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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary

Fifth Monarchy Men

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Were a sect of enthusiasts, in the time of Cromwell, who expected the sudden appearance of Christ to establish on earth a new monarchy or kingdom. In consequence of this illusion, some of them aimed at the subversion of all human government. In ancient history we read of four great monarchies, the Assyrian, Persian, Grecian, and the Roman; and these men, believing that this new spiritual kingdom of Christ was to be the fifth, came to bear the name by which they were called. Their leader was Thomas Venner, a wine cooper, who, in his little conventicle in Coleman-street, warmed his admirers with passionate expectations of a fifth universal monarchy, under the personal reign of King Jesus upon earth, and that the saints were to take the kingdom to themselves. To introduce this imaginary kingdom, they marched out of their meeting-house, towards St. Paul's church-yard, on Sunday, Jan. 6th, 1660 to the number of about fifty men, well armed, and with a resolution to subvert the present government, or to die in the attempt.

They published a declaration of the design of their rising, and placed sentinels at proper places. The lord mayor sent the trained bands to disperse them, whom they quickly routed, but in the evening retired to Cane Wood, between Highgate and Hampstead. On Wednesday morning they returned and dispersed a party of the king's soldiers in Thread-needle-street. In Wood-street they repelled the trained bands, and some of the horse guards; but Venner himself was knocked down, and some of his company slain; from hence the remainder retreated to Cripplegate, and took possession of a house, which they threatened to defend with a desperate resolution; but nobody appearing to countenance their frenzy, they surrendered after they had lost about half their number. Venner, and one of his officers, were hanged before their meeting house door in Colemanstreet, Jan. 19th; and a few days after nine more were executed in divers parts of the city.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Fifth Monarchy Men'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. 1802.

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