The following is a list of Clive Field’s principal publications on British religious history (other than Methodist history), in chronological order within publication type:


British Religion in Numbers,, especially:

Religious Statistics in Great Britain: An Historical Introduction,

Religion in Great Britain, 1939-99: A Compendium of Gallup Poll Data,

News posts on religious statistical sources,

Analytical catalogue of religious statistical sources,

Changing belief in Britain,

Book-Length Works

‘Non-Recurrent Christian data’, Religion, Reviews of United Kingdom Statistical Sources, edited by Wynne Frederick Maunder, Oxford: Pergamon Press for the Royal Statistical Society and Economic and Social Research Council, 1987, pp. 189-504.

Church and Chapel in Early Victorian Shropshire: Returns from the 1851 Census of Religious Worship, Shropshire Record Series, Vol. 8, Keele: Centre for Local History, University of Keele, 2004, lxiii + 171pp.

  • ABSTRACT: A full census of religious worship in England and Wales was attempted in 1851. This edition publishes the 663 returns for individual Shropshire churches, chapels and meeting houses – Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Protestant Nonconformist. The returns give attendance totals at services on 30 March, average attendances for the previous year, information on buildings and endowments, and remarks on local conditions. The editor’s introduction is supported by statistical tables and a bibliography and there are indexes of denominations, places, and signatories.

Britain’s Last Religious Revival? Quantifying Belonging, Behaving, and Believing in the Long 1950s, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, xii + 140pp.

  • ABSTRACT: Combining historical and social scientific insights and approaches, this is a major contribution to the literature of British secularization, particularly its chronology. The book examines the claims by Callum Brown that the late 1940s and early 1950s in Britain were a period of religious resurgence prior to the onset of revolutionary secularization in the 1960s. These claims are substantially rejected on the basis of the first systematic analysis of a balanced portfolio of quantitative performance measures, published and unpublished, for all faith traditions. They subsume the three dimensions of belonging, behaving, and believing – the typology increasingly applied to the study of religiosity. It is concluded that the long 1950s accord better with a gradualist interpretation of religious change in modern Britain. An up-to-date historiographical and bibliographical review is also offered. The volume will appeal to social historians of modern Britain, sociologists of religion, clergy, and church growth practitioners.

Secularization in the Long 1960s: Numerating Religion in Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017, xvii + 269pp.

  • ABSTRACT: Secularization in the Long 1960s: Numerating Religion in Britain provides a major empirical contribution to the literature of secularization. It moves beyond the now largely sterile and theoretical debates about the validity of the secularization thesis or paradigm. Combining historical and social scientific perspectives, Clive D. Field uses a wide range of quantitative sources to probe the extent and pace of religious change in Britain during the long 1960s. In most cases, data is presented for the years 1955-80, with particular attention to the methodological and other challenges posed by each source type. Following an introductory chapter, which reviews the historiography, introduces the sources, and defines the chronological and other parameters, Field provides evidence for all major facets of religious belonging, behaving, and believing, as well as for institutional church measures. The work engages with, and largely refutes, Callum G. Brown’s influential assertion that Britain experienced ‘revolutionary’ secularization in the 1960s, which was highly gendered in nature, and with 1963 the major tipping-point. Instead, a more nuanced picture emerges with some religious indicators in crisis, others continuing on an existing downward trajectory, and yet others remaining stable. Building on previous research by the author and other scholars, and rejecting recent proponents of counter-secularization, the long 1960s are ultimately located within the context of a longstanding gradualist, and still ongoing, process of secularization in Britain.


Religious Statistics in Great Britain: An Historical Introduction, Manchester: British Religion in Numbers, Institute for Social Change, University of Manchester, 2010, [4] + 90pp.

  • ABSTRACT: This essay summarizes the development of religious statistics in Great Britain from the seventeenth century to the present day. In particular, it describes the contributions made to the quantification of religion by the state, faith communities, and other agencies (social investigators, opinion pollsters, academic researchers, and print and broadcast media). A few reflections on future needs and prospects are also offered. Nine appendices provide additional historical and bibliographical detail about specific sources.

Religion in Great Britain, 1939-99: A Compendium of Gallup Poll Data, Manchester: British Religion in Numbers, Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research, University of Manchester, 2015, 64pp.

  • ABSTRACT: Sample surveys are a vital source of religious statistics. They were pioneered in Britain by the Gallup Poll, formerly known as the British Institute of Public Opinion, which was founded in 1937. Topline time series of Gallup’s principal published (and some unpublished) data on religion and the paranormal between 1939 and 1999 are here collated for the first time, in the form of 111 thematically-arranged tables, together with a subject index. An introduction provides a brief account of the history and methods of the Gallup Poll and of its publications and archives.

