A Time Of Unhappy Commotion

The Church of England and the People in Central Nottinghamshire 1820-1870

by Michael Austin

The rural deanery of Southwell was made up of twenty three parishes in south-east Nottinghamshire, centred on the small market town from which it took its name. In the early decades of the 19th century the district was almost entirely agricultural, its economy and society dominated by the church and a few powerful families The Church of England formed a central part of this traditional way of life, in which the parson was often appointed by the squire or, as here, by the prebendaries of a deeply conservative collegiate church resistant to reform.

But all was not well with the Church in rural Nottinghamshire in this period. The impact of industry in other parts of the county was beginning to affect villages around Southwell; the problem of the poor was increasing rather than diminishing; and the parishes in the deanery suffered from absentee or pluralist incumbents, low stipends, poor clergy housing and churches in urgent need of restoration

This new study looks at the Church in south Nottinghamshire between the 1820s and 1850s, based on a wealth of previously unused sources, including the local press, books and pamphlets written by the clergy and a newly discovered record of a visitation of Southwell deanery made in 1855. It brings to light a wealth of detail on what the Church was doing or not doing, what some of its clergy thought it should be doing, and how it related to other individuals and institutions

Michael Austin is also the author of Almost Like A Dream and Under The Heavy Clouds

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Paperback 260pp

9 78 1898937 753