Among the many fruits of the evangelical piety within British Protestantism was the movement of renewal which crystallized around the end of the 1820s into the sect usually known as the Plymouth Brethren (or Christian Brethren as they now prefer). Brethren have “remained fairly small numerically… but [with] a theological influence much larger than [their] membership would indicate.” It is hard to say exactly when the group first appeared; its period of gestation lasted several years. At the outset “the founders … had no programme, manifesto or creed.” The sect originated among a group of earnest seekers centered first in Dublin and later in Plymouth, where at the beginning of the 1830s they began to take on the form of an organized movement. It soon had followers throughout the British Isles, and a few adherents were gathered in France, Germany, and Switzerland. Though eventually the Brethren became a predominantly lower middle-class body, the leaders of the first stage of the movement were drawn almost exclusively from the upper ranks of society: Anglican clergymen, Oxford dons, lawyers, doctors, sons of country families or wealthy merchants, and even a future peer of the realm. They were then all young men in their twenties or early thirties, nearly all of them well educated and several of them excellent classical or biblical scholars.