Victorian Religion

Georgie Mitchell
Mind Map by Georgie Mitchell, updated more than 1 year ago
Georgie Mitchell
Created by Georgie Mitchell almost 4 years ago


Bachelors Degree History Mind Map on Victorian Religion, created by Georgie Mitchell on 04/08/2016.

Resource summary

Victorian Religion
1 1851 Census.
1.1 The census asked, whether on census Sunday, March 30th 1851, if they had attended church services, and if they had where? Statistics based onto answers to these questions have been mined for information ever since.
1.1.1 When the period began the majority of people attended church on a Sunday/holidays and would describe themselves as christian. The Anglican church dominated the religious landscape, most leisure actives were religiously sponsored, christian images pervaded public & private spaces. When the period ends in 1914, much of this was still true, with the exception of regular attendance at Sunday services.
1.2 To the Victorians 2 points jumped out- 1. Large portions of the population, particularly members of the working classes had not attended church that Sunday. 2. Those who went to a service, more than half of them were outside the church of England.
1.2.1 To a christian nation these were surprising and distressing facts. For many the census confirmed their conviction that industrialisation was causing moral decline. Until recents scholars had agreed that modernisation either caused or accompanied by a decline in religion. Scholars call this secularisation.
1.2.2 Until recently more historians thought of Victorian Britain as a secularising society. How this secuarlisatin many not have occurred as straightforwardly as we have assumed.
1.3 If we move away from the Sunday church attendance as principal measure of religiosity, we can question the secularisation thesis.
1.3.1 There is no demonstrable link between modernisation nd sexualisation, although statistic suggest some specific forms of observance that the clergy though important were declining.
1.3.2 Anxieties heightened by the belief that cities were immoral spaces, many feared that cities were rife with disorder ands. \but if we look beyond sunday morning we see religion everywhere in victorian Britain.
1.4 Religion changed in 2 important ways. 1. state church relieved of many of its social and governmental cutie, 2. Britain became religiously pluralistic, though still predominantly christian.
2 Religions
2.1 British identity relied heavily on Britain being a protestant country. Felt kinship with other protestant countries. This status helps explain the suspicion towards Roman Catholics.
2.1.1 1820- 2 state churches, larger Anglican (C of E), this church emerged during the reformation, and had both catholic and protestant features. Proud of Via Media. Within the church there was a range f theologies and styles of worship. one end evangelicalism, other end the Oxford movement. Although Anglican church tend s to be classified as the church of the well off, and although it lost most of its power and social standing over the 19th.- it remained strong. interestedly it was important int eh lives of many working class Britonsm for whom remained central, even though they stopped attending on Sundays. As late as 1914 70% of British babes received Anglican baptisms. Oxford Mvoement- led by John Keble, John Henry Newman, began 1833 as a protest against the reduction of power of the church of Ireland. Members also known as tractarians after a series of tracts they published. They believed Anglicanism was not form of protestantism at all, by a non Roman form of Catholicism.
2.1.2 Anglican church enjoyed many privileges,but in Victorian period the church changed in many ways. It reformed itself through diocesan structure, organising parishes into larger dioceses. It also took over key bureaucratic service traditionally performed by the church. Furthermore the emergence of various nonconformist churches and the growth of the Catholic pop. reduced the C 0f E's influence.
2.2 Contrary to negative stereotypes the Anglican church met the needs if many parishioners and most priest and Bishops were conscientious.
2.2.1 However well publicised abuses inspired demands for change. The lavish wealth of the Archbishops of canterbury and York, the poetical power of many bishops and absentee priests and the fact many priests were appointed by local landowners rather than by church officials angered many. Lack of churches also a problem, sine the late 18th. the pop. of Britain had grown in new places, particularly in the north and cities. By 1820 many victorians especially the working classes lived no where near a church. From 1841-1870 the church built/ refurbished thousand of new churches, with extensive free seating to make the working classes more welcome. Pressed for change the church implemented reform. from 1820s grassroots revival of of church dioceses structure. Transformed church from isolated parish churches into a more unified enterprise.
