The arrival of Sandemanianism in London

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The arrival of Sandemanianism in London


Aim of this page

The aim of this page is to provide an account of how the Sandemanian meeting house was established in London, with details of the people involved and the impact on the nonconformist community.

The Glasites (as they known in Scotland) were founded in 1730 by John Glas (1695-1773) and his ideas were spread by his son in law Robert Sandeman (1718-1771). Between 1730 and 1755 a number of meeting houses were established in towns and cities in Scotland .

The ideas of the Glasites or Sandemanians, as they were known in England were effectively publicised by the publication of “Letters on Theron and Aspasio” in 1757, which outlined their new approach to faith and to church governance. Some Nonconformists found these ideas attractive while others strongly disagreed.

A number of books and pamphlets were written to oppose the ideas of Glas, and the controversy was a major concern for the nonconformist community. John Wesley, for example, began to denounce Sandemanianism. In 1757 he wrote A Sufficient Answer to Letter to the Author of Theron and Aspasio (1757). On the question of the nature of justifying faith Wesley was critical of the stark, staring nonsense of Sandeman.

However, a number of nonconformist ministers in London began to discuss these ideas and to adopt some of the practices in their churches, which began to cause tensions in their congregations, with some opposing these actions. This lead to churches splitting and ministers leaving their congregations to join the Sandemanians, often taking numbers of their congregations with them. This process also divided some well established nonconformist families as some supported and others opposed the new ideas.

Links to other pages

An introduction to the Sandemanian Church includes an overview but also details of the categories used for the various families. Research into the London Sandemanian Church and the questions I am seeking to answer
The arrival of Sandemanianism in London with details of the people involved and the impact on the nonconformist community

Histories of other Sandemanian Families

Barnard Family and the Sandemanian Church
Boosey Family and the Sandemanian Church
Chater Family and the Sandemanian Church
Deacon Family and the Sandemanian Church
Leighton Family and the Sandemanian Church
Peat Family and the Sandemanian Church
Rutt Family and the Sandemanian Church
Vincent Family and the Sandemanian Church
Young Family and the Sandemanian Church

Other pages with details of Sandemanians
Sandemanian Church London membership list
London Sandemanian marriages and other links between families
Sandemanians and the bookbinding, paper and publishing trades
Grosvenor Family Stationers business
Reid and Sons Silversmiths
London Nonconformist Glass Cutters, the Leathley, Chater and Hayward Families
Sandemanian Church, Old Buckenham, Norfolk

Key individuals and churches involved

Some of the individuals involved in this were

Samuel Pike (abt.1717-bef.1773)

John Barnard (abt.1725-abt.1804)

William Cudworth

John Chater (abt.1734-abt.1771)

Thomas Prentice (abt.1739-1820)

Some of the churches impacted by this include

Three Cranes Meeting House, Fruiterers Alley, off Thames Street, London

Silver Street

Little St Helens (Wednesday afternoon lectures)

New Court, Carey Street

Backgrounds to key individuals

Samuel Pike

Samuel Pike had been educated at the Congregational Fund Academy and was the minister at the Three Cranes meeting house, where he had been since 1747. He was well respected in nonconformist circles and became one of the Tuesday lecturers at Pinner Hall. He had also been invited to join the lectures at Little St Helens by Samuel Hayward (1718-1757). Samuel Hayward was the minister at Silver Street and together they gave weekly lectures which were published under the title “ Religious Cases of Conscience Answered.”

John Chater

John Chater was a member of New Court Carey Street as a young man and was received into membership on 29 September 1759 by Rev. Thomas Bradbury. With a view to the Independent ministry he attended the dissenting academy of Dr Zephaniah Marryatt at Plasterers' Hall, and took his Student Trials on 16th July 1753. Chater was thus nurtured by two of the most formidable orthodox ministers of his day.

