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The Dissenters Volume IIIThe Crisis and Conscience of Nonconformity$
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Michael R. Watts

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198229698

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198229698.001.0001

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Nonconformity’s Shrinking Consituency

Nonconformity’s Shrinking Consituency

The Evidence of the Dissenting Registers

(p.101) 3 Nonconformity’s Shrinking Consituency
The Dissenters Volume III

Michael R. Watts

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes how the final quarter of the nineteenth century witnessed not only the decline in membership of Nonconformist churches and attendances, but also the first indications that the social basis of their congregations was narrowing. It describes the loss of Nonconformist businessmen, the economic and numerical decline of the Nonconformist retailers, and the continuing drain of the unskilled and low-paid away from Dissent. By the beginning of the twentieth century, Nonconformity was losing crucial financial support and its ability to appeal to the masses.

Keywords:   Nonconformists, church membership, church attendance, Nonconformist retailers, Dissent

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