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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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‘Influential families … lost to nonconformity’

‘Influential families … lost to nonconformity’

The Flight of the Bougeoisie

(p.110) 4 ‘Influential families … lost to nonconformity’
The Dissenters Volume III

Michael R. Watts

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes how wealthy Dissenters left Nonconformity for the Church of England in the second half of the nineteenth century. It also details how churches responded to the upward social mobility of their congregations. As the population continued to rise and as living standards improved from the 1860s onwards, and as public transport developed, especially in London, the middle class and the more highly skilled working class moved into the newly-developing suburbs. Churches followed in order to hold on to their congregations. Increasingly bourgeois congregations also wanted their new places of worship to look like parish churches. New chapels were built and the accommodation they provided was often far in excess of their congregations' needs due to a mix of ambition, denominational rivalry, and misplaced optimism.

Keywords:   religious dissent, Nonconformists, church membership, middle class, suburbs, chapels, religious denominations

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