On 2nd April 1752 John Chater was admitted to the list of ministers of the London Congregational Board, and in the following year he ministered in Newport, Isle of Wight, where he remained until 1758. On 20th March 1759 Chater was restored to the London roll of ministers, by which time he had become pastor of Silver Street, London.

John Barnard

John Barnard came from a nonconformist family. He began the ministry among the Independent Dissenters, and preacher for some time to a congregation in Islington, where he resided. He also carried out a weekly lecture at Mr Bradbury’s meeting-house, in New Court, Carey Street.

Thomas Prentice

Thomas Prentice trained as a minister at the Mile End Academy (1757-1763) and was funded by the King's Head Society. He was an assistant minister at Little St Helens from 1762 and a minister from 1764 to 1766

The founding of the London meeting house

In 1757 Pike became acquainted with the views of the Sandemanians through the publication of ‘Theron and Aspasio’ (1755), by James Hervey (1714–1758) The ‘Letters’ were admired by members of Pike's church; and Pike, on reading them, began (17 Jan. 1758) a correspondence with Sandeman, then in Edinburgh. The correspondence, as it proceeded, was communicated to Pike's church, with the result that he, and a section of his people, came gradually into Sandeman's views; while others showed such dissatisfaction that Pike ceased the correspondence, suppressing his fourth letter. He began, however, to adopt Glassite or Sandemanian practices, including a weekly communion. This led (August 1758) to rumours of his unsoundness; his discourses at Pinners' Hall gave offence, and he was excluded from the lectureship in 1759 by forty-four votes to one, Dr. John Conder being chosen to succeed him on 3 Oct.

In his own church he was hotly opposed by William Fuller (bef.1705-1800) and Thomas Uffington but supported by John Dove (-1772). A church meeting (9 Oct. 1759) came to no conclusion; church meetings on 13 Jan. and 21 April 1760 were equally divided (seventeen votes on either side), but Pike's casting vote carried the exclusion of the malcontents, who formed a new church under Joseph Barber. Disputes then arose about possession of church property, and a lawsuit was begun (1761) by Pike for recovery of an endowment of 12l. a year. At length he resigned his charge (14 Dec. 1765), left the independents, and became a member of the Sandemanian church in Bull-and-Mouth Street, St. Martin's-le-Grand. He was chosen ‘elder’ in 1766, and ministered with great acceptance. [1]

More detail is available here[2]

John Chater tried to remodel the church at Silver Street along Sandemanian lines but resigned from Silver Street in 1765 to join the Sandemanians.

Thomas Prentice resigned from his post as assistant minister at Little St Helens in 1766 and joined the Sandemanians.

The Congregational Board's list of ministers of 25th March 1760 includes the names of Chater and Samuel Pike, but their names have subsequently been 'blue-pencilled'; and in the minutes of 18th March 1766 it is recorded that it was 'Agreed that Messrs. Pike, Chater and Prentice are not proper persons to be continued on our list' because the three in question had embraced Sandemanianism.

The impact of Sandemanianism in London

These events have therefore divided at least 3 London churches, (Silver Street, Little St Helens, and Three Cranes) as well as the St Helens mid-week lectures, with church members being forced to either remain loyal to their original church and beliefs or to join the Sandemanians. Members of the same family did not agree and make the same decisions, which resulted in the parting of the ways within a number of families.

This can be illustrated in the family histories of those involved.

Impact on the key families


Edward Barnard (1735-abt.1808) was a noncomformist living in London, the father of John Barnard (abt.1771-aft.1802), one of the founders of the London congregation. Most of the family became Sandemanians and there are numerous marriages with other Sandemanian families


John Boosey (abt.1736-abt.1820) moved from Bocking, Essex between 1765-1770 and joined the Sandemanian church in London, although he soon became one of the elders in the Sandemanian church in Old Buckingham, Norfolk while maintaining his business in London.

