Baptist Beginning - 1606
In July 1879, the General Baptist Magazine of London, published a manuscript that purported to be the minutes of the Baptist Church at Epworth and Crowle. This was especially interesting as it described the baptism of John Smyth, sometimes considered a father of the Baptist movement, although he himself was unsettled in his views and later sought to join the Mennonites in the Netherlands. The baptism took place on this day March 24, 1606, under cover of darkness probably because of persecution against Puritan and separatist groups (i.e.: those who wanted to purify the Church of England and those who wanted to separate from it).
“This night at midnight elder John Morton baptized John Smyth, vicar of Gainsborough, in the River Don. It was so dark we were obliged to have torch lights. Elder Brewster prayed, Mister Smith made a good confession; walked to Epworth in his cold clothes, but received no harm. The distance was over two miles. All of our friends were present. To the triune God be praise.”