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Victorian Christianity and emigrant voyages to British colonies c.1840-c.1914

Strong, R. (2017) Victorian Christianity and emigrant voyages to British colonies c.1840-c.1914. Oxford University Press.

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This volume looks at the religious dimensions of the nineteenth-century British and Irish emigration experience, examining the varieties of Christianity adhered to by most British and Irish emigrants in the nineteenth century and consequently taken to their new homes in British settler colonies. It examines a significant aspect of this emigration history that has been overlooked by scholars—the development of an international emigrants’ chaplaincy by the Church of England that ministered to Anglicans, Nonconformists, and others, including Scandinavians, Germans, Jews, and freethinkers. The volume uses the records of this emigrants’ chaplaincy, as well as the shipboard diaries kept by emigrants themselves to give them a voice in this history. Concentrating on the experiences of the emigrant voyages, an analysis is provided of the Christianity of these British and Irish emigrants as they travelled by ship to British colonies. Their ships were ‘floating villages’ that necessitated and facilitated religious encounters across denominational and even religious boundaries. The volume argues that the Church of England provided an emigrants’ ministry that had the greatest longevity, breadth, and international structure of any Church in the nineteenth century. It also explores the principal varieties of Christianity espoused by most British emigrants, and argues their religion was more central to their identity and, consequently, more significant in settler colonies than historians have hitherto accepted. In this way, emigrant Christianity and the Church of England’s emigrants’ chaplaincy made a major contribution to the development of a British world in settler colonies of the British Empire.

Item Type: Book
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Arts
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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