Victorian Christianity and Emigrant Voyages to British Colonies

c. 1840-1914

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Rowan Strong
  • Oxford, England: 
    Oxford University Press
    , January
     320 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


Victorian Christianity and Emigrant Voyages to British Colonies c.1840 - c.1914 considers the religious component of the nineteenth-century British and Irish emigration experience. It examines 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. Rowan Strong explores a dimension 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, as well as others, including Scandinavians, Germans, Jews, and freethinkers. Using the sources of this emigrants' chaplaincy, Strong also makes extensive use of the shipboard diaries kept by emigrants themselves to give them a voice in this history. Using these sources to look at the British and Irish emigrant voyages to new homes, this study provides an analysis of the Christianity of these emigrants as they traveled by ship to British colonies. Their ships were floating villages that necessitated and facilitated religious encounters across denominational and even religious boundaries. It 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. The book also examines the principal varieties of Christianity espoused by most British emigrants, and argues this religion was more central to their identity and, consequently, more significant in settler colonies than many historians have often hitherto accepted. In this way, the Church of England's emigrant chaplaincy made a major contribution to the development of a British world in settler colonies of the empire.

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

Rowan Strong is Professor of Church History in the Theology Department of Murdoch University, Australia. He has degrees from New Zealand in history and theology from universities in New Zealand and Australia, and received his PhD in Ecclesiastical History from the University of Edinburgh. He is the General Editor of the five-volume The Oxford History of Anglicanism. His previous publications include Alexander Penrose Forbes: The First Tractarian Bishop (1995) and Episcopalianism in Nineteenth-Century Scotland: Religious Responses to a Modernizing Society (2002).


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