John Nelson Darby was born in 1800, the youngest son of John Darby, of Leap Castle, King's County (now Offaly), Ireland, and a nephew of Admiral Sir Henry Darby, Commander of the Bellerophon in the battle of the Nile.

He was educated at Westminster, and Trinity College, Dublin, where he was Gold Medallist in 1819; and was called to the Irish Bar, but subsequently took Orders in the Church.

In 1827, deploring the evils and divisions in Christendom, and discovering from God's Word the blessed and practical truth that "there is One Body", and that every true believer on earth is a member thereof, and further, that Scripture recognises no other membership, he severed his connection with the National Church, and gathered with others to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ alone (Matthew 18: 20).

He died in 1882.

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