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Archiver > ESSEX-UK > 2004-04 > 1082193957

From: "David Lamb" <>
Subject: Re: "The Peculiar People" [was: MILLER family in Stanway, Essex]
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 2004 10:25:57 +0100
References: <003e01c423b9$cb311550$fd098151@Harlequins>


No insight really, just a copy of the booklet I mentioned, and one or two
books on church history generally (not just "Peculiar people" churches, that
is). I knew of the church at Stanway because I was born and brought up in
Colchester. Unfortunately this means that I don't have any specific
information about "Peculiar People" churches in other places, except that
the denomination was started by James BANYARD of Rochford, Essex and William
BRIDGES of London, and (at least at the end of the 19th century) they were
strong in numbers in Kent, Essex, Sussex, and Surrey. Hopefully your
ancestors' 2 year old daughter did not die as a result of the strong
aversion to doctors which the "Peculiar People" had then. (As far as I know,
they don't act in such a way now). My "Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological
and Ecclesiastical Literature" by Rev. John McClintock and James Strong
(published 1895) says:

"Hence it is a prime article of faith of this denomination never, under any
circumstances, to call in a doctor. They believe only in anointing with oil
and prayer as a means of restoring the sick. The English government has
therefore interfered with them in recent times, and several trials of
members of this sect have occurred. Thus, at Plumstead, a little girl of an
elder of the Peculiar People had the smallpox. The elders prayed over her;
they laid hands on her; they anointed her; and, generally speaking, "put
their trust in God." In eleven days, without the administration of any
medicine, with only a little arrow-root and wine to nourish the body, the
poor thing died. Of course the Peculiar People are consistent enough to
believe neither in vaccination nor contagion. In this case a jury returned a
verdict of "manslaughter" against the father."

Incidentally that quote does at least show that there was a "Peculiar
People" church at Plumstead, which is only 7 or 8 miles from Bermondsey.

As to where to find more, I came across the following site: and I know Dave Dobbin has
already replied suggesting another one.

Incidentally, I expect it goes without saying that "peculiar" in this
context does not mean "odd" but "special". It comes from the Authorised
Version ("King James Version") translation of the Bible, where various
examples of the phrase could be cited - one is in 1 Peter 2.9:
" But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a
peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath
called you out of darkness into his marvellous light"

I hope this helps.

David Lamb (Paignton, Devon, UK)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Kerry Prentice" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, April 16, 2004 2:50 PM
Subject: Re: MILLER family in Stanway, Essex

> Hi David
> You seem to have a bit of insight to the "Peculiar People" religious group
> !.
> My GG grand parents William & Eliza Prentice were"Peculiars".... I found
> this out from a newspaper report on an inquest into the death of their 2
> year old daughter in 1872.
> They lived in Hackney , London at the time but at the time of the report
> "fallen away" due to the distance of the church they used ..............I
> know my gg grandfather was born in Bermondsey in 1842 and that his father
> was born in Barking Essex .was there any of these Peculiar Churches in the
> areas of Hackney, Bermondsey or Barking that you'd know of ??and is it
> unlikely that I'd find ANY baptisms of the children ?.......or their
> (their mother was baptised in Hertfordshire ) .
> Also do you know where I maybe able to find out more on this religious
> group........I do have a book "The Peculiar People " by Sorrell...........
> but would like to find out more about which church Hackney people would
> attended and to see if any records still exsist.
> All these children and their parents were buried in Abney Park Cemetary,
> non-conformist burial ground.
> Any help would be greatfully received .
> Many thanks
> Kerry

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