Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Rival Jerusalems. the Geography of Victorian Religion

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Rival Jerusalems. the Geography of Victorian Religion

Article excerpt

K. D. M. SNELL AND PAUL S. ELL. Rival Jerusalems. The Geography of Victorian Religion. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Pp. xvi + 499, introduction, appendices, bibliography, index. $74.95.

This book is the first substantial fruits of a major research project centered on the 1851 Census of Religious Worship for England and Wales. This was a unique survey, being a return of seating, attendance, and various other information from all identified places of worship on 30 March 1851. It is a most fertile source, but one that has been perceived as containing many tares amongst its undoubted rich yield of grain. K. D. M. Snell, Paul Eli, and Alasdair Crockett (a major collaborator, but not a named author) have subjected the documentation to a much more detailed and rigorous statistical investigation than hitherto attempted. Their work is based on the original published report, which contains summary data for each of the 624 registration districts, and an extensive sample of the individual returns, drawn from recent published editions and from the original files in the Public Record Office. The book falls into two main parts: first an overview of the country as a whole, and then an investigation of fifteen sample counties founded on the usually more localized parish level data drawn from the returns for individual places of worship. The text is supported by an impressive range of maps and tables that are in themselves testimony to a most energetic research effort, which will be of great service to all future scholars in the field. Full coverage is given to Wales, which is shown to have had a religious geography that strongly contrasted with England's, but Scotland (for which the original returns do not survive) is outside the scope of the book.

A fundamental and most important conclusion is a significantly enhanced confidence in the accuracy and reliability of the census as a unique overview of religious practice in mid-nineteenth-century Britain. The first half of the book examines in turn the Church of England, Old Dissent, New Dissent, and Roman Catholicism. Careful and detailed mapping of the regional distribution of the various denominations serves to revise and refine some widely-held assumptions about religious geography. The parish-level section includes an important analysis of continuities and changes in the distribution of Roman Catholicism and Dissent since the Compton Census of 1676, showing how the former became more concentrated, and the latter lacked the expected degree of continuity. …

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.