Rural Society and the Anglican Clergy, 1815-1914

Rural Society and the Anglican Clergy, 1815-1914

Encountering and Managing the Poor

Robert Lee


Boydell Press



A vivid and accessible reappraisal of the frequently uneasy relationship between the Victorian clergyman and his congregation.
The conduct of divine service was only one item on the agenda of the nineteenth-century clergyman. He might have to sit on the magistrates' bench, or concern himself with business as a farmer or landowner, or attend a meeting of the Poor Law guardians. He would, in all probability, be closely involved with the day-to-day running of the local school, and he would almost certainly be the principle administrator of the parochial charities. While some of these roles were clearly predestined to bring him into conflict with certain members of his flock, others seem ostensibly designed to operate in their interests. None, however, seem to have earned him much in the way of devotion and respect: instead, each of them at one time or another attracted the direct hostility of parishioners, most particularly those attached to dissenting and/or radical groups.
This book is a detailed exploration of the relationship between Anglican clergymen and the inhabitants of rural parishes in the nineteenth century. Taking Norfolk as a focus, the author examines the many and profound ways in which the Victorian Church affected the daily lives and political destinies of local communities.


August 2006
248 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Studies in Modern British Religious History
ISBN: 9781843832027
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
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(A) significant achievement (...) fresh and stimulating (it) should be essential reading for anyone seeking to assess the fortunes of rural religion in the nineteenth century. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW
One of the great strengths of the book is the incredible amount and variety of sources.(...)One final remark on what is overall a fine monograph is one that no doubt plagues most books that focus on one region but whose title indicates a broader sweep.H-ALBION, H-NET REVIEWS
A well-crafted, detailed, and immensely suggestive study, which opens up numerous insights into the role of the Church of England in the countryside and touches on a variety of matters that have been the stuff of controversy in the historical literature for a long time. JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES
(A) well-researched and forcefully written study. (...) A very stimulating book that anyone interested in the Victorian clergy or Victorian rural society must read. VICTORIAN STUDIES
An interesting and valuable study to set alongside others on religion and rural society in the long nineteenth century, and one whose evidence base stimulates ideas for further investigation and interpretation. ARCHIVES

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