The two hundred or so evangelical clergymen who seceded from the Church of England into Protestant Dissent during the first half of the nineteenth century often paid a considerable price for their action. By crossing the subtle social boundary between Anglican priesthood and Nonconformist ministry they forfeited status and often, no doubt, income. A number vanished into comparative obscurity as pastors of small chapels, whether as ministers of a major denomination, Strict and Particular Baptists, Christian Brethren, or preachers in some unlabelled and impoverished chapel. If not so severely penalised for their secession as many of their colleagues who went to Rome, particularly those with wives for whom entry into the Roman priesthood was closed, they usually came off the worse in temporal terms for following the dictates of conscience. This, no doubt, they fully anticipated. What was not anticipated, however, was the imposition of a legal penalty for their act of secession. Though Anglican secessions to Rome or Dissent were not infrequent, their legality was apparently seldom if ever questioned. Liberal Churchmen like Theophilus Lindsey, who had abandoned the establishment for Unitarianism during the eighteenth century, had set up their chapels with impunity. In 1831 the evangelical William Tiptaft received a threat from Thomas Burgess, the bishop of Salisbury, upon seceding from the parish of Sutton Courtney, Berkshire, but nothing came of it. Those who left the via media for Rome were assumed to be acting within the framework of the law when they took up a new ministry as priests of another apostolic confession.