An account of the Establishment of the Dissenting Interest, Winsham

This account was copied from another book , not in the possession of the Winsham Chapel. It reflects a passionate belief in the rightness of the non-conformist cause.


At the Restoration of Charles the 2nd to the Regal authority of this Kingdom many truly pious and learned Divines who had with much honour filled the chairs of the Doctors in the Universities, and the Pastoral charge in the churches during the Interregnum of Commonwealth of England, were ejected to the number of 2,000 according to the account of the very worthy Dr Calamy, deprived of their livings, and by the power of the King, Nobles and Commons passing the Act of Uniformity in 1662 were set aside as public teachers and silenced on pain of great penalty touching their person property and life.  Under this tyranny many godly families for conscience sake, were forced to secede from the Episcopal Church as established by the laws of England: and suffer the lot of their truly honourable, well beloved, venerable sequestered Pastors.  This moved the jealousy of the Crown so that these excellent and reverend persons with all their adherents were roughly handled by both church and state.  Monarchy rode rampant and the mitre triumphant, while the sweet twins of Heaven Religious and Civil Liberty lay expiring under the wounds of tyranny and bigotry; Temporal and Spiritual power combining to effect the irrevocable fall of all that is dear to Christians and enlightened men.  This reign brought forth the Book of Sports a God dishonouring production, an eternal stain upon the hand that wrote it, and the power, which suffered it to appear.  Indeed Satan sat enthroned in his glory all the life of this Prince he died 1685.  James Duke of York succeeded him, was crowned 1685, was a brave and intrepid warrior, but a timid and pusillanimous Prince, he held out false lights of freedom while the core of his heart was foul and rotten papistry: in this year the Duke of Monmouth and his followers faintly stirred for freedom, but unsupported he fell a sacrifice with many of his worthy men. William of Nassau Prince of Orange under divine favour assisted by the Nobles and gentry of England was raised to accomplish the glorious ends of delivering the Protestant interest from the tyranny of James and entanglements of the Church of Rome: Nov 4th 1688 religious and civil freedom set her foot on British ground, shook the throne of James, and roused the spirits of the free born sons of Britain.  On Dec 12th 1688 James the 2nd abdicated the British throne, went off to Ireland and at the battle of the Boyne was completely routed and disrobed of all his royalty: after troubling the land 3 years he fled and became a pensioner on France and Rome.  Thus ended the unhappy reign of the Stuarts, and tyranny of the Papal power.  William the third mounted the throne April 11th 1689 with these peerless jewels in his royal diadem Religious and Civil Liberty.  May the crown of Britain long shine illustrious in these

splendid ornaments.  King William of glorious memory, the most noble Peers with the right honourable the commons of the realm (in parliament assembled) these three great estates of the British Empire by virtue of their separate prerogatives in the constitution of the Kingdom did by an Act of Parliament unite the royal most noble and right honourable authority in solemn confirmation of the rights and privileges of the Nation, that all subjects enjoy universal toleration in matters of religion, this extended to all Protestant members of the British Empire to pay Divine worship to Almighty God, where and how their consciences might direct them.  On this memorable event many honourable and wealthy families of Winsham and its vicinity took shelter under the Act, licensed a house, congregated together called and settled a Pastor, and worshipped God under their own vine and fig tree, none daring to make them afraid God, the King, the Nation, and the Law allowing it. 

This church leaves this declaration on record.

We do not object Kings we do not object most noble Peers, we do not object puissant Princes, we do not object right honourable Persons we do not object the gentry of the land.
We do heartily object Tyranny, slavery, papacy and its remains
Protest against it, and are
March 25 1791

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