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Durham e-Theses
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The ecclesiastical administration of the archdeaconry of Durham, 1774 - 1856

Maynard, W. B. (1973) The ecclesiastical administration of the archdeaconry of Durham, 1774 - 1856. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The Ecclesiastical history of the diocese of Durham in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is a most neglected suhject. It has long "been supposed that the whole corpus of manuscripts relating to diocesan administration was destroyed by fire a generation ago, but a magnificent series of Episcopal visitations has been discovered at Auckland Castle, and supplemented by the resources of the Church Commissioners, it is not possible to fill this gap. In 1774 the Diocese of Durham consisted of the counties of Northumberland and Durham and was divided into three archdeaconries. The former was divided into the archdeaconries of Northumberland and Lindis farne, while County Durham itself formed the third archdeaconry. Thus size of the diocese has compelled concentration on one archdeaconry only. The parochial system of the archdeaconry was under no strain through the eighteenth century, a fact born out by the rife non-residence and plurality of its clergy, especially in those livings in the patronage of the Bishop and the Dean and Chapter of Durham, With the turn of the century the parochial system was suddenly faced with the problem of a fast rising population which severely strained the medieval parochial structure. The population growth of the Archdeaconry accelerated, and by 1830 had begun t o grow more rapidly than any other county in England and faster than the urban centres of Manchester and Liverpool. In these circumstances the parochial system had to serve for more people and cope with the movement of population away from medieval centres and face the challenges of a rigorous Methodism, radical social discontent and the resurgence of Catholicism, The vast endowments of the Chapter, its social pretensions and the non-residence of the clergy encouraged the growth of a particularly virulent hostility to the church. The growing public cry for church (as well as political) reform, coupled with the intransigent political attitudes of the Durham clergy, gave rise to strained relationships between clergy and lay people which severely complicated the process of church reform. By comparing Durham experience with the results of studies of Derby, Devon, and Oxford, it is hoped to illuminate the complexities of church reform at the parochial level and the relationships between parson and people during the last quarter of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1973
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Nov 2013 16:20

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