One of the chief complaints of the puritan movement, from its earliest days during the reign of Elizabeth I, was the dearth of worthy, 'learned' ministers. If the English church were to be truly reformed, they insisted, its officers must be pastoral figures, familiar with the Word of God and able to lead their flocks by its principles.
"How miserable the state of our Church is for want of a godlie learned ministrie thorow out this Realme, maie appeare by this brief of divers Countries and shires, gathered trulie out of the surveis made the last parliament, and partlie this, 2 of November, 1586 ...
... Preachers of a scandalous life in Essex.
Mr Ampleforth, v.[icar] of Much Badow hadde a childe by his owne sister, and it doth appeare to be true by his diverse examinations, and deposition taken as well before Justices of Peace as in the spirituall court before the high commisioners, as allso by keeping of the child in sundrie places at his charges; he is also suspected of poperie, sometime a popish priest, and he is one that doth falsifie the Scriptures.
Mr Goldringe, pa.[rish] of Laingdon Hills, he was convicted of fornication, a drunkard.
Mr Ocklei, pa. of Much Bursted, a gamster.
Mr Durdent, v. of Stebbing, a drunckard, and a gamster, and a verie grosse abuser of the Scripturs. Wit.[nesses], Mr Denham Mr Rogers [NB - that's this Mr Rogers] &c.
Mr Durden. pa. of Mashburie, a carelesse man, a gamster, an alehouse haunter, a companie keeper with drunckardes, and he himselfe sometimes druncke. Wit., Richard Renolds, John Argent &c.
Mr Cuckson, v. of Linsell, unable to preach, hee hath bene a pilferer, of scandalous life. Wit., Gabriell Jollie and Nathaniell Barnard.
Mr Wilkinson, v. of Stansted, Mount fitchet, a gamster.
Mr Fountaine of Much Bracksted, an alehouse haunter and gamester.
Mr Mason, pa. of Rawrey, had a childe by his maide, and is vehementlie suspected to have lived incontinentlie with others, and was brought for the same before a Justice of peace.
Mr Glascock, pa. of Willingdale Doe, sometime a popish priest, a grosse abuser of the Scripturs.
Mr Glibberie, v. of Halesteed, a verie ridiculous preacher.
Mr Buffin of Bulmer, an alehouse haunter, and convicted for drunkennes before a Justice of peace.
Mr Warener, v. of West Mercei, a drunkard and accused of incontinencie, ut supra.
Mr Ellis, pa. of Bowers, a dicer, a carder, a pot companion, a companie keeper of riotous persons, living verie offensivelie to all men."