Johnson, Francis (1562-1618)

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Francis Johnson was born at Richmond, England in 1562 and died at Amsterdam, Netherlands, 10 January 1618. He was a Puritan minister banished from England in 1590 because he had offended the queen. He then successively was a pastor of an English emigrant group at Middelburg, Dutch province of Zeeland, converted to Brownism in 1592, became pastor of the Brownist congregation of Islington near London, England in 1592, was in prison at London 1593-1597, and after 1598 served as pastor of a Brownist congregation at Amsterdam with Thomas Ainsworth, with whom he fell into discord, so that Ainsworth and a large number of members separated from Johnson and his followers, called Johnsonians or Francisites, in 1610. In 1612 Johnson was ordered by the magistrates of Amsterdam to leave the city. He then moved to Emden, Germany, but soon was back in Amsterdam, where he died. Johnson, an ambitious and a quarrelsome man, is of interest for Mennonite history, because he, in the period in which there were many contacts between Mennonites and Brownists and a number of Brownists had intended to join the Mennonites (see Smyth, John), fervently tried to prevent this union. Some of his other writings were: A Brief Treatise Containing Reasons Against Two Errors of the Anabaptists (n.p., 1609-1610, reprinted 1645) and A Christian Plea, Conteyning Three Treatises Touching the Anabaptists and Others (n.p., 1617).


Hoop Scheffer, J. G. de and W.E. Griffis. History of the Free Churchmen. Ithaca, NY,1922).

Molhuysen, P. C. and P. J. Blok. Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek. v. 1-10. Leiden, 1911-1937: IX, 461-463.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1957

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MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Johnson, Francis (1562-1618)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 5 Jun 2020.,_Francis_(1562-1618)&oldid=132227.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1957). Johnson, Francis (1562-1618). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 5 June 2020, from,_Francis_(1562-1618)&oldid=132227.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 117. All rights reserved.

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