Clapham Sect

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Clapham Sect,

group of English social reformers, active c.1790–1830, so named because their activities centered on the home in Clapham, London, of Henry Thornton and William Wilberforce. Most of the members were evangelical Anglicans and members of Parliament. They included Zachary Macaulay, Thomas Babington, John Venn, James Stephen, and Hannah More. Known as the "Saints," they worked for the abolition of the slave trade and slavery, improvement of prison conditions, and other humane legislation. They published a journal, the Christian Observer, and helped to found several missionary and tract societies, including the British and Foreign Bible Society and the Church Missionary Society.


See E. M. Howse, Saints in Politics (1952, repr. 1971).

References in periodicals archive ?
This association with the Africans left a deep impression on the children of the Clapham Sect.
Growing up in the lively environment of the Clapham Sect made an indelible impression on young James.
In reading Christopher Tolley's fascinating analysis of the interlinked families of the Wilberforces, the Thorntons, the Stephens, and the Macaulays, and the ways in which successive generations treasured their family archives, while distancing themselves from the evangelical ethos of their common inheritance from members of the Clapham Sect, I came to understand more clearly what was passing through Dr Octavia's mind.
All the Clapham Sect families were brought up to respect personal integrity and the principle that nothing should be believed that could not first be thoroughly understood and assimilated.
Where I reside in south-east London, I am only three miles from Clapham Common which, 200 years ago, nurtured the Clapham Sect.
The tale of how the Clapham Sect evolved, and its work to abolish the slave trade and slavery itself, is an intricate narrative, drawing together familiar names from the history of the British Empire.
Taking their name from that of the London suburb where they lived, the Clapham Sect was a group of wealthy Church of England businessmen and their families.
William Wilberforce, who fought to abolish slavery, Edwin Chadwick whose specialty was public health, and the earl of Shaftesbury who led the campaign to reform factory conditions and limit working hours were all Clapham Sect members.
Without denying their influence on later thinkers or advocates and by acknowledging their eighteenth-century origins, Tomkins humanizes the Clapham Sect, especially Wilberforce, in ways that even surpass the efforts of the magisterial Bury the Chains [2005] by Adam Hochschild.
An Amazing Grace: John Thornton and the Clapham Sect.
Milton Klein's slim volume, An Amazing Grace: John Thornton and the Clapham Sect, is the first modern biographical work devoted to John Thornton.
The Clapham sect (so named in the 1840s by Sir James Stephen) provided the foundation for the spirit of evangelicalism that would grow in strength and significance in nineteenth-century Britain.