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The Peculiar People were a Christian movement that was originally an offshoot of the Wesleyan denomination, founded in 1838 in Rochford, Essex, by James Banyard, a farm-worker's son born in 1800. They derive their name from a phrase found in both the Old Testament and the New Testament of the King James Bible, in Deuteronomy and 1 Peter. In the King James Version of the Bible, first published in 1611, Deuteronomy 14:2 reads as follows: "For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth." Also in the King James Version, 1 Peter 2:9 reads thus: "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light." It will be seen that the phrase 'Peculiar People' was not in any way a criticism, but a proud Biblical phrase that could be viewed as a badge of honour. The Peculiar People is also a phrase used to describe the Quakers, which they adopted with some pride.

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