John Robinson

c.1575-1625. English Separatist and pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers. He was born in England, though early records of Robinson's life are scanty. He may have graduated at Cambridge in 1598. He was for a time curate in a Norwich church. He imbibed Puritan views and joined a Separatist* group at Scrooby Manor of which he became pastor. He fled to Holland with this group to avoid persecution, settling in Leyden by 1609. He was ordained as the pastor of their newly formed church in May 1609. For a time he was a student at the University of Leyden. He held a Separatist view of Communion, sided with the Calvinists in the Arminian* controversy, and advocated congregational church government. He urged emigration, and a small part of his church sailed from Holland, stopping first at England in 1620. The Mayflower landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts, on 11 November 1620. Robinson never emigrated, choosing rather to remain as pastor of the major portion of the church, which stayed in Holland. Though he was never to arrive in New England, his influence on the Plymouth Separatists was profound, due to his teaching before the voyage, his tracts and letters to the flock, and his guidance of Brewster as their spiritual adviser in New England. He is perhaps best known for his farewell sermon to the Pilgrims at Leyden on 21 July 1620.