By the mid 1570s, the Church of England was in a very troubled and unsettled condition. In the eyes of many believers, it stood in desperate need of much reform, if it was ever going to be a church in the sense of the New Testament. And these critics gave open voice to their convictions even though this was contrary to the law of the land. The State Church was under attack on two fronts; it had two main opponents. It was censured by the Anabaptists and various other scattered, hidden and separated churches from without; and it was criticised by the Puritans â€“ both Episcopalian and Presbyterian â€“ from within. But there was one great and constant obstacle to reform, one resolute defender of the Anglican system â€“ Queen Elizabeth herself. She and her bishops weathered every storm, warded off every onslaught; or so it seemed. However, as if two fronts were not enough for Elizabeth to contend with, a third and far more penetrating assault upon the fabric of the Church of England was about to be launched. This attack would come from a new group of Puritans; which group, though very small in number to start with, would prove the most devastating in the long run.