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The Oxford History of Protestant Dissenting Traditions, Volume IIThe Long Eighteenth Century c. 1689-c. 1828$
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Andrew Thompson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198702245

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198702245.001.0001

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The Material Culture of Dissent

The Material Culture of Dissent

Meeting Houses, Chapels, and Churches in England and America, 1600–1830

(p.411) 19 The Material Culture of Dissent
The Oxford History of Protestant Dissenting Traditions, Volume II

Carl Lounsbury

Oxford University Press

The long eighteenth century was the period in which Dissenting meeting houses moved out of the backstreets into positions of public prominence. Initially, hard to distinguish from the domestic dwellings that surrounded them, Dissenting meeting houses developed a distinctive style of their own. Often lacking the towers of their Anglican counterparts, they were designed as venues for preaching, rather than elaborate ceremony and ritual, and their internal configuration and decoration reflected these priorities. While drawing inspiration from earlier Puritan and European models, concerns about visibility and status made a significant impact on meeting-house design. As concerns about Dissenters’ social and political positions diminished, structures became more permanent and ornate, while retaining the central emphasis on the pulpit.

Keywords:   auditory church, axial plan, Ecclesiology movement, meeting house, New England, reformed theology

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