Brewster, William

Brewster, William,

1567–1644, English separatist and Plymouth colonist. After studying briefly at Cambridge he became the chief member of the congregation at Scrooby that broke away, or separated, from the Anglican Church in 1606; the members, after their migration to Holland in 1608, were known as Pilgrims. On his press at Leiden, Brewster printed a number of religious books and tracts that were distributed throughout England. Returning to England in 1617, he helped make arrangements for the Pilgrim migration to America and in 1620 embarked on the Mayflower with his wife, two sons, and two indentured boys. Brewster, an elder of the church from the time he lived in Leiden, was the sole religious leader of the Plymouth Colony until 1629, but because he was not ordained, he confined his ministry to services of prayer and praise only. Although he held no lay offices, he was very influential, being one of the eight who undertook (1627) to discharge the debt to the colony's backers.


See biographies by A. Steele (1857, repr. 1970) and D. Brewster (1970).

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Brewster, William

(1567–1644) Pilgrim leader; born in Nottinghamshire, England. Exposed to separatist religious ideas at Cambridge University, he became the leader of the Pilgrims and directed their escape to Holland in 1608. He sailed on the Mayflower and then served as a church elder and as adviser to Governor William Bradford.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
She is also the cherished grandmother of Patti Faucher and her husband, Steve of Shrewsbury, MA, Diana Hogan of Brewster, William Woodward of AZ, Arlette Robataille of Portland ME, and Michael, Rick and Casey Joy; five great grandchildren, David and Katie Faucher of Shrewsbury, Craig and Deanna Faucher of Worcester, MA and Christopher Hogan of NH and several great-great grandchildren.
A Congregational Church was founded in Plymouth, Mass., by 102 Pilgrim Separatists under William Brewster, William Bradford, and Edward Winslow, all of whom were part of the Scrooby-Leiden congregation in Holland.