His father Nathaniel Boosey (1702-1775) was a nonconformist, with his children being christened in Bocking Independent church. He was also a successful man and owned several farms when he died, which were shared between his 6 children but John was not mentioned in the will. John had been a Sandemanian for several years by that point, so this may be the reason he was excluded from his fathers will.

John's descendants were key members of the church for a number of generations.


James Chater (abt.1694-abt.1762) had three sons, with John Chater (abt.1734-abt.1771) being a preacher and one of the early members of the Sandemanian Church.

The eldest son Eliezer Chater (abt.1730-aft.1802) does not appear to have joined the Sandemanians and his 2 daughters both married minister from the Congregational and Evangelical churches.

Little is known about the other brother James Chater (1732-1800) but several of his children became Sandemanians and married into other Sandemanian families.


Members of the Deacon family did not join the London church until about the 1790's.

William Deacon (abt.1729-1810) retired to Trowbridge in the 1790's and some of his children also settled in Trowbridge, Thomas Deacon (abt.1763-abt.1832) with others moving to London. The family in Trowbridge were Sandemanian, as the burial record of Hannah Deacon (abt.1795-1819) stated no minister was present at the burial because the family were Sandemanian.

Two of the Trowbridge Deacon men married women from the Rutt family, who were likely to be Sandemanian


Thomas Vincent (abt.1721-1800) moved to London from Dorset and attended the Three Cranes church. In 1760 the church voted on whether to accept Sandemanian principles with 17 votes on either side with Samuel Pike having the casting vote. Thomas stayed at Three Cranes when half the congregation left to form a new church. When Samuel Pike finally left in 1765 Thomas Vincent was elected as minister of Three Cranes where he served for a considerable time.

One of his sons Iphedeiah Vincent (abt.1751-1808) was a member of the Sandemanians but Zelophehad Wyeth Vincent (1755-1840) attended the London Wall Scotch Church before moving to Streatham where he was a founding member of the Congregational Church

Other relevant families


Rev Samuel Hayward (1718-1757) died before the Sandemanian church was established but his son Samuel Hayward (abt.1752-1825) went into business with Joseph Chater (abt.1767-1838), also a Sandemanian, in a glass business.



Samuel Pike (abt.1717-bef.1773) became an elder in the London Sandemanian Church before moving to Trowbridge to be an elder in the Sandemanian there. He is known to have had 3 daughters and one, Elizabeth Pike (abt.1750-abt.1782) married Ezra Livermore (abt.1750-1813). However, Susannah Pike (abt.1748-) married John Bedder (abt.1740-1782) who was a nonconformist but is not known to have joined the Sandemanians.


Thomas Prentice (abt.1737-1820) served as elder in the London church but later moved to Nottingham and ran a business. His daughters Hannah (Prentice) Rutt (abt.1769-abt.1859) and Sophia (Prentice) Rutt (1775-1834) both married into the Rutt family while living in Nottingham. It is therefore likely that Thomas was a member of the Sandemanian Church on Nottingham.


The Rutt family were split over the ideas of Glas and Sandeman. George Rutt (abt.1733-abt.1780) married Hannah Watson and later Ruth Grosvenor, both from nonconformist families. He had 6 children and the last four all married Sandemanian spouses with many of his grandchildren becoming Sandemanians

However, his cousin Henry Rutt and his wife Susanna Sutcliffe were probably members of Three Cranes meeting house, and it appears that they opposed Samuel Pike and his Sandemanian principles and moved to the Founders Hall congregation, under Joseph Barber. All of their children were christened by John Barber, at Founders Hall, including Susanna Rutt (1767-) and Henry Rutt (abt.1769-).


Thomas Vernor (abt.1740-1793) was a bookseller and was in business with published serval books with John Chater. He had previously been a member of Eagle Street Church until August 1765, when he joined the Sandemanians.


See Also

John Chater, from Independent Minister to Sandemanian Author by Alan Sell [3]

Glasite wikipedia page

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