Women and evangelical religion in Kent and Northamptonshire, 1800-1850
thesisposted on 15.12.2014, 10:44 by Sibyl Margaretta. Phillips
This thesis illustrates, examines and explains a diversity of female responses to Evangelical religion in Kent and Northamptonshire between 1800 and 1850. Previously untapped archival sources are investigated producing fresh evidence of Evangelicalism in women's domestic and local experience. Special collections, parish records and various other documents are explored to establish the religious and social identities of women featuring most prominently in this study. Family background, socio-economic circumstances, local environment and childhood denominational influences are shown to have been of greatest significance in shaping the spiritual attitudes and activities of women discussed here individually, or collectively. Local traditions of belief were important and the historical development of Evangelical religion in specific parishes is traced. Female responses to Evangelicalism are considered not only in parochial, but also in broader religious, political, intellectual, geographical and social contexts of the period. This wide-ranging enquiry points to avenues of research that can bring something new to the local history of women and Evangelical religion. Chapter one concerns an Orthodox Anglican woman with a family history of ecclesiastical and civic service in Canterbury, whose antipathy towards Evangelicalism and its expansion in Kent is investigated from her correspondence. The second chapter focuses on women in a Northamptonshire family who provided a home for the Rev. Thomas Jones (of Creaton) for over fifty years. Letters and other substantial documents give insight into a household and locality significant as centres of Evangelical religion. Chapter three investigates female involvement with the Church Missionary Society, the British and Foreign Bible Society and other Evangelical activities in and around Creaton. The final chapter relates to a young lacemaker belonging to a Particular Baptist community in Northamptonshire established by noted Evangelicals. Analysis of some of her published poems and hymns reveals them openly expressive of Evangelicalism.