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England: early 19th Century
Rev. William Cowherd (1763-1816)

In 1809 the Reverend William Cowherd established the Bible Christian Church, in Salford, as a breakaway from the Swedenborgian New Church in King Street, his congregation had to take a vow not to eat meat.

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Rev. William Cowherd died at Salford, 24th March [1816]. He was born at Carnforth, Lonsdale South of the Sands, in 1763. He became curate of St. John’s Church under the Rev. John Clowes, but when the Manchester disciples of Swedenborg formed a separate communion he was appointed the first minister of the chapel opened in Peter Street in 1793. Afterwards he formed the denomination of Bible Christians, and erected a chapel in King Street, Salford, where, in 1809, he made abstinence from animal food and intoxicants a condition of church membership. He was a contributor to the New Jerusalem Journal, and the author of Liturgy of the Lord’s New Church, Manchester, 1793; Facts Authentic in Science and Religion towards a new Translation of the Bible, Salford, 1816; Select Hymns, Manchester, 1800 and 1818; Letters on Religious Subjects, Salford, 1820 (a portion only is his). He was also the translator of Swedenborg’s Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning Faith, which was printed by the Manchester Printing Society, and editor of a translation made by three of his pupils of the Prodromos, Manchester, 1795. Mr. Robert Hindmarsh states that Mr. Cowherd claimed “the same kind of revelation as was given to Emanuel Swedenborg before him,” and regarded himself as the “greatest and most extraordinary man living.” This testimony is not without suspicion of controversial bias. A portion of his library is preserved in the Bible Christian Church, Cross Lane, Salford, the King Street chapel having been abandoned. (Axon’s Manchester Libraries; Hindmarsh’s Rise of the New Jerusalem Church; The Dawn, July 24, 1884; and Williams’s Ethics of Diet, p. 259.) He is buried under a tomb in Christ Churchyard, King Street, Salford, with the following inscription: “William Cowherd, the founder and minister of Christ Church, Salford, died 24th of March, 1816, aged 53 years. At his request is inscribed, ‘All feared, none loved, and few understood.’ ” This has given rise to some misapprehension, for the words are merely adapted from verge of Pope :—

 “He who would save a sinking land
All fear, none love, few understand.”