A radical puritan sect that operated from 1649-1661, around the time of the English Civil War.
Unlike the other radical groups at the time, such as the Levellers and the Diggers, their reasons for overthrowing the King were not social.
Their name came from their belief that the world had seen four great monarchies: Assyria, Persia, Macedonia, and Rome, and that the fifth monarchy, that of Christ was at hand.
They believed that any government was an obstacle to the establishment of Christ's rule, and must be overthrown. They gloried in the overthrow of Charles I, but soon became unsatisfied with Oliver Cromwell's government. In 1657, Thomas Venner, and London wine-cooper, led an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow it. They also tried to overthrow Charles II in 1661.