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Clyfton and Smyth

John Smyth

As the Separatist movement had gathered momentum, John Smyth became the Pastor of his own Gainsborough congregation.
For a while, William Brewster and a number of others from Scrooby travelled to worship at Gainsborough Old Hall. However, the difficult journey in bad weather may have added to decision to split this congregation into two churches – the smaller one being based at Brewster's Scrooby Manor.
Smyth was a brilliant preacher and an able scholar. However, he was apt to cause rifts with his ever increasing radical views, including his self baptism. After settling in Holland, Smyth was ex-communicated from his own church. He then left the church with some followers.
He died in 1612 from tuberculosis. Some of his remaining followers joined the Waterlander Mennonite Church. Others returned to London with Thomas Helwys to form the first Baptist Church in England.

Richard Clyfton

Richard Clyfton was among the hundreds of dissenting clergy who refused to conform with new laws requiring strict obedience to the bishops. After his expulsion from his living at Babworth, he preached without license at Bawtry and became pastor to the Scrooby congregation.

Clyfton fled with them to Amsterdam but he was against the later move to Leiden. Instead he was ordained as Teacher of the Ancient Church in Amsterdam. He died in 1616, some say a disappointed man.



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