KS3 > The Reformation > MPs > William Strickland
Little is known of Strickland’s early life. He held local government posts in York and sat in four of Elizabeth’s Parliaments as MP for Scarborough, his local borough. He came to prominence under Elizabeth’s reign as a committed Puritan, one Parliamentary diarist called him ‘a grave and ancient man of great zeal’.
'A Godly meditation day and night to be exercised', c.1600
© the Trustees of the British Museum 1932, 0709.4
The Puritans emerged as a religious group during Elizabeth’s reign. They came from all walks of life, but were united by their intense belief in the Protestant religion. They campaigned for a more Protestant church and to improve the morals of those who did not share their religious views. For example, they often spoke out against drunkenness or people playing sport on a Sunday.
Strickland was one of the Puritans in Parliament who campaigned to further reform the religious settlement (historians have argued about how organised this group was). Strickland wanted to amend the Book of Common Prayer and thought that priests should be better trained.
During the 1571 Parliament he introduced his own bill to reform the Book of Common Prayer. This upset Elizabeth and her Privy Council, and he was removed from Parliament. This caused MPs to debate their freedom of speech, and Strickland was allowed to return. Elizabeth did not agree with Strickland’s proposals. She was very reluctant to change her religious settlement, and tried to prevent MPs from discussing it.
The next time Strickland came to Parliament he still worked for further religious reforms, but was much more cautious and spoke very little. He last sat in 1584. He spent the rest of his life in Yorkshire, where he died in 1598.