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'Tis very embarrassing, say what you like, to be a good vicar in a valley on strike': The Church of England and its relationship with the Durham miners at the time of the 1926 lockout

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 22:42 authored by Hester BarronHester Barron
The Durham coalfield of the early twentieth century has often been regarded as a stronghold of Methodism. This is not without justification, but has meant that the role of the Church of England in the region has frequently been dismissed. This article reassesses that role, and questions the prevailing assumptions regarding the Church of England¿s inability to engage with the culture of organised Labour. It argues that despite its association with the employer class, the Anglican church was rarely viewed with either simple or universal hostility by the working population. Indeed, many of the clergy dealt with working-class militancy sympathetically, despite the fact that this frequently put them at odds with their own church hierarchy. The long seven-month lockout of 1926 was to be a time when conflicting symbols and ideologies battled for dominance and men and women had to prioritise their values and act upon them. The success of the parish priests in presenting their churches as (at the very least) apolitical bodies, allowed strikers to avoid any potential conflict between their religious and their political beliefs, and meant that the church was able to maintain its standing in the region


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  • Published


Twentieth Century British History




Oxford University Press





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  • History Publications

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