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community of Christians whose first congregation was established in Plymouth, Devon, England, in 1831. The movement originated in Ireland and England a few years earlier with groups of Christians who met for prayer and fellowship. Biblical prophecy and the Second Coming of Christ were emphasized. John Nelson Darby, a former clergyman in the Church of Ireland (Anglican), soon became the dominant personality in the movement. He founded groups of Brethren in many parts of the British Isles and in continental Europe, especially in French Switzerland, where he spent the greater part of the period 1838-45.