Prayer, and that those not episcopally ordained (made priest by a Bishop) should be deprived of their livings. Consequently some 2,000 Puritan clergy were ejected from their livings. In many cases their congregations followed them and together they set up Nonconforming assemblies. These were the forerunners of today's Free Churches. Worship in these assemblies was simple; reading and preaching from the Bible occupied the central place and the prayers were not prepared but of the moment. Such assemblies were illegal and, if discovered, those involved were imprisoned or heavily fined or deprived of their goods and chattels. Many paid dearly for their determination to be free to worship God as their conscience dictated without the constraints of a prayer book.
Bunyan's essential beliefs
Bunyan stood in the Puritan tradition of the 17th century Church. He understood the need for conversion and personal faith.
Bunyan Meeting today is an independent Church that is in membership with the Baptist Union and the Congregational Federation.