1851 Religious Census

As we know, religion is a prime theme in the novel that is one of the elements that keep Helen and some of the other characters humble. Helen's course of action in the midst of her plight reflects her strength and her trust in God. After our discussion in class, I realized how I didn't really consider Helen's Christian journey and how that is such a huge factor in her character development. As someone said in class, Helen is a product of her environment and religion was a prime platform that kept people motivated and stable. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall does a great job of displaying the different opinions and personalities that people adhere to within the Christian belief. This now leads me to the census of 1851 which displays the opposite of Helen's strife and values about the Christian faith. 

In the decennium census survey, of 1851, it was discovered that eighty percent of the supporters who visited welsh places of worship were non-conformists while the remaining twenty percent supported the established (catholic) church.

Another thing to consider is secularism went mainstream in England a few years after the set timeframe of the novel. Hints why the census read the way it did. 

 In addition to this, some believe that the results may be skewed because a fifth of the entire population was said to be Anglican while about two-fifths of the population didn't attend church at all (BBC). This was a shock to many in the public eye but they failed to consider those who fall below the poverty line, and the sick and shut-in. Also, this was Britain's one and only religious census. This leads me to believe that whoever was in charge at the moment didn't want news reflecting that the Church of England was losing its fire and that people were now Baptist, Prebestrysterian, Methodist, Calvinist, or etc. This is the turning point in history where followers began to expand within the Abrahamic religion and branch off into a sect that fits better with what they believe in. 

Works Cited 

BBC."Victorian Britain" BBC History. Accessed 28 Nov 2020. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/timeline/victorianbritain_timeline_...

BBC. "Religion in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries."BBC Wales History. Accessed 28 Nov 2020. https://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/history/sites/themes/guide/ch16_religion_19t...'s%20one%20and%20only%20religious,Wesleyans%2C%2012%3B%20others%202.

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

circa. Spring 1851

Parent Chronology: