Home Site Map Back

Religion of the Metropolis; Churches and Chapels; Societies to Promote Christianity, &c.

There is nothing of which England has greater reason to be proud than the freedom of her religious worship; and there is nothing that is more calculated to excite the attention and admiration of the stranger in London, than the vast variety of churches, chapels, meeting-houses, &c., for the purposes of devotion, as may be inferred from the following enumeration of

PLACES OF WORSHIP IN THE METROPOLIS,

Of the Established Religion.

1 Cathedral, dedicated to St. Paul. 1 Abbey church of St. Peter, Westminster. 120 Parish churches. 130 Chapels and chapels of ease.

----

252 Carried forward.

252 Brought forward.

Of the Dissenter's.

214 Meeting-houses; consisting of chapels for Methodists, Independents, Presbyterians, Anabaptists, Quakers, English Roman Catholics, &c.

For Foreigners.

43 Meeting-houses for Foreigners:- French Protestants, Germans, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Helvetical Protestants, Russian, Greek Church, &c.

6 Synagogues for the Jewish Religion.

----

515 Total number of places of worship.

The friends of the Establishment have, at different times, expressed some alarm for its stability, in consequence of the immense increase of dissenters; but as the church itself contains much of that evangelical principle which is to be found amongst the separatists, we apprehend, provided the talent which it undoubtedly possesses be duly exerted, that there is not much ground for apprehension. The established church now contains two parties; and the operation of both are calculated to secure its advantages to the community at large. Within the establishment, there is the high church party, and there is the evangelical party; and the unbending principles of the former tend to keep within due bounds the zeal of the latter.

The becoming anxiety for the established church, has not only occasioned increased exertions in its ministers, but has promoted useful inquiries respecting the actual condition of its churches, chapels, and clergy. In 1810, the Secretary of State was commanded by his Majesty, in consequence of an address from the House of Lords, to desire the archbishops and bishops to procure from the clergy, returns of the capacity of places of worship belonging to the established church, in parishes of which the population amounted to 1,000 persons and upwards. These returns were laid before the House of Lords in 1811 and 1812, by command of the Prince Regent, in consequence of an address from that house. Upon investigation, these returns proving imperfect, the archbishops and bishops, in pursuance of a minute of council, bearing date the 13th of December, 1814, sent out a list of queries to every parish in their respective dioceses, for the purpose of ascertaining the capacity of the churches and chapels, and the number and condition of the glebe-houses, and the value of livings not exceeding 150l. per annum.—Answers to these queries were received in 1815 and 1816, and in consequence of an address to his royal highness the Prince Regent, extracts from them were laid before the House of Lords in 1816, as far as related to the capacity of churches and chapels in parishes containing more than a certain population. Further inquiries being found necessary, in order to approach more nearly to accuracy, the returns at large could not be laid before parliament in the session of 1817. But since then they have, as far as practicable, been completed, by supplying their deficiencies from such materials as were in the possession of the privy council, or of the bounty board, or from the population returns; and by the command of the Prince Regent, they have now been presented to both houses of parliament.—From the abstract of these returns, which extend to 214 large folio pages, we find the following to be the total results. We are compelled to take them for the whole kingdom, instead of the metropolis alone:—

Number of benefices................................10,421

Population.........................................9,940,391

Churches of the establishment .. .. 10,192

Chapels........................................1,551-11,743

Number of persons they can contain......4,770,975

Glebe-houses fit for residence....................5,417

Benefices which have no glebe-houses........2,626

Glebe-houses not lit for residence..............2,183

Livings not exceed- Livings not exceed—
ing 10 12 .............ing 90 251
Ditto 20 45 ............Ditto 100 594
Ditto 30 119 ..........Ditto 110 250
Ditto 40 246 ..........Ditto 120 289
Ditto 50 314 ..........Ditto 130 259
Ditto 60 314 ..........Ditto 140 214
Ditto 70 301 ..........Ditto 150 211
Ditto 80 278

Total number of benefices, not exceeding 150 3,503

Number of livings, the value of which are not

specified, being returned as impropriations or

appropriations................ 27

Sinecures ..................... 38

Number of livings not included in the preceding

classes, and therefore presumed to exceed 150l.

yearly ......................5, 995

The principal reasons assigned for the unfitness of the glebe-houses for residence, are, being too small, only cottages, with one or two rooms; old, and in a dilapidated state. The chief cause assigned for the unfitness of the Glebe-house, of Baxterley, in Warwickshire, is "the strange hardness of the water, it being subject to an hereditary complaint."

In consequence of these returns, it has been determined to build sundry new churches in the more populous places; and subscriptions in furtherance of such laudable objects have been promoted to an extent that is highly honourable to the general feeling on the subject.


Related pages:
....Introduction
....Sects
....The British & Foreign Bible Society
....Missionary Societies
....Prayer-Book and Homily Society
....Miscellaneous Societies

Source: Leigh's New Picture of London. Printed for Samuel Leigh, 18, Strand;
by W. Clowes, Northumberland Court. 1819