Agapemone (ăgəpĕmˈənē) [key] [Gr., = abode of love], English religious community of men and women, holding all goods in common. It was founded (c.1850) at the village of Spaxton, Somerset, by Henry James Prince (1811–99), Samuel Starky, and others. Prince and Starky were clergymen who had left (c.1843) the Church of England after Prince claimed that the Holy Ghost had taken up residence in his body. The Agapemonites proclaimed the imminent second coming of Jesus. Riotous conditions at the community caused scandal, and after Prince lost a lawsuit brought by two disenchanted followers in 1860, the community slipped from public notice. There was a period (c.1890) of renewed activity when J. H. Smyth-Pigott, who believed himself to be Jesus reincarnated, conducted meetings at an Agapemonite branch establishment in Clapton, London. He succeeded Prince as leader of the sect, which soon vanished.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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