Powys Digital History Project 

The beginnings of dissent 3
The birth of sectarianism

The arrival of new sects
 During the period of parliamentary control in Wales, new congregations and sects were being set up outside the established church. Many of these were tiny groups meeting in private houses. Some were groups who gathered around a single itinerant preacher, and others like the Congregationalists were part of a wider loose confederation.
The Congregationalist churches set up by Vavasor Powell in mid-Wales included Baptist members. In 1649 John Miles, a native of the Welsh-speaking part of Herefordshire, conducted a missionary campaign on behalf of the Baptists, establishing the first Baptist churches at Ilston and Hay-on-Wye.
Smaller groups of Ranters, Antinomians, and Seekers sprang up, denouncing the notion of a state church. In the fevered atmosphere of the times there were many who claimed that the millennium was at hand and that Christ’s Second Coming was imminent

The Fifth Monarchists
The Fifth Monarchists were determined to prepare for the glorious event when there would be a democracy of the saints. Vavasor Powell supported new groups of Fifth Monarchists in Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire, convinced that the time of earthly kings was over, and prepared to take arms in support of Cromwell. They felt betrayed, however, by Cromwell’s assumption of temporal power as Lord Protector in 1653. Although Powell crusaded long and hard against this "betrayal" others were happy to be part of an orthodox puritan mainstream. As Powell and the Fifth Monarchists became less influential they lost individual members to Quakerism.

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