Agapemonb (ἀγαπημόνη, love abode), a conventual establishment consisting of persons of both sexes, founded at Charlynch, near Bridgewater, in the County of Somerset, England, by Henry James Prince, formerly a clergyman of the English Church. The inmates belong to a new religious sect, and are sometimes called Lampeter Brethren, from the place where Prince was educated. The adherents of the sect generally, of whom there are a great many in the southwestern counties of England, are known as Princeites, or Starkeyites, from a Mr. Starkey, one of the prime movers in the heresy.
Mr. Prince was born at Bath in 1811, and was educated for a physician. I-e decided, however, to enter the ministry, and, on leaving college, became curate of Charlynch. While there he gave expression to strange sentiments, in which may be seen the germs of his later doctrines. He succeeded in making a convert of his rector, the Rev. Samuel Starkey, and his views began to excite so. much attention that he was removed to a curacy at Stoke, in Siffolk.' Here, however, his conduct was in no respect improved, and w he was dismissed; and about the same time Starlkey was silenced. A conference was held by the Lampeter Brethren, and it was decided to leave the Church. They began preaching in the South of England, and attracted large crowds, securing many converts. One of their tenets was community of goods, and many farmers brought their wealth and laid it at the feet of the apostle. Funds were accumulated in various ways, and the community have lived since 1859 in property sumptuously fitted up at Spaxton, near Charlynch.
The inmates of this home are married couples, but they have religious objections to the increase of population, as if believing that the perfection of all things will be the extinction of the human race. 'Prince himself makes extravagant claims. Letters intended for him pass through the post-office addressed to "The Lord;" and his followers claim that he is their creator. He asserts that Christ came to redeem the soul, but he came to redeem the body. The following passages occur in one of his pamphlets, of which he has published several: "God in Jesus Christ has again entered into covenant with man at the resurrection of mankind, and this is the first resurrection, and now brother Prince is his witness." "This one man, brother Prince, has Jesus Christ selected and appointed his witness to his counsel and purpose to conclude the day of grace and to introduce the day of judgment; to close the dispensation of the Spirit, the Gospel, and to enter into: covenant with flesh."' He considers himself perfect, and incapable of further improvement. These are his words: "Having neither wishes nor desires, my will can have no disposition whatever to move in any one direction rather than another, but like the finely poised beam of a well-adjusted balance, it hangs delicately suspended on the divine will, in a holy equilibrium of inward passiveness." They were still preaching their doctrines at a recent date. See Dixon [W. Hepworth], Spiritual Wives (2 vols. 1868).