The Dissenters - Vol. 1

The Dissenters - Vol. 1

The Dissenters - Vol. 1

The Dissenters - Vol. 1

Synopsis

Religious dissent has been a persistent feature of English and Welsh history for over four hundred years, influencing the economic, cultural, and political history of the two nations as well as their religious life. The Dissenters is the first of a projected three-volume study on the subject, which promises to be the first comprehensive overview of the subject in more than sixty years.

Excerpt

This book constitutes the first volume of what will be, when completed, the first substantial history of English and Welsh Dissent to appear for more than sixty years. A number of brief surveys, of which Dr. Ernest Payne's Free Church Tradition in the Life of England is by far the best, have been published over the last half-century, but no full-scale treatment of the subject has been attempted since H. W. Clark's two-volume History of English Nonconformity was published between 1911 and 1913. Clark's work made no claim to original scholarship, its usefulness was marred by the author's obscurities of style, and the book v/as no improvement on the History of the Free Churches of England of which the first part had been published by Herbert Skeats as long ago as 1868, and the whole completed by Charles Miall in 1891.

There is thus an obvious need for a new study of the whole subject. Since the publication of the works of Clark and of Skeats and Miall a vast amount of historical research has been devoted to the history of Dissent, the several denominational historical societies have flourished and have encouraged and published work by both amateur and professional historians, and in recent years university theses on various aspects of Dissenting history have proliferated. Above all, historical perspectives have changed. In the twenty years between the publication of the completed works of Skeats and Miall and of H. W. Clark's first volume the Nonconformist churches in England and Wales attained what would prove to be the highest membership figures in their entire history, and with the Liberal landslide election victory in 1906 they reached what would prove to be the height of their political power. When Charles Miall finished his book in 1891 he believed that the Free Churches were making 'progress in every direction'; twenty years later H. W. Clark concluded that, 'if Nonconformity has not reached home /h. it is on the way', whatever he meant by that. But since the first decade of the present century the history of both the spiritual and political influence of Nonconformity . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.