Thomas Deacon

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Thomas Deacon (September 2, 1697 – February 16, 1753) was an English non-juror bishop, liturgical scholar and physician.

He was born to William and Cecelia Deacon. After his mother married the non-juror bishop Jeremy Collier, the young Deacon was introduced to many of the leading Jacobite and non-juror figures including George Hickes. Though lacking a university education, Deacon became an accomplished scholar and was ordained by Jeremy Collier to the nonjuring priesthood in 1716. In addition to his theological studies, Deacon studied medicine with Dr. Richard Mead (1673–1754).

He served several non-juror congregations in London before moving to Manchester around 1722, where he became a leading physician and married his wife Sarah (died 1745). Three of his twelve children served in the Jacobite uprising of 1745. The oldest, Thomas, served as captain of the Jacobite Manchester Regiment and was executed. His brother Robert died in prison and Charles was exiled to Jamaica where he died in 1749. His daughter Sarah (1731–1801) married William Cartwright, an apothecary and later Deacon's successor as a Non-juror bishop.

During his years in Manchester the city became a significant hub of Jacobite and Non-juror activity. Though he was clearly a Jacobite, he gave his primary attention to creating a continuing Non-juror church. He strongly espoused ecclesial independence from the state and opposed reunion with the Church of England. Joining him in his efforts were Collier,......
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