October 1, 2000
This pioneering book is based upon very extensive analysis of the famous 1851 Census of Religious Worship and earlier sources such as the 1676 Compton Census. Its scope and modern analytical methods eclipse all previous British work on the subject, and it is a major step forward in the study of religious history. The authors stress contextual and regional understanding of religion. Among the subjects covered for all of England and Wales are the geography of the Church of England, Roman Catholicism, the old and new dissenting denominations, the spatial complementarity of denominations, and their importance for political history. A range of further questions are then analysed, such as regional continuities in religion, the growth of religious pluralism, Sunday schools and child labour during industrialisation, free and appropriated church sittings, landownership and religion, and urbanisation and regional 'secularisation'.