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James Banyard
Birth: Jan. 31, 1800
Rochford District
Essex, England
Death: Oct. 31, 1863

English Religious Leader. James Banyard, a farm worker's son, was born in Rochford in 1800. He founded the religious sect known as The Peculiar People in rural Essex in the mid-19th Century. He was a disciple of James Bridges, the evangelist, who in 1836 had founded the Plumstead Peculiars. It was an off-shoot of a Wesleyan denomination. Banyard was frequently drunk until his wife asked him to attend a service in the local Wesleyan Methodist chapel. The preacher's message had a profound effect on him so that he became teetotal and regularly attended the church. Before long he became a reputable preacher on the Wesleyan circuit. They were a sect of faith-healers who rejected medical advice (except in surgical cases) relying on prayer and anointing with oil. This led to judicial criticism when children died due to lack of treatment and, in response to that criticism and to the imprisonment of some parents following the 1910 diphtheria outbreak in Essex. The sect split between the 'Old Peculiars', who still rebuffed medicine, and the 'New Peculiars' who, somewhat reluctantly, allowed it. Church membership peaked in the 1850s but declined until 1956 when the Peculiar People changed its name to the more acceptable Union of Evangelical Churches. Their name was apparently derived from a line in Deuteronomy. The 'peculiar' bit meant 'separate' or 'apart', and from Titus Ch II, vv 13 & 14 "looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works". The title is also said to come from the first book of St.Peter Ch II v 9 which reads "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light." Other modern translations are a "purchased people", a "special people", a "people belonging to God". The conservative and puritanical form of evangelism appealed to the agricultural population in Essex at the time and chapels sprang up throughout rural Essex, particularly on the Dengie Hundred. Over the next century attendance at the chapels waned and many closed or merged with other non-conformist churches. They had 30 chapels at their height, with some 19 chapels still in use in Essex today. The Peculiar People practiced a lively form of worship and considered themselves bound by the literal interpretation of the King James Bible. During the First and Second World Wars some of the Peculiar People were Conscientious Objectors, believing as they still do that war is contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ.The author Bernard Cornwell's adoptive parents belonged to the Peculiar People. 
St Andrew Churchyard
Rochford District
Essex, England
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: geoffrey gillon
Record added: Mar 15, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 34837447
James Banyard
Added by: geoffrey gillon
James Banyard
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Added by: geoffrey gillon
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