2.3 1871- disestablishment of the church of Ireland as the state church, relieving farmers of heavy church tithe. Part of Gladstone's plan to address the irises problem.
3 NonConformists Churches
3.1 Older denominations of protestantism still flourished- Quaker and /unitarian faiths, and the Baptists. the 19th c also saw the growth of several new denominations expeciallt methodism and the Salvation Army.
3.1.1 In Scotland there were Presbyterian dissenters before the disruption, and members of the free church after.
3.1.2 Wales- experience huge growth in dissent- in 1850 it had 2.5 ties as many nonconformists chapels as Anglican.
3.1.3 In society the landed aristocracy were strongly associated with the C of E, but established church was part of the establishment. It reinforced social and hierarchical structures To be a religious non conformist was more than just s religious stance, it was fundamentally oppositional, anti establishment stance.
3.2 Nonconformist argued there was no necessary connection between the state and the state church, but not popular view amongst Anglican elites. PM Salisbury found the notion of a non Anglican voter a baffling one.
3.2.1 Non conformists protested having too pay church rates, which funded their local Anglican churches. They were enraged by the 1870 Education Act, because it funded denominational schools.
3.2.2 Largest non conformist sect, was methodism, founded by John Wesley in1738.412,00 by 1901. over time it split into various other sects. It was for those who did not fell they were well dressed/educated enough for Anglican doctrines. it located authority in congregation rather than the preacher, and enthusiastic styles of prayer.
3.2.3 Salvation army today known for its shops, but best described as as inner city form of methodism. founded by william Booth in 1865. They started the army as a domestic evangelical mission in poverty stricken east end of London. Wore uniforms and thought of their tightly structure organisations as a christian army.
3.3 Most non conformist chapels, particularly those in poor waking class areas, had very few upper class members. However chapels attracted the middle classes. Some historian agur this helped transform Britain, and it did play a role in the rise of the middle classes.
4 Roman Catholicism/ Other
4.1 A lot of anti catholic sentiments- suspicion that they were not patriots. Many British perceived catholics as lacking in a wide range of important secular qualities.
4.1.1 Overall anti Catholic prejudice was broadly spread, deeply felt and frequently expressed. \It was akin racial prejudice today, its prescience in vicroian culture almost cannot be overstated.
4.1.2 3 types of Catholic- small group of old english aristocratic families. Large majority of post famine irish immigrants. both groups very different, different forms of observation, caused problems. Native catholics often embarrassed by irsih. In popular mind Catholicism linked with the Irish. Irish immigration dictated the location of new churches and irish and catholic were sometime used interchangeably.
4.2 Catholic gained many civil rights in the period -1829 emancipation gave them political rights, and 1850 allowed the pope to reinstate the bishops and the roman hierarchy in england and wales. (sparked anti catholic demonstrations)
4.3 Number of non christians in Britain was small. Only group of any significance size was the Jews.
4.3.1 Jew not as fiercely hated as the catholics, but certainly experienced discrimination. Any evangelicals argued Judaism was bereft of spirituality., some vicotirans still believed in blood libels. Jews enjoyed more political freedoms then elsewhere in europe. they cote vote from 1835 and were emaciated in1858. by late 919th. britain had a small but fairly prosperous jewish pop. Russian Jews immigration affected th anglo jewish community in the sam ways irish immigration affected the catholics. Jewish immigrants lived indistinctive communities, a=with styles of observance, tradiotns and language that set them apart. This small assimilated community challenged b a wave of immigration in the decades after 1881, from over 120,000 jews fleeing from anti emetic Russia. Clams that Jack the Ripper ws jewish, were a symptom of anti semitism. in London's east end.
4.3.2 Atheism Victorian birtian asls had a small but high profile group of non believers. who actively rejected religion and denied the existence of God. Non belief was linked with left wing politics and was seen as extremely radical, and even anti social. E.g Charles Bradlaugh, who was active in the reform league. Bradlaugh was elected to parliament in 1880, but could not sit because he refused to take an oath on the bible. Public opinion was divided between those who saw him as persecuted and those who were outraged an atheist could even be elected.
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