One of the aims of our Victorian Commons blog is to act as a guide to resources for research on 19th century British history. Although our focus is on Parliament and electoral politics, the material which we have listed on our Resources page – most of which is freely available online – will also be of interest to researchers on a range of subjects. It includes biographical dictionaries, Hansard, Acts of Parliament, army lists, trade directories, newspapers, maps and much more.
Having been asked by other researchers what information we have about the religious affiliation of MPs in the nineteenth century Commons, we thought it would be helpful to provide a guide to the resources available on this theme. It was a question in which contemporaries took a keen interest, with the press gathering information and publishing lists, particularly in the wake of general elections.
The majority of MPs who sat between 1832 and 1868 were Anglicans, but the following articles, books and resources provide information on those who came from other religious backgrounds.
- D. W. Bebbington, ‘Baptist M.P.s in the Nineteenth Century’, Baptist Quarterly, 29:1 (1981), 3-23.
- D. W. Bebbington, ‘Baptist Members of Parliament, 1847-1914’, Baptist Quarterly, 29:2 (1981), 51-64.
- D. W. Bebbington, ‘Baptist Members of Parliament: a supplementary note’, Baptist Quarterly, 42:2 (2007), 148-61.
D. W. Bebbington, Congregational members of parliament in the nineteenth century (2007)
- D. W. Bebbington, ‘Unitarian members of parliament in the nineteenth century’, Transactions of the Unitarian Historical Society, 24:3 (2009), 153-75.
- D. W. Bebbington, ‘Unitarian members of parliament in the nineteenth century : a catalogue’, Transactions of the Unitarian Historical Society, 24:3 (2009), supplement.
- John. A. Stack, ‘Catholic Members of Parliament who represented British constituencies, 1829-1885: a prosopographical analysis’, Recusant History, 24 (1999).
- On English Catholic MPs, see also our earlier blog.
- E. Isichei, Victorian Quakers (1970) includes a discussion of Quaker Members of Parliament.
- Our list in progress of Quakers who sat between 1832 and 1868 is as follows: William Aldam; John Bright; John Ellis; Charles Gilpin; Samuel Gurney; Edward Aldam Leatham; Joseph Pease; Henry Pease; Joseph Whitwell Pease; Jonathan Pim.
- M. Watts, The dissenters, Vol. 2: the expansion of evangelical nonconformity 1791-1859 (1995), contains a significant amount of information on Nonconformist MPs.
- As part of our House of Commons, 1832-68 project we are compiling lists of MPs of other denominations who sat in Parliament during this period, including Presbyterians and Methodists. So far we have also researched one Swedenborgian (Charles Augustus Tulk, who featured as one of our MPs of the Month) and one Moravian (Charles Hindley).
- M. Clark, ‘Jewish identity in British politics: the case of the first Jewish MPs, 1858-87’, Jewish Social Studies, 13:2 (2007), 93-126.
- M. C. N. Salbstein, The emancipation of the Jews in Britain. The question of the admission of the Jews to Parliament, 1828-1860 (1982).
- The admission of Jews to the House of Commons was one of the themes featured in the ‘Rebel, React, Reform’ exhibition at University College, London, of which our research fellow Dr. Martin Spychal was a co-curator. Find out more in the exhibition catalogue (pp. 38-43).
In addition to the material given in our MP biographies on their religious affiliation, our constituency profiles provide information on the different places of worship within each locality, as well as assessing the impact which religious loyalties and religious questions had on the outcome of elections.