Faith and Urban Domestic Sociability in Northern England, 1760-1835

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This article examines the relationship between religion and the informal, everyday instances of sociability that took place in urban homes between 1760 and 1835. Using the letters and diaries of middling and labouring individuals living in northern English towns, it suggests that religious practice was not separate from ‘secular’ sociability, but occurred in the same time and space. The article demonstrates that worldly practices and considerations such as courtship and the demonstration of status were entwined with matters of faith, and that the social opportunities offered by the industrializing town were considered to revitalize rather than endanger faith. The article builds on existing research into sociability and nonconformity in earlier periods to suggest that informal domestic sociability was a significant arena for lay agency and an integral part of individual faith for Anglicans, as well as individuals across the Protestant spectrum, well into the nineteenth century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-280
Number of pages26
JournalThe Historical Journal
Issue number2
Early online date5 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


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