A Parson in Wartime

The Boston Diary of the Revered Arthur Hopkins, 1942-1945

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Patricia Malcolmson, Robert Malcolmson, Ann Stephenson
Lincoln Record Society
  • Suffolk, UK: 
    Boydell & Brewer Publishers
    , September
     280 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


A vivid picture of wartime Lincolnshire, and an engagingly readable account of the life of a busy parish priest.

Arthur Hopkins arrived in the Lincolnshire town of Boston in November 1942 to take up the post of Vicar of St Thomas's Church in the working-class parish of Skirbeck Quarter. He was already writing almost daily instalments of a diary for the social research organisation, Mass Observation. Generously conceived, it is written almost as if it were a series of letters to a friend abroad, providing descriptions and comments on everyday life in wartime. Little was beneath his notice. This was a man who had attended university with the King after the Great War and had prominent relations, but was also egalitarian in his leanings and sympathetic to the "common people". His is the diary of a thoughtful and perceptive individual who had a realistic sense of himself, his society, and the fragility of life; the engagingly readable entries reveal fascinating details of wartime Lincolnshire and the life of a busy parish priest. The diary is edited here with introduction and notes. 

Patricia and Robert Malcolmson are social historians with a special interest in English diaries written between the 1930s and 1950s. They have edited for publication over a dozen of these diaries.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Patricia Malcolmson is an author and social historian.

Robert Malcolmson is an author and social historian.

Ann Stephenson is an author and social historian.


Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.