Bloomsbury : The Clapham Sect.

This is of particular interest to me as William Wilberforce is an ancestor of mine.


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The Clapham Sect or Clapham Saints were a group of Church of England social reformers based in Clapham, London at the beginning of the 19th century (active c. 1790–1830). They are described by the historian Stephen Tomkins as “a network of friends and families in England, with William Wilberforce as its centre of gravity, who were powerfully bound together by their shared moral and spiritual values, by their religious mission and social activism, by their love for each other, and by marriage”.

Campaigns and successes

Its members were chiefly prominent and wealthy evangelical Anglicans who shared common political views concerning the liberation of slaves, the abolition of the slave trade and the reform of the penal system.

The group’s name originates from those attending Holy Trinity Church on Clapham Common, an area south-west of London then surrounded by fashionable villas. Henry Venn the founder was curate at Holy Trinity…

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6 thoughts on “Bloomsbury : The Clapham Sect.

  1. Another distinguished ancestor Sarah. You have an impressive collection of family connections indeed. This took me back to when I lived in Clapham, for two years in 1976/77. I would walk south along Macaulay Road to the common. And there is also a Venn Street. Both still exist, of course.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m the least impressive! I have certainly inherited the abhorrence of injustice – it can be a physical pain. Funnily enough, I once had some photographs for Spotlight taken in front of that church but never saw the plaque!


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