British Religion and the First World War: A Select Bibliography of Modern Literature, 2017, 38pp.


The 1851 Religious Census of Great Britain: a Bibliographical Guide for Local and Regional Historians, Salisbury: British Association for Local History, 1999, [4] + 24pp.

  • ABSTRACT: Pamphlet reprint, with bibliographical update, of an article originally published in Local Historian in 1997. Provides a critical bibliographical review, arranged topographically, of the primary and secondary sources for the 1851 religious census.

Articles and Essays

‘The 1851 religious census: a select bibliography of materials relating to England and Wales’, Proceedings of the Wesley Historical Society, Vol. XLI, Part 6, October 1978, pp. 175-82.

‘Sources for the history of Protestant Nonconformity in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester’, Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, Vol. 71, No. 2, Summer 1989, pp. 103-39.

‘Marching to Zion: faith and the Victorians’ [review article of Religion in Victorian Britain, edited by Gerald Parsons and James Moore (Manchester University Press, 1988, 4 vols)], Labour History Review, Vol. 55, No. 1, Spring 1990, pp. 49-61.

‘A godly people? Aspects of religious practice in the Diocese of Oxford, 1738-1936’, Southern History, Vol. 14, 1992, pp. 46-73.

‘Adam and Eve: gender in the English Free Church constituency’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 44, No. 1, January 1993, pp. 63-79.

‘The 1851 religious census of Great Britain: a bibliographical guide for local and regional historians’, Local Historian, Vol. 27, No. 4, November 1997, pp. 194-217.

  • ABSTRACT: Critical bibliographical review, arranged topographically, of the primary and secondary sources for the 1851 religious census, the only occasion when the Government has included an enquiry into religion as part of the population census of mainland Great Britain.

‘Who’s for Lent?’, Quadrant, March 1998, pp. 2-3.

  • ABSTRACT: Overview of Gallup Poll evidence from 1939 to the present day on the observance of Lent in Great Britain.

‘It’s all chicks and going out: the observance of Easter in post-war Britain’, Theology, Vol. CI, No. 800, March/April 1998, pp. 82-90.

  • ABSTRACT: Overview of opinion poll and other evidence on various aspects of the observance of Easter as a religious and secular festival in Great Britain since the Second World War, including church attendance and knowledge of and belief in key elements of the Easter story such as the Resurrection.

‘When a child is born: the Christian dimension of Christmas in Britain since the 1960s’, Modern Believing, Vol. 40, No. 3, July 1999, pp. 29-40.

  • ABSTRACT: Uses evidence from opinion polls to chart the extent of persistence of a Christian dimension in the observance of Christmas in Britain since the 1960s with regard to: Christmas as a religious festival; knowledge of and belief in the Christmas story; churchgoing; and carols. Concludes that, for all the inroads of commercialism, and for all its strength as a traditional mid-winter secular holiday, the Christian content of Christmas is far from dead in the minds of ordinary people.

‘Faith in the metropolis: opinion polls and Christianity in post-war London’, London Journal, Vol. 24, No. 1, 1999, pp. 68-84.

  • ABSTRACT: Uses evidence, mostly unpublished, from opinion polls to chart the persistence of Christianity in post-war London with regard to: denominational affiliation; church attendance and Sunday observance; private religious practices; religious beliefs; and religious attitudes. Concludes that there is continuing faith in the metropolis and that the capital’s reputation for irreligion has been exaggerated.

‘Counting the flock: a note on religious practice in the late eighteenth-century Diocese of Norwich’, Norfolk Archaeology, Vol. XLIII, Pt. II, 1999, pp. 317-26.

  • ABSTRACT: Before the national religious census of 1851, evidence about the churchgoing habits of the British people is limited. However, one post-Restoration source available for six English dioceses are clergy returns to questionnaires issued in advance of episcopal visitation which, inter alia, probed absenteeism from public worship. Norwich was one of these dioceses, and this article reviews the findings of the visitation returns of 1777 and 1801 to form a broad picture of the extent and characteristics of non-churchgoing in Norfolk and Suffolk during the late eighteenth century.

‘“The secularised Sabbath” revisited: opinion polls as sources for Sunday observance in contemporary Britain’, Contemporary British History, Vol. 15, No. 1, Spring 2001, pp. 1-20.

  • ABSTRACT: With due recognition of their methodological limitations, commercial public opinion polls conducted amongst quota or random samples of  adult Britons are used to chart changes in attitudes to, and in activities taking place on, Sunday during the late twentieth century. Although principally conceived as a guide to the raw data, the article takes William Pickering’s notion of ‘The Secularized Sabbath’ as the conceptual backdrop against which these changes are measured. Some evidence is found for the loss of the distinctive character of Sunday, both in religious and socio-cultural terms. In part this is attributable to the progressive legislative deregulation of Sundays and to altered patterns of employment. However, for the majority, if no longer the whole, of the population Sunday still remains a day set apart from the remainder of the week, by an emphasis on family, rest, relaxation and pleasure.

‘“The haemorrhage of faith”? Opinion polls as sources for religious practices, beliefs and attitudes in Scotland since the 1970s’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol. 16, No. 2, 2001, pp. 157-75.

  • ABSTRACT: Scotland has traditionally been seen as a religious country which, according to Callum Brown, has latterly succumbed to the same secularizing tendencies which have affected many Western civilizations. Brown has described the Scottish process as so severe as to be tantamount to ‘the haemorrhage of faith’. Commercial opinion poll data for representative samples of the Scottish population, a source not greatly utilized by Brown himself, are here reviewed for evidence of religious practices, beliefs and attitudes in contemporary Scotland. Considering these data in isolation, and more briefly in relation to equivalent British and world poll data, it is concluded that there has undoubtedly been religious decline since the 1970s, especially during the 1990s. Whilst Scotland is far from being a post-Christian nation, according to the polls it is no longer, outwardly or inwardly, significantly more religious than Britain as a whole and much of Western Europe.

‘The Protestant Churches’, Birmingham: Bibliography of a City, edited by Carl Chinn, Birmingham: University of Birmingham Press, 2003, pp. 78-110.

‘Unitarian College collection and other Unitarian materials in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester’, Unitarian to the Core: Unitarian College, Manchester, 1854-2004, edited by Leonard Smith, Manchester: Unitarian College, Manchester, 2004, pp. 177-84.

‘John Bull’s Judeophobia: images of the Jews in British public opinion polls since the late 1930s’, Jahrbuch für Antisemitismusforschung, Vol. 15, 2006, pp. 259-300.

  • ABSTRACT: The extent of anti-Semitism in British society, and attitudes to the state of Israel, are examined through a systematic analysis of the evidence of 152 public opinion polls conducted over a period of almost seventy years among representative samples of the national adult population. Most of them were undertaken by Gallup. The account of the years of war and Holocaust, in 1938-50, is also supplemented by other more local, and sometimes less scientifically constructed, quantitative data, especially from Mass-Observation. Although few questions have been replicated over several surveys, it has nevertheless proved possible to advance eighteen propositions concerning perceptions of both Jews and Israel since the Second World War, and what the linkage between the two has been. Overall, Britain is still shown from the polls to be a society relatively free of serious anti-Semitism, but milder forms of stereotypical prejudice against Jews lie not far below the surface, and opposition towards Israel has undoubtedly hardened considerably in very recent years.

‘Rendering unto Caesar? The politics of Church of England clergy since 1980’, Journal of Anglican Studies, Vol. 5, No. 1, June 2007, pp. 89-108.

  • ABSTRACT: This is the first systematic attempt to chart the evolving political views of contemporary Church of England clergy. The article is based upon a comparative quantitative analysis and synthesis of eighteen national and four local surveys conducted between 1979 and 2004. Ministerial opinions on the state’s influence on the Church and the Church’s influence on the state are both considered. Ten specific conclusions are drawn. While the clergy generally cling to the concept of an Established Church, they are very critical of some of the traditional manifestations of that establishment. They also mostly think it highly appropriate for the Church to intervene in the world of party politics, and not simply on moral issues. In this they are positioned ahead of the thinking of many of the committed Anglican laity, for whom a degree of separation of religion and politics remains the ideal. The academic, ecclesiastical and political implications of these findings are briefly explored.

‘Islamophobia in contemporary Britain: the evidence of the opinion polls, 1988-2006’, Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Vol. 18, No. 4, October 2007, pp. 447-77.

  • ABSTRACT: British attitudes towards Islam and Muslims are examined on the basis of 104 public opinion polls conducted between 1988 and 2006, 90 of them since 2001. Many of these surveys were undertaken at national crisis points of one sort or another for which Islam and Muslims could not avoid being seen as causal factors. Nine high-level conclusions are drawn from this evidence. There has been increasing Islamophobia, not least since 2001. A stereotypical picture of British Muslims in the eyes of the majority population has emerged, Muslims being seen as slow to integrate into mainstream society, feeling only a qualified sense of patriotism, and prone to espouse anti-western values which lead many to condone so-called Islamic terrorism. To an extent, these stereotypes reflect the reality of Muslim views, as displayed in 29 polls conducted among the British Muslim community, mainly since 2001.

‘Churchgoing in the cradle of English Christianity: Kentish evidence from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries’, Archaeologia Cantiana, Vol. CXXVIII, 2008, pp. 335-63.

‘A shilling for Queen Elizabeth: the era of state regulation of church attendance in England, 1552-1969’, Journal of Church and State, Vol. 50, No. 2, Spring 2008, pp. 213-53.  

‘Preserving Zion: the anatomy of Protestant Nonconformist archives in Great Britain and Ireland’, Archives, Vol. XXXIII, No. 118, April 2008, pp. 14-51.

  • ABSTRACT: For some four centuries Protestant Nonconformity has been a major factor in the history of the British Isles, with significant social, economic, educational, cultural, scientific and political, as well as religious, impacts. Its archives have frequently suffered loss, and what remain are denominationally and geographically dispersed. The current survey of the Nonconformist archival scene is the first overview for almost 75 years. It was prepared in connection with the Religious Archives Group’s ongoing efforts to develop a more strategic approach to religious archives as a whole. Based upon personal knowledge, library and internet research, and on responses to a questionnaire sent to repositories with Nonconformist holdings, the article presents a detailed archive map of provision in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. It also offers an analytical commentary on the findings, bringing out overarching themes, and makes recommendations for a ten-point action plan. Appendices include a bibliography of modern publications relating to Nonconformist archives and contact details for repositories.

Puzzled People revisited: religious believing and belonging in wartime Britain, 1939-45’, 20th Century British History, Vol. 19, No. 4, 2008, pp. 446-79.

  • ABSTRACT: The paper investigates whether the Second World War was a significant factor in Britain’s transition to a secular society. Quantitative data about the religiosity of adult Britons in 1939-45 are reviewed under five headings: faith, belief, affiliation, practice and opinions. These span the spectrum of institutional Christianity and implicit religion. The evidence derives from Church statistics and social surveys undertaken by Mass-Observation (which prepared the celebrated report on Puzzled People) and other agencies. Cumulatively, while some ground was lost in terms of religious belief and practice, especially during the first half of the war, there was hardly any irreversible collapse of religion. Such decline as occurred was often a continuation of pre-war trends and, in certain respects, relatively short-term. The war is therefore not seen as a particularly major milestone in Britain’s secularisation history. Possible explanations for this resilience of wartime religion are advanced.

‘Zion’s people: who were the English Nonconformists? Part 1: gender, age, marital status and ethnicity’, Local Historian, Vol. 40, No. 2, May 2010, pp. 91-112.

  • ABSTRACT: In this article in our ‘Themes in local history’ series, Clive Field, one of the main authorities on Nonconformist religion in Great Britain, introduces a major analysis which seeks to profile the people who, over the period from the seventeenth to the late twentieth centuries, formed the Nonconformist congregations. The article is packed with statistics (there are twenty statistical tables, specially compiled for this paper, and many of them based on completely new calculations). There is also an extensive and very detailed set of notes and references, amounting to a comprehensive bibliography. Taken together, these confirm that this article is a major resource for the future. An introductory section sets out some of the themes and issues which have attracted the attention of historians, and then discusses the sources which provide the evidence from which statistical analyses and conclusions can be drawn. The distinction between members, attenders and affiliates, and the implications of this division for presenting statistics, is explained. The article then tackles the three key divisions of gender (demonstrating changing patterns over the centuries), age and ethnicity (the last being important in the context of discussion as to whether ethnic minorities identify with Nonconformity and, if so, which particular denominations). Using the very extensive statistical data, with very many local examples (especially from published case studies) this will provide an invaluable framework for anybody researching the local circumstances of religion in the past three hundred and fifty years. This is the first of a three-part series, which will also consider occupations and social status.

‘Zion’s people: who were the English Nonconformists? Part 2: occupations (Quakers, Baptists, Congregationalists)’, Local Historian, Vol. 40, No. 3, August 2010, pp. 208-23.

  • ABSTRACT: This is the second part of Clive Field’s major work on the English Nonconformists, using a wealth of statistical evidence to portray the social, economic and personal characteristics of congregations, particularly in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The first part dealt with gender, age and ethnicity, defining key personal characteristics of the Nonconformist communities. In this part Field considers the crucial question of occupation, which can be used to build up a reliable profile of the social class and status of congregations. Using a range of surveys and statistical analyses compiled by researchers over the decades, or constructed by the Churches themselves, the paper identifies the distinguishing identities of Quakers (clearly definable as from the upper ranks of society throughout the period), Baptists and Congregationalists. There are many local examples, and a total of seventeen statistical tables, as well as a very comprehensive set of bibliographical notes on sources. For those undertaking local investigations into faith, this article, together with parts 1 and 3, will be an invaluable comparative reference tool.

‘Zion’s people: who were the English Nonconformists? Part 3: occupations (Methodists) and conclusions’, Local Historian, Vol. 40, No. 4, November 2010, pp. 292-308.

  • ABSTRACT: In the final part of his magisterial three part investigation and survey of English Nonconformity, Clive Field focuses on the occupations and social status of Methodists in the period since their growth in the mid eighteenth century. Using a wealth of statistics, presented in tables, he highlights their distinctive characteristics, with comparisons with other denominations. This section should be read in conjunction with the previous article (part 2) which appeared in the August 2010 issue of The Local Historian. He then revisits the evidence which he has presented in this series, looking at the special characteristics of the different Nonconformist denominations during the past 300 years, in terms of their gender and age profiles; their ethnicity; their social status; and their occupations. His main concern is not to make comparisons with Anglicans and Roman Catholics, but to highlight the often considerable differences within English Nonconformity, there being major variations between, for example, Quakers on the one hand and Primitive Methodists on the other. The four page conclusion provides a convenient overview of the wide themes, while any student of Nonconformity will welcome this three part series with its carefully detailed statistical presentations and analyses, providing a clear and reliable framework within which to place the experience of individual denominations in specific local studies.

‘Young British Muslims since 9/11: a composite attitudinal profile’, Religion, State & Society, Vol. 39, Nos 2-3, June-September 2011, pp. 159-75.

  • ABSTRACT: The perceived radicalisation of Muslim youth permeates representations of contemporary British Islam, notably in the media, but also in government and political thinking and in some academic discourse. This essay reviews the quantitative evidence base for this widely-held belief, utilising 27 national opinion polls conducted among British Muslims since 2001 whose results have been disaggregated by age. The views of young Muslims, mostly categorised as under-35 years, are compared and contrasted with the older generation in their faith community, from two broad perspectives. First, the relative strengths of Muslim and British identities in shaping socio-cultural behaviours and values are assessed; secondly, the impact of government foreign policy and counter-terrorism strategy on Muslim opinion, demonstrating linkages to political alienation and Islamophobia. The picture which emerges is by no means monochrome and inter-generational differences are not universally pronounced. The data enable three sub-communities of young British Muslims to be identified, and their attributes are described. One of these, a small minority, is undoubtedly quite radicalised, but Muslim alienation from mainstream British society is far from being the exclusive preserve of this group, and there is a danger of the public policy agenda becoming too exclusively focused on them.

‘“A quaint and dangerous anachronism”? Who supports the (dis)establishment of the Church of England?’, Implicit Religion, Vol. 14, No. 3, September 2011, pp. 319-41.

  • ABSTRACT: This article synthesizes the contemporary evidence base for attitudes towards the establishment of the Church of England, both as a principle and in terms of some of its specific manifestations. Secondary analysis is undertaken of 59 surveys of the general population, initially at headline level and subsequently by demographic sub-groups. Results from 22 studies of committed Anglicans (laity and clergy) are then summarized, for comparative purposes. Establishment and disestablishment do not emerge from this review as pressing issues, about which the majority of people feel especially strongly or are very knowledgeable. Nor are they necessarily holistic concepts, individual components being picked and mixed at will. There is no obvious groundswell of opinion for radical and urgent change, and thus little prospect of early steps to sever church-state links completely. Establishment is part of England’s religious furniture which is, in large measure, taken for granted or grudgingly accepted. It no longer entails much commitment and thus fails to meet the classic definition of implicit religion.

‘Revisiting Islamophobia in contemporary Britain, 2007-10’, Islamophobia in the West: Measuring and Explaining Individual Attitudes, edited by Marc Helbling, London: Routledge, 2012, pp. 147-61.

  • ABSTRACT: The attitudes of ordinary Britons towards Muslims and Islam are reviewed through 64 opinion polls conducted in 2007-10. Comparisons are also drawn with 2001-06. Islamophobia is shown to be multi-layered, affecting one-fifth to three-quarters of adults, the actual level depending on topic. It is undoubtedly increasing, albeit still less pervasive than other western European countries, and is by far the commonest form of religious prejudice in Britain. Muslims are seen as slow to integrate, to have a qualified patriotism and, sometimes, to be drawn to extremism. Negativity is disproportionately concentrated among men, the elderly, the lowest social groups and Conservative voters.

‘Counting religion in England and Wales: the long eighteenth century, c. 1680-c. 1840’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 63, No. 4, October 2012, pp. 693-720.

  • ABSTRACT: The statistical analysis of religion in England and Wales usually commences with the mid-nineteenth century. This article synthesises relevant primary and secondary sources to produce initial quantitative estimates of the religious composition of the population in 1680, 1720, 1760, 1800 and 1840. The Church of England is shown to have lost almost one-fifth of its affiliation market share during this period, with an ever increasing number of nominal Anglicans also ceasing to practise. Nonconformity more than quadrupled, mainly from 1760 and especially after 1800. Roman Catholicism kept pace with demographic growth, but, even reinforced by Irish immigration, remained a limited force in 1840. Judaism and overt irreligion were both negligible.
  • OPEN ACCESS: on this personal website only, by kind permission of the copyright owner, Cambridge University Press, and strictly for non-commercial use Eighteenth-century statistics published

Status animarum: a religious profile of the Diocese of Salisbury in the 1780s’, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, Vol. 106, 2013, pp. 218-29.

  • ABSTRACT: The clergy visitation returns of the Diocese of Salisbury in 1783 are used as the basis for preparing a religious profile of Berkshire and Wiltshire in that decade, alongside other contextual evidence. In terms of religious profession, the diocese had a higher proportion of nominal Anglicans, and fewer Dissenters and Roman Catholics, than England and Wales c. 1800. Non-churchgoing was a genuine problem for the clergy, particularly in towns, although, relative to population, aggregate congregations seem to have been similar to the religious census of 1851, which revealed Wiltshire and western Berkshire to be areas of comparatively high observance.

‘“The faith society”? Quantifying religious belonging in Edwardian Britain, 1901-1914’, Journal of Religious History, Vol. 37, No. 1, March 2013, pp. 39-63.

  • ABSTRACT: Historians disagree about how the Edwardian era fits into the jigsaw of secularisation in Britain. Was it a time of religious crisis (Keith Robbins, Hugh McLeod) or a faith society (Callum Brown)? This essay subjects the debate to quantitative scrutiny by examining the available statistics of church attendance and church membership/affiliation for 1901-14. A mixed picture is reported, with elements of sacralisation and secularisation co-existing. Although churchgoing was already in relative and absolute decline, one-quarter of adults (disproportionately women) still worshipped on any given Sunday and two-fifths at least monthly. Moreover, hardly anybody failed to be reached by a rite of passage conducted in religious premises. Only 1 percent professed no faith and just over one-half had some reasonably regular and meaningful relationship with organised religion in terms of church membership or adherence. For children, perhaps nine-tenths attended Sunday school, however briefly.

‘Gradualist or revolutionary secularization? A case study of religious belonging in inter-war Britain, 1918-1939’, Church History and Religious Culture, Vol. 93, No. 1, 2013, pp. 57-93.

  • ABSTRACT: The timing of secularization in Britain remains a contested topic among historians and sociologists, some regarding it largely as a post-Second World War phenomenon (with the 1960s a critical decade), others viewing it as a more gradual process commencing in the Victorian era. The inter-war years (1918-39) have been little studied in this context, notwithstanding a coincidence of social, economic, and political circumstances which might have been expected to trigger religious change. The extent of religious belonging during this period is reviewed, with reference to quantitative evidence, from two perspectives: churchgoing, and church membership and affiliation. Trends in church attendance are documented, including the demographic variables which shaped it and the effect of innovations such as Sunday cinema and Sunday radio broadcasts of religious services. A conjectural religious profile of the adult population of Britain, c. 1939 reveals that, while, relative to population, there was only marginal growth in professed irreligion and non-Christian faiths since c. 1914, there was accelerated decline in religious worship (notably in terms of regularity) and active affiliation to Protestant denominations. This shift to nominalism particularly impacted the historic Free Churches (the phenomenon had long existed in the Church of England). Examination of these two religious indicators for the inter-war years thus lends further support to the view that secularization in Britain is best seen as a progressive and protracted process.
  • OPEN ACCESS: on this personal website only, in accordance with the self-archiving policy of the publisher, Brill, and strictly for non-commercial use Interwar religion CHRC 2013 PUBLISHED

‘Sources for Protestant Nonconformity in England and Wales since 1662: a structured bibliography’, T&T Clark Companion to Nonconformity, edited by Robert Pope, London: Bloomsbury, 2013, pp. 495-532.

  • ABSTRACT: The chapter provides an introduction to the primary and tertiary sources for Protestant Nonconformity in England and Wales since 1662, excluding overseas missions. It takes the form of a structured bibliography with some interlinking notes. There are sections on: generalia (bibliographies, periodicals, encyclopaedias, and collections of primary documents); libraries and archives; people sources (genealogical guides, collective biographies, bibliographies of individuals, non-parochial registers); chapel sources (bibliographies of chapel histories, gazetteers of chapels, registrations of meeting houses, Church of England visitation returns, other non-recurrent listings to c. 1850, and 1851 religious census); and other sources (statistics, paintings and pottery, and websites).

‘No popery’s ghost: does popular anti-Catholicism survive in contemporary Britain?’, Journal of Religion in Europe, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2014, pp. 116-49.

  • ABSTRACT: Anti-Catholicism has been a feature of British history from the Reformation, but it has been little studied for the period since the Second World War, and rarely using quantitative methods. A thematically-arranged aggregate analysis of around 180 opinion polls among representative samples of adults since the 1950s offers insights into developing attitudes of the British public to Catholics and the Catholic Church. Anti-Catholicism against individual Catholics is found to have diminished. Negativity toward the Catholic Church and its leadership has increased, especially since the Millennium. Generic and specific explanations are offered for these trends, within the context of other manifestations of religious prejudice and other religious changes.
  • OPEN ACCESS: on this personal website only, in accordance with the self-archiving policy of the publisher, Brill, and strictly for non-commercial use Anti-Catholicism PUBLISHED

‘Another window on British secularization: public attitudes to Church and clergy since the 1960s’, Contemporary British History, Vol. 28, No. 2, June 2014, pp. 190-218.

  • ABSTRACT: Opinion polls of adults are used to illuminate public attitudes to Church and clergy in Britain since the 1960s. Wherever possible, comparative data are provided for other institutions and professions. The standing of Church and clergy diminished over the half-century, especially in the 1990s and 2000s, mirroring the net decline in institutional Christianity revealed in performance indicators of church membership, attendance, rites of passage, and affiliation. This loss of status reflects, not merely the passive effects of a secularizing climate, but active disenchantment with policies and practices pursued by Church and clergy. The paper exemplifies how secularization can be understood (following Chaves) as declining religious authority.

‘Measuring religious affiliation in Great Britain: the 2011 census in historical and methodological context’, Religion, Vol. 44, No. 3, 2014, pp. 357-82.

  • ABSTRACT: The British religious census of 2011 is located in its broader historical and methodological context. The principal developments in the measurement of religious affiliation (proxy-assigned or self-assigned) in Britain are traced from the Reformation to the present day, charting the relative contribution of the Churches, the State, and empirical social science. The key statistics which have emerged from their respective efforts are summarized, with nominal religious affiliation universal until the time of the French Revolution and preponderant until as late as the 1980s. For recent decades, when the profession of faith has been rejected by large numbers of Britons, particular attention is paid to the variant results from different question-wording. Depending upon what is asked, the proportion of the population currently making sense of their lives without asserting a confessional religious identity ranges from one-quarter to one-half. The difficulties of trying to construct a religious barometer through a single, unitary indicator are thus illuminated.

‘Public opinion toward homosexuality and gay rights in Great Britain’, Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 78, No. 2, Summer 2014, pp. 523-47 [with Ben Clements].

  • ABSTRACT: Thirteen different sources are used to document public opinion toward homosexuality and gay rights in Great Britain in the post-war period. Three broad sets of indicators are examined: general attitudes to homosexuality; acceptability of homosexuals in particular roles; and attitudes to homosexual rights. Opinion was overwhelmingly negative in the 1940s and 1950s but started to liberalize following decriminalization of homosexuality in 1967. Attitudes suffered a temporary setback with the advent of AIDS in the mid-1980s, but the thaw resumed from the early 1990s and accelerated following the Millennium, especially during the second half of the 2000s, culminating in the successful campaign for legalization of same-sex marriage in England and Wales. This trend to liberalization has direct parallels in growing public support for several other facets of equality in Britain, notably gender, race, and religion. It also coincided with a significant reduction in religious allegiance.

‘Is the Bible becoming a closed book? British opinion poll evidence’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol. 29, No. 3, October 2014, pp. 503-28.

  • ABSTRACT: Opinion poll data from 123 national sample surveys of the adult general population and 35 national and local sample surveys of adult religious populations are used to study changes in the status and influence of the Bible in Britain since the Second World War. The principal measures of ‘Bible-centricism’ comprise Bible ownership, readership, knowledge, literalism, beliefs, and attitudes. The analysis proceeds both at topline level and by breaks for gender, age, social class, religious denomination, and churchgoing. Twelve broad conclusions are drawn, with declining allegiance to the Bible visible on various fronts, even among regular churchgoers. In an everyday sense, one interpretation could be that Christianity is becoming decoupled from the holy book on which it is founded. This process, mirroring declines in other religious indicators, is attributed to the waning influence of three principal agencies of religious socialization (church/Sunday school, state school, and parents) which formerly underpinned the Bible’s role in faith and society.

‘Keeping the spiritual home fires burning: religious belonging in Britain during the First World War’, War & Society, Vol. 33, No. 4, October 2014, pp. 244-68.

  • ABSTRACT: The religious impact of the First World War on the home front in Britain is assessed in terms of churchgoing and church membership and affiliation. Church attendance rose briefly at the start of the war but fell away thereafter in the Protestant tradition, accelerating a pre-existing trend, which was not reversed after 1918. The disruption caused by the war to the everyday life of organized religion probably accounts for the decrease, rather more than loss of faith. Church membership also declined during the war in the Anglican and mainstream Free Churches, albeit not for other denominations and faiths, but it temporarily revived after the war. This was not the case for non-member adherents and Sunday scholars whose reduction was more continuous.

‘Attitudes to Church and clergy in Britain’, FutureFirst, No. 36, December 2014, p. 6.

‘Secularising selfhood: what can polling data on the personal saliency of religion tell us about the scale and chronology of secularisation in modern Britain?’, Journal of Beliefs & Values, Vol. 36, No. 3, 2015, pp. 308-30.

  • ABSTRACT: Sample surveys on the personal saliency of religion provide an additional lens on the scale and chronology of secularisation in Britain from the 1960s to the present. Six self-rating measures have been derived from both non-recurrent and serial surveys: religiosity (binary questions), religiosity (non-binary questions), spirituality versus religiosity, importance of religion, importance of God, and difference made by religion. The methodological advantages and disadvantages of such sources are explored. Descriptive and tabulated results suggest the very religious have never numbered more than 10% and the tipping-point for the majority of Britons self-identifying as non-religious came in the 1990s, with religious decline quickening after the Millennium. Saliency of religion indicators present one of the bleaker pictures of the extent of secularisation, worse than affiliation or belief in God data, with self-assessed non-religiosity in Britain higher than in most other Western European countries.

‘“A tempest in the teapot”: London churchgoing in 1913 – the census that never was’, London Journal, Vol. 41, No. 1, March 2016, pp. 82-99.

  • ABSTRACT: Late Victorian and Edwardian London had a reputation for relatively low levels of religious practice, as evidenced in the census of church attendance conducted in the capital by the Daily News in 1902-03. In 1912-13 its successor, the Daily News and Leader, attempted to replicate this census but was forced to abandon it at an early stage in the face of concerted opposition from both Anglicans and Nonconformists. In its place was substituted a survey of the religious and social work of the metropolitan churches, which was published in 1914. The story of ‘the census that never was’ is here pieced together for the first time, and the reasons for its significance explained, within the context of the broader scholarly debate about whether Edwardian Britain was a ‘faith society’.

‘Religion in Worktown: anatomy of a Mass-Observation sub-project’, Northern History, Vol. 53, No. 1, March 2016, pp. 116-37.

  • ABSTRACT: Although Mass-Observation’s pioneering social survey of industrial Worktown (Bolton), Lancashire in the late 1930s is generally well-known, no serious investigation has hitherto taken place of its sub-project on religion. A preliminary survey of the extant and somewhat disordered documentation here enables a basic history of the sub-project to be constructed for its principal phase in 1937-38, spanning organization, research methodology, and plans for a book which never saw the light of day. The account is underpinned by detailed references to relevant material in the Mass-Observation Archive, thereby facilitating future scholarly exploitation. Briefer descriptions are also provided of subsequent phases of Mass-Observation’s religion research in Bolton, during the early months of the Second World War and in the summer of 1960. A summative assessment finds that the overall output from the sub-project is somewhat disappointing and methodologically impoverished, more illuminating of religious institutions in the town than of the role of religion in the everyday lives of ordinary Boltonians, especially non-churchgoers.

‘Has the Church of England lost the English people? Some quantitative tests’, Theology, Vol. 120, No. 2, March-April 2017, pp. 83-92.

  • ABSTRACT: Claims made by the authors of That Was the Church that Was (2016) that the Church of England has ‘lost’ the English people since 1986 are examined through religious statistics. Both attachment and attitudinal indicators are reviewed, the former showing the decline of the Church has been long-term, the latter that division between Church and nation is not always clear-cut.

‘Britain on its knees: prayer and the public since the Second World War’, Social Compass, Vol. 64, No. 1, March 2017, pp. 92-112.

  • ABSTRACT: As an additional – and less familiar – key performance indicator of secularization, the article offers a meta-analysis of over-time quantitative data about private prayer in modern Britain, mostly derived from national cross-sectional sample surveys among adults. Despite the fragmentary nature of the evidence, and its methodological challenges, with consequent variability in results, the direction of travel is clear. Self-reported regular (weekly or more) private prayer has declined from one-half to one-quarter of the population over the past half-century, while the proportion never praying has risen from one-fifth to one-half. There have been parallel falls in belief in prayer and its efficacy. Gender, age, and ethnicity are the main secular attributes impacting prayer behaviour, relatively higher levels of which also correlate with above-average religiosity, belief in God, and churchgoing and with being Roman Catholic or non-Christian. Prayer statistics thus corroborate other indicators which suggest that secularization in Britain has been a progressive, rather than sudden, process.