21. Religious Life in Mid-19th Century Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire: The Returns for the 1851 Census of Religious Worship. Edited by David M. Thompson
A detailed account of religious life in the mid-19th century, with the extent and geographical range of dissent and adherence to the traditional Anglican faith.
By the mid-nineteenth century urbanisation and a growing population emphasised social problems such as drunkenness in the streets, violence, and 'Saint Monday' when workers who had over-indulged on a Sunday evening failed to turn up for work on Monday morning. Social evils indicated a country which appeared to be rejecting religious faith; this led to the government seeking information on the national provision of religious worship to ascertain if there were sufficient opportunities for everyone to attend a place of worship on a Sunday. The result was the unique but controversial religious census.
Form were sent out to ministers of every denomination, who were asked to give details about their church or chapels, showing how many seats free or otherwise there were, giving the size of congregations and Sunday Scholars who braved the cold and sleet on 30th March 1851 to attend a service in the morning, afternoon or evening, and to provide an average of the numbers who usually attended throughput the year.
As the transcipts of the returns in this volume show, every parish in Cambridgeshire and the ancient county of Huntingtonshire was covered, and the religious census provides a detailed account of religious life in the mid-nineteenth century, with the extent and geographocal range of dissebt and adherence to the traditional Anglican faith.
ISBN: 978 0 904323 23 8
Price: £ 27.00
275 pages, intoductory text, maps, indexes and list of sources
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Thompson, David M
David M Thompson is Emeritus Professor of Church History in the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Fitzwilliam College