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The growth and development of Methodism in Cumbria

Burgess, John (1979) The growth and development of Methodism in Cumbria. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis examines the proposition that all religious influence in Cumbria has been weak and that Methodism was only partly an exception to this rule. The role and strength of the Church of England, the Protestant Dissenters and the Roman Catholics from the 17th century to the 19th century is investigated in order to introduce the rise and progress of Methodism to I830. It is argued that Methodism developed out of the extraordinary economic and social development in the county in the two periods I800to I830 and I860 to 1880, and because of the influx of outside Methodists who made limited impact on native Cumbrians. However as economic decline set in after I900 Methodism lost its dynamism and commenced its protracted contraction of resources in chapels, membership numbers and circuit importance which so depended upon the increase in population brought about during the two periods. The major secessions of the Wesleyan Association in l836 and the Wesleyan Reformers in I850 are explored, as is subsequent history of the Wesleyans into the 20th century and of their splinter Connexions who became the United Methodist Free Churches. The second largest Connexion, the Primitive Methodists, are described in their progress in the county and the issue of the ministry receives prominence in this section, and in the concluding chapter concerning the 1932 Methodist Union in Cumbria. Two major Appendices present a detailed survey of leading Methodist laymen and ministers in the Primitive, Wesleyan and United Methodist ranks in the county, and the significance of religious census material as indicative of the popular support for the Methodists amongst the population. Three shorter Appendices deal with the peculiar case of Methodism on Alston Moor, and the weak presence of Methodism in Dumfries, and of the Bible Christian Connexion in the county. The final Appendix explores the changes in membership in a detailed analysis of one circuit, charting the causes and significance of these annual developments. The sources and bibliography bring together all known primary material relating to Cumbrian Methodism.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Letters
Thesis Date:1979
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:04

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