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The Anglican assertion in Lancashire : the role of the Commissioners' Churches in three Lancashire townships, 1818-1856

The years between 1818 and 1856 encompass the life of the Church Building Commission, one agency of a determined assertion by the Anglican Church. Under the Commissioners' aegis 82 of the 612 new places of worship were planted in Lancashire. The intention is to analyse the rationale and impact of a remarkable church building project and its role in the Anglican initiative in the county. The thesis is the first detailed local study of the churches' distinctive role, beyond the assessment of their artistic worth. M.H. Port in Six Hundred New Churches (2006) produced the definitive work on the architecture and central administration of "Waterloo Churches". He had less to say on their social and religious importance. In order to explore the rationale, impact and role of the churches, I adopted a case study approach selecting three churches in south central Lancashire, one from each deanery of Manchester Diocese which was created out of Chester Diocese in 1847. These were St George's Chorley (consecrated in 1825), its namesake in Tyldesley (1825) and St Stephen's Tockholes (1833). The sample provided variety in socio-economic and religious contexts but also some similarity, in that all three were townships on a Lancashire denominational frontier. The thesis describes the immense diversity and complexity in causation and motivation behind these churches, but highlighting the presence at local level of a strong belief in reclaiming Protestant Dissenters for the national church. It concludes, in contrast with most previous judgements, that the Commissioners' churches in these townships achieved significant success, albeit in contrasting manner and pace and for different reasons. Their distinctively Gothic architecture was striking and more appropriate to worship than critics have allowed. The financial challenges were not as debilitating as routinely supposed. The changing parochial boundaries around Commissioners' churches were rational and encouraged community building rather than the destruction of identities. The intense commitment of clergy associated with the new churches helped to effect a type of Anglican counter-reformation in Lancashire.
Date January 2018
CreatorsWalker, William
PublisherUniversity of Central Lancashire
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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