William Brewster

1567-1644. Founding member of Plymouth Colony. Born in Scrooby, England, he attended Cambridge University, where he acquired Separatist* ideas. He served the English ambassador to Holland for several years. Returning to Scrooby in 1589, he became a leading member of the small Puritan congregation which separated from the established church in 1606. Because of persecution the Separatists migrated to Holland in 1608 with their leaders John Robinson* as teacher and Brewster as elder. Brewster supported himself by printing Puritan books. He favored immigration to America, and in 1620 sailed on the Mayflower and helped establish Plymouth Colony. He became one of the most important members, playing a major role in its civil and financial affairs. He was the only church officer until 1629, but though he led the congregation in praise and prayer and in teaching the Bible and Christian doctrine, he did not preach or administer the sacraments because he was not an ordained minister.