Counting Religion in England and Wales: The Long Eighteenth Century, c. 1680–c. 1840

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Clive D. Field

Colleges, School and Institutes


The statistical analysis of religion in England and Wales usually commences with the mid-nineteenth century. This article synthesises relevant primary and secondary sources to produce initial quantitative estimates of the religious composition of the population in 1680, 1720, 1760, 1800 and 1840. The Church of England is shown to have lost almost one-fifth of its affiliation market share during this period, with an ever increasing number of nominal Anglicans also ceasing to practise. Nonconformity more than quadrupled, mainly from 1760 and especially after 1800. Roman Catholicism kept pace with demographic growth, but, even reinforced by Irish immigration, remained a limited force in 1840. Judaism and overt irreligion were both negligible.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-720
JournalJournal of Ecclesastical History
Issue number04
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012

Sustainable Development Goals