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Sandemanian Church, Islington, London

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Brief History of the London meeting house

The London meeting house was established by John Barnard in 1760. He had been influenced by the writings of Glass and John Sandeman and had been in correspondence with John Sandeman, who encouraged him to set up a congregation. Barnard was a preacher in Islington, and he broke away from his previous church and took some of his congregation with him.[1]

History of the buildings

London church was founded in 1762 by Robert Sandeman and originally met at Bull-and-Mouth Street, St Martin's le Grand in central London. Later they moved to Paul's Alley, Barbican. The church then moved in 1862 to the Meeting house in Islington at the corner of Barnsbury Grove and Bride Street.

This building was a simple building of white brick seating about 300; two rows of raised seats at the far end for elders. Membership 118 in 1785, about 100 in 1870s; mostly poor people.

In 1885 Agnes (Peat) Young raised an issue that caused a split in the London meeting house. She was troubled by the 30 year split with the Edinburgh meeting house and suggested to the elders in Edinburgh and London that the breach be healed. Matters escalated and in early September 1885 elders from several meeting houses assembled in London. Faced with a dilemma, the London meeting house split into two factions, one compromising of 33 members, the other 40. Out of these 73 members, only 14 were men, who divided equally between the two camps. [2]

Membership of the main meeting house was 34 in 1901, when meeting house moved to no. 3 Highbury Crescent. Attendance 1903: 45 a.m.; 25 p.m. Possibly last remaining Sandemanian ch. in Eng., with 13 members and only 1 elder in 1982. Church closed soon afterwards.

Seceders from Barnsbury Grove registered a Christian meeting House at no. 18 Albion (later Furlong) Rd., Holloway, 1886. Attendance 1903: 36 a.m.; 37 p.m. Church closed 1935. [3]


Much of the detail of the membership of the London Meeting house has come from Geoffrey Cantor, 'Michael Faraday: Sandemanian and Scientist', Macmillan, 1991, including lists of London members and the family Trees of the Faraday and Barnard families. Also can be downloaded pdf file from https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-1-349-13131-0 the extracts of the book Michael Faraday: Sandemanian and Scientist by Geoffrey Cantor.

Sandemanian Families

Many of the members of the London Church came from a small number of families, perhaps between 10-12 families. It is not easy to be clear who were members, because the church records have not been published, although some documents are available.

Within the key Sandemanian families, some became church members, others attended the church without formally declaring their faith and so were not members. Many people married within the church, and this continued for up to 5 generations.

Sub categories for each of the key families will be set up, for example

Chater Family and the London Sandemanian Church

Deacon Family and the London Sandemanian Church

Rutt Family and the London Sandemanian Church


  1. Wikipedia [1]
  2. Michael Faraday: Sandemanian and Scientist: A Study of Science and Religion By Geoffrey Cantor, 1991 Page 41, accessed by Trevor Pickup on 26 February 2020
  3. Islington :protestant nonconformity https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol8/pp101-115#p142 British History On line Accessed by Trevor Pickup on 4 June 2019

Notable or Significant members of the London meeting house

Samuel Pike Preacher and early Elder of the London congregation.

Alexander Blaikley Engraver, artist and lithographer

Thomas Boosey Founder of the Boosey music publishing company, later part of Boosey and Hawkes

Cornelius Varley Artist

Michael Faraday Famous scientist

Charles Blair Leighton Notable artist

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