The Clapham Sect

The Clapham Sect was an Anglican Evangelical group centred around John Venn (1793-1813), rector of the Holy Trinity Church, Clapham. Venn had become curate of Clapham. He met the banker, John Thornton, a man who was very interested in the subject of social reform. According to Leonard W. Cowie: “Clapham was already becoming an evangelical centre, and there Venn came under the influence of John Thornton, the banker, who bought the advowson of Clapham.” In 1763 Venn published The Complete Duty of Man. Venn was a founder of the Church Missionary Society.

The group surrounding John Venn, who were nicknamed the Saints, included William Wilberforce, Hannah More, Granville Sharp, Henry Thornton, Zachary Macaulay, James Stephen, Edward James Eliot, Thomas Gisbourne, John Shore and Charles Grant. Most members of the group were active in the campaign against the slave trade. John Wolffe, Wilberforce’s biographer, has argued: “The 1790s and 1800s marked the heyday of what was later labelled the Clapham Sect, the group of wealthy evangelicals around Wilberforce and Henry Thornton …. This circle of friends was of great importance to Wilberforce in providing emotional and practical support for the ongoing anti-slave-trade campaign.”

Dear Father,
We thank You for the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon the Clapham sect and for the fruit of their labors. We thank You for aligning so many philanthropists to live in one time, in one place, in unity of spirit. We bless You and praise Your holy name.
Sadly, Lord, slavery continues around the world today. Bless the abolitionists in the Church of England. May their lives reflect the complete duty of man, their needs be provided for, and the fruit of their labor be bountiful. Amen.


One Response to The Clapham Sect

  1. […] The Clapham sect William Wilberforce, statesman and abolitionist Charles Simeon, priest and evangelist Charles Wesley, priest, evangelist, and hymn-writer John Newton, priest and hymn-writer John Wesley, priest, theologian, and evangelist Thomas Bray, priest and missionary* Jeremy Taylor, author and bishop of Down and Connor* Eyam village Nicholas Ferrar, deacon George Herbert, priest and poet John Donne, priest and poet Lancelot Andrewes, bishop and scholar Myles Coverdale and William Tyndale, Bible translators St. Richard, bishop of Chichester Becket’s last words* St. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury St. Anselm, monk, theologian, and Archbishop of Canterbury Wulfstan, monk and bishop of Worcester Lanfranc, monk and Archbishop of Canterbury St. Margaret, Queen of Scotland St. Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury and martyr* Anglo-Saxon sculptors St. Dunstan, monastic reformer and Archbishop of Canterbury Alcuin, deacon and abbot of Tours St. Willibrord, apostle to the Frisians Venerable Bede, scholar St. Chad, monk and bishop of Mercia* Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury* Caedmon, monk and poet St. Cuthbert, monk and bishop of Lindisfarne* St. Hilda, abbess of Whitby St. Aidan, monk and bishop of Lindisfarne* Queen Bertha St. Augustine, monk, missionary, and archbishop St. David, monk bishop of Wales* St. Columba, monk pilgrim for Christ* St. Patrick, missionary bishop of Ireland St. Ninian, missionary to the Picts* St. Alban, martyr […]

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