Thursday, April 14, 2011

Census reflections

For research the best source is a primary source. Everything else is secondary, in more ways than one. Now with the benefit of technology, the 1851 Census of Religious Worship is online. It is a primary source for the attendance figures on Census Sunday of the various denominational groupings in the England at that time.

It shows that over half a million people (511,193 to be precise) attended Primitive Methodist places of worship on that day. This includes people who attended multiple services.

The other Christian groups with larger attendance were

  • Church of England 5.2 million (5,202,551)

  • Independents 1.2 million (1,214,059)

  • Particular Baptists 740 thousand (740,732)

  • Wesley Original Connexion 1.5million (1,544,528)

What is remarkable is that the Primitive Methodists began with 10 formal members in 1810. Now just over forty years later they were the fifth largest denominational group in England.

The motto of the Primitive Methodists was “What hath God wrought!” Certainly this was a significant movement of God that grew rapidly.

Here is the Census extract

Other 1851 Census References

1. Every convert: one criminal, one drunkard, one improvident, less

2. Raising an army

3. Movements that Change the World

4. 1851 Census of Religious worship

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