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Peter Wentworth

1530?-1597. Puritan leader. A man of property with considerable Puritan connections both by friendship and marriage, he was from 1571 to 1593 leader of the Puritan party in the House of Commons. Successively member for Barnstaple, Tregony, and Northampton, he delivered bold and (to the queen) impertinent speeches, demanding a revision of the Thirty-Nine Articles,* reforms in the church, a reduction of the powers of the higher clergy, and a clear settlement of the succession question as well as his championship of the privileges of the House of Commons. These led three times to his being committed to the Tower, where he eventually died. In the tone and content of his addresses he anticipates the next generation of Puritan leaders, especially Pym and Hampden.