The Foxearth and District Local History Society

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

The 1851 Census of religious worship

The Suffolk returns from the census of religious worship for 1851 give us a fascinating glimpse at the state of the churches at the time. The income of the Church of England parishes was enormous for the time, when the agricultural labourer was lucky to get eight shillings a week. A third of them had incomes of over a thousand pounds a year, Attendance in church was high, 400 at Cavendish, and between five and six hundred at Long Melford. Attendance was better in the afternoon. The census took place all over England, and Suffolk showed the strongest church attendance of all except perhaps Dorset. Children accounted for about a quarter of the congregation.

LONG MELFORD
Population 2587.   Area 5185a
HOLY TRINITY CHURCH.
Endowed with tithe, £839 19s. 3d.; glebe, £240; fees, £10.

Sittings free 590, others 420.

Present morning 303+185 scholars; afternoon 487+200 scholars; evening 162.
Average morning 350+200 scholars; afternoon 550+220 scholars; evening 162.
Signed Thomas Preston, A. M., Curate.

Holy Communion twelve times a year besides festivals.

Rector: The Revd E. Cobbold, inst. 1830; also rector of Watlington, Norfolk, where resided, (gross income, £526).
INDEPENDENT CHAPEL, Hall Street.
Erected before 1800.

Sittings free 81, others 160 exclusive of 100 appropriated to Sunday School in school gallery.
Present morning 110+68 scholars; afternoon 169+78 scholars.

Signed John Burgess, Minister.
Registered 20 Sept. 1726. Affiliated to Suffolk Congregational Union.
CAVENDISH.
Population 1394.    Area 3354a.
PARISH CHURCH.
Rectory in gift of Jesus College, Cambridge.

Endowed with rent charge, £735; glebe, £118; fees on each marriage 5s., averaging 40s. a year for last 10 years; Easter Offering, under £1;
other sources: fee for a brick grave, £1 Is. Od etc., a rare occurrence.

Quarterly rate for relief of poor is £27 upwards, or above £108 per annum; also an occasional surveyor's rate; also assistant curate's salary.

Sittings free 6 open long seats as cross benches; others, 52 pews; in 2 galleries, I suppose 80 sittings. Pews in general are occupied by families accustomed to enter, rather than by prescription. Rather more than perhaps 6 are supposed to be attached to farms and houses.

Present morning 106+126 scholars; afternoon 242+127 scholars; 25 or 30 more were absent [in afternoon] who usually attend, and make [up] about 400 [attendants], exclusive of those who attend church of Pentlow.

Remarks The parish being entirely agricultural, I conjecture population will not be found to increase much since last census. (it Increased by 41)

Twenty free boys are admissible in Grammar school, exclusive of boarders.
The south-east end of village, north of the Stour, is nearer to church of Pentlow in Essex, south of the Stour, than it is to Cavendish church, on which account some parishioners attend Pentlow church.
There is also a chapel for Independents in Cavendish, and some Dissenters in Cavendish attend chapel in adjoining parish of Glemsford, and others, I believe, the chapel in Clare.
Signed Thomas Castley, Rector.

Holy Communion six times a year. Rector inst. 1808.
INDEPENDENT [VILLAGE] CHAPEL.
Erected 1840.
Sittings free 180, others 94.
Present morning 73+105 scholars; afternoon 109+107 scholars; evening 80.
Signed Joshua Hopwood, Minister.

Registered 29 My 1840.
PRESBYTERIANS.
Erected before 1800. Separate building, Not used exclusively for worship.

Sittings free 100, others 10. Present morning 20; afternoon 47; evening 49. Average (12 months) morning 40; afternoon 70; evening 100.

Remarks Not used as a place of worship before 1800, but as a dwelling house. What year change was made I do not know.
Signed James Collins, Minister.
GLEMSFORD
Population 1626.    Area 2295a.
ST MARY'S CHURCH.
Endowed with tithe, £800; glebe, £80; fees, [illegible]. Sittings free and others - ample.

Present morning 82+120 scholars; afternoon 230+116 scholars. Average morning 120+130 scholars; afternoon 300+130 scholars.

Signed George Coldham, Rector. [Glemsford.] (56)

Holy Communion twelve times a year.
Rector inst. 1833; also vicar of East Walton with Gayton Thorpe, Norfolk, (inst. 1831, gross income, £490)
CONGREGATIONAL [VILLAGE] CHAPEL.
Erected before 1800.
Sittings free about 350. Free Space for 40. No service on 30th March. Average Present No schools.
Remarks There is one service once a fortnight, the last on 23 March, when about 60 persons were in attendance.
Average number of attendants, 70.

Chapel is endowed to the amount of £30 per annum.
Signed John Burgess, Minister. Long Melford. 27 March.
Registered 13 June 1758.
PARTICULAR BAPTIST CHAPEL.
Erected 1829. Sittings* free 250, others 150.
Present inclusive of scholars: morning 320; afternoon 430; evening 200. Average morning 200+90 scholars; afternoon 330+90 scholars; evening 200.
Remarks Sittings of Baptist chapel, Glemsford, are occupied by voluntary subscribers. Signed Robert Barnes, Minister. Chapel being erected by 25 June 1829. 144 members and five stations in 1850.
Affiliated to the Suffolk and Norfolk Association.

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