Thursday 14 November 2024 at 7.30pm

Church-people and Social Change in 19th Century Leicestershire

LAHS Member and Author Nick Miller

shows Labour Salvationist Amos Sherriff, Church of England Christian Socialist FL Donaldson and Union Leader George White on the 1905 Unemployed workers march.

Entering the 19th century, the church found multiple issues on its agenda. Perennial tensions within and between denominations over organisational and doctrinal matters ever threatened or brought divisions. How best to nurture the souls of the faithful and regain those who were lost remained a regular concern. But new challenges emerged from the age of reason and enlightenment. Political revolution and reform were in the air, and agrarian, industrial and scientific revolutions were transforming society.

Urbanisation and industrialisation created a population shorn of their familiar rural certainties and triggered depressing heights of poverty and exploitation. Denominations vied to save the souls of this new pool of humanity. For some church-people, though, mere pastoral cure of souls was only part of the answer. Fundamental to salvation, and a role the church should take up, was eradication of socio-political iniquities.

Through selected cases of individuals from different denominations who championed issues in workers’ rights, health, housing and education, this talk surveys how this stance was manifest in 19th century Leicestershire. Their engagement achieved victories not just locally but well beyond the county bounds. They gave lie to the claim that religion and the church have no role in politics, 

Nick Miller has an interest in ecclesiastical history. He is the author of Church History in Leicestershire, Book Guild, Market Harborough, 2024, as well as a recent LAHS blog post on the discovery of a medieval friary burial. He can be contacted at

Nick Miller, Author of Church History in Leicestershire

No booking necessary. Entry to the talk is free of charge.

Doors open from 7.00pm, with tea and coffee available. The lecture will take place at 7.30pm, at the Rattray Lecture Theatre, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester (LE1 7RH)