Select Bibliography of the Religious History of Modern Britain
Church of England
New Religious Movements
Recent Publications on the 1851 Religious Census of England and