Southcottians in Industrial Society

Dr Philip Lockley

in Visionary Religion and Radicalism in Early Industrial England

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199663873
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744792 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

Southcottians in Industrial Society

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This chapter presents a new assessment of Southcottian social identities and their relation to industrial conditions. It addresses the limitations of existing studies, drawing on primary sources to produce case studies of Pennine Southcottians, c.1820. The chapter recovers details of Southcottian lives in Bradford, Huddersfield, Ashton-under-Lyne, Stockport, and elsewhere, contextualising their relative poverty and prosperity. This confirms, to the most detailed extent so far, that Southcottians were personally caught up in the dramatic developments of industrialism and proto-industrialisation. However, the case studies indicate that millenarians were both textile hand-workers and other occupations with complex relationships to wealth and poverty. The evidence for consistent communities of belief in the Pennine region contradicts the idea of millenarian beliefs being embraced on only a temporary basis, as a response to immediate circumstances. The chapter adds weight to the case against the ‘deprivation thesis’ of millenarianism and interpretations framed in social and economic terms.

Keywords: Ashton-under-Lyne; Bradford; deprivation thesis; huddersfield; pennines; proto-industrialisation; southcottians; stockport; textile hand-workers

Chapter.  11683 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Christianity

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