Chapter

‘The Business and Charities of the Parish’: Churches, Schools, and Local Authority

K. D. Reynolds

in Aristocratic Women and Political Society in Victorian Britain

Published in print April 1998 | ISBN: 9780198207276
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191677601 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207276.003.0003

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

‘The Business and Charities of the Parish’: Churches, Schools, and Local Authority

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Religion and the education of the young were considered to be feminine occupations, deriving from their maternal and moral responsibilities. Women generally confined their interests to the villages on their estates, where their involvement constituted one of the faces of a ‘benevolent’ county society. Aristocratic women's involvement in the schools for their tenants' children ranged from financing schools, selecting teachers, and daily management, to holding classes and the provision of, and occasional presence at, an annual treat. Patronage of local institutions such as churches and schools reinforced the authority of the aristocracy in the country. Aristocratic women often played a crucial part in maintaining this relationship, whether it is viewed as essentially benevolent or exploitative. Their social position enabled these women to have a wide impact on their local communities.

Keywords: churches; school; education; parish; local authority; religion; local community

Chapter.  14145 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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