A Vicar in Victorian Norfolk
Title Details

317 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

37 b/w. 1 line. Illustrations

Imprint: Boydell Press

A Vicar in Victorian Norfolk

The Life and Times of Benjamin Armstrong (1817-1890)

by Susanna Wade Martins

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
An engaging account of the life of a nineteenth-century priest.
The Revd Benjamin Armstrong, for many years vicar of the market town of East Dereham, Norfolk, is best-known for what have been described as "one of England's greatest clerical diaries", eleven volumes spanning his whole adult life, between 1850 and 1888. This first full biography puts his story into the context of the period in which he lived: a time of turmoil in the church, with its conflict between high and low forms of service, and theological arguments, stirred up not least by controversies over Darwin's theories of creation. It also vividly portrays rural life at a time of great change, when society became more fluid, railways allowed the economy to grow and develop, and thevote was extended. We see this through the eyes of Armstrong himself, a fine example of the then "new-style" Church of England clergy who lived in their parishes, took more services than their predecessors, supported their schools and showed a genuine concern for the well-being of their parishioners. By the time he retired, church life in Dereham had been transformed, with congregations typically of 1,000 at each of the Sunday services.
Armstrong also served on various Local Boards, as well as setting up the Literary Institute, the Rifle Volunteers and supporting musical and cultural events. He also had a full social life; his friends included prominent townspeople and the local clergy, gentry and aristocracy -- and there are incisive pen portraits of many of his associates and their eccentricities. These activities are set against the background of his family life, with its moments of tragedy and worry, including the death of a young child and the elopement of another.

Dr SUSANNA WADE MARTINS is an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History at the University of East Anglia. Her previous publications includeThe East Anglian Countryside: Changing Landscapes 1870-1950 with Tom Williamson (2008), Coke of Norfolk, 1754-1842 (2009) and The Conservation Movement in Norfolk - A History (2015).
Foreword
Introduction
Early life
The move to Dereham
The Norfolk Clergy
Church life
The Building Legacy
Schools
Town life
Family life
Friends
The later years
Armstrong, a man of his time
Bibliography
"In these pages, we encounter elopement, child and adult mortality within the family... the birth of trade unions and political wrangles...This is more than a biography: it is an interesting contribution to the social history of Victorian Norfolk, and, indeed, to the changes in rural life more widely within 19th­century England...An excellent read." CHURCH TIMES
"Provid[es] a fascinating window into the experience of a Victorian middle-class family...clearly written with many illustrations including old maps of Dereham...a thorough and enjoyable biography." DEREHAM ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY
"Susanna Wade Martins' valuable illustrated biography will [.] be of considerable interest to historians and students of the Victorian Church. It is especially recommended for libraries." THE READER
"A Vicar in Victorian Norfolk offers a valuable picture of nineteenth-century life that will interest church and social historians alike." Patrick Armstrong, Journal of British Studies

Hardcover

9781783273300

September 2018

Buy

$39.95 / £25.00

Shipping Options

Buy

Buy

Purchasing options are not available in this country.

Ebook (EPUB)

9781787443839

January 2019

Buy

£19.99 / $24.99

Shipping Options

Buy

Buy

Purchasing options are not available in this country.

Ebook (EPDF)

9781787442986

January 2019

Buy

£19.99 / $24.99

Shipping Options

Buy

Buy

Purchasing options are not available in this country.

Title Details

317 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

37 b/w. 1 line. Illustrations

Imprint: Boydell Press