Charlotte Haines Lyon completes the series with a look at the letters V to Z
Veto of the Appointment of Bishops
During the early 19th Century, the government was concerned about the loyalties of Irish Catholics who made up most of the island’s population.
An answer to this was to control their bishops. Hence the King was to be able to veto the appointment of any disloyal bishop, thus usurping Papal authority. However despite much campaigning for such a power, the bill was defeated.
After a Pauline type vision, Mary Ann Girling, was led to start a sect which preached celibacy (including within marriage) and communal living amongst men and women.
On the verge of being chased out of Suffolk, she was invited to join forces with the Peculiar People of Plumstead. This new group met under the arches in Walworth and were said to have animalistic behaviours hence the “jumpers” moniker.
Hounded out of London she set up a commune in Hampshire but due to believing in common ownerships and not in financial transactions, they ran out of money and were evicted for not paying the rent.
An ordained Anglican, John Wesley strongly argued for the need for the church to welcome sinners and aid repentance. He also daringly accused many clergy of corruption and neglect of their flock.
Wesley fought parish regulations and limitations by preaching outside; in fields, parks and even on top of his father’s tomb. He was determined he should reach the people that the church would not entertain.
John Wesley was an abolitionist and spoke out against social issues such as poverty and alcoholism. Though he insisted his work was within the bounds of Anglicanism he became unconvinced by apostolic succession and advocated ordination by presbyter rather than by bishop.
The prolific hymn writer (nigh on 9000!) and preacher. Often thought to be one of the founding brothers of Methodism, he was in fact often a dissenter against Methodism.
When his brother John, started to ordain ministers, he was apoplectic. He also wrote and spoke vehemently against those who were proclaiming they were sin free.
Until his death, Charles was concerned that the Methodists may leave the Anglican Church which of course in the end they did. However he was an avowed Anglican to the end, demanding to be buried in a Church of England cemetery, in Marylebone.
Recusants Guy Fawkes, John and Christopher Wright were brought up and schooled in York.
Rather more famously they were part of the gun powder plot led by Robert Catesby, in which they hoped to kill King James I England and VI of Scotland by blowing up the Houses of Parliament.
If successful, they would also have killed many of the Protestant Aristocracy who would have been in the House of Lords.
Zealots of Piety
Not quite British dissenters but we needed a Z! This group were active during the Russian “Times of Trouble at the turn of the 17th Century.
They blamed the plagues and massacres on the wrath of God, brought down on lack of faith and orthodoxy. They argued for social justice and everyday pious living. After a period of radicalism they became the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Read the introduction to this series, and the previous part
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