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First English Presbyterian regional body launched – November 20, 1572

Thomas Cartwright
A nineteenth century painting of Presbyterian leader and Cambridge professor Thomas Cartwright (1535-1603). |

This week marks the anniversary of when the first Presbyterian regional body, known as a presbytery, was organized in England.

The Reverend Thomas Cartwright, a professor of Divinity in Cambridge University, oversaw its creation at Wandsworth near London. From there, it experienced rapid growth.

“In due course of time Presbyterianism came to be quite powerfully organized in the vicinity of London, even in Elizabeth’s day, but it was rather as a church inside of the state church,” explained Presbyterian Church in America in a 2013 article.

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