From Revelation to Radicalism

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

From Revelation to Radicalism

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This chapter pieces together the origins of a working alliance between certain Southcottian figures and freethinkers in 1830 and 1831. It recovers the settings of the emergent alliance, the points of personal contact which created it, and the intellectual bases behind it. The chapter makes innovative use of both Southcottian sources and material more commonly consulted by historians of radicalism than of religion, including the correspondence of Richard Carlile and his associate, Robert Taylor. The exercise of reconstructing the social experience and relationships of Southcottians and radicals in a brief stretch of time allows the subsequent political paths taken by Southcottians such as James Elishama Smith to be explained. The chapter further sheds new light on several well-known episodes in Southcottian history, including John Wroe’s ‘virgins’ scandal, which preceded his dismissal from the Ashton community, and the anticlerical preaching tour of Zion Ward, when he publicly declared himself the messiah.

Keywords: anticlerical; ashton-under-Lyne; richard Carlile; freethought; James Elishama Smith; Robert Taylor; zion Ward; wroe’s Virgins

Chapter.  12042 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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