Evangelical sect, also known as ‘Plumstead peculiars’ or ‘Banyardites’, founded in Rochford by the ex-Wesleyan James Banyard (1800–63), in 1838, and confined to south-east Essex and nearby parts of London and Kent. After Banyard's deposition (1855), their ablest leader was a Southend credit-draper, William Heddle (1846–1948). Distinctive in name, appearance, and habits, their men clean-shaven and their women black-bonneted, they developed an order of bishops, elders, and helps, serving circuits or dioceses. Taking the Bible
as their rule, their emphases on divine healing, the imminence of the Second Coming
, and pacifism led to well-publicized court cases, since they refused conventional medicine and became conscientious objectors in 1916. Renamed the Union of Evangelical Churches, they associated themselves with the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches in 1956.
A small Free Church
denomination taking its title from the description in 1 Peter 2. 9. They were initially called the ‘Plumstead Peculiars’ from the place of their origin in 1838. Most of these congregations no longer use their original title and have now become affiliated to the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches.
Peculiar People, an alternate rendering for the biblical phrase
(of Israel), applied to numerous Protestant dissenting sects such as the Plumstead peculiars. This group, founded in London in 1838 by John Banyard, refused medical treatment as an article of faith.