A Social History of the Nonconformist Ministry in England and Wales 1800-1930

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Protestant nonconformity was one of the most significant influences in nineteenth-century Britain, and has rightly received considerable attention from historians. At both local and national level much of its influence was channelled through, and inspired by, the activities and utterances of the professional minister. The names of the most successful were often household words in the Victorian period, and most have attracted a biographer. Yet neither the experiences nor the careers of these pulpit princes were necessarily those of the typical minister - almost nine thousand of them in 1900 - who served in the chapels of the main dissenting denominations. Using simple sampling and statistical techniques, Kenneth D. Brown sets out to recreate the lives, both private and professional, of this less celebrated but faithful and more representative body of men, rescuing them from the anonymity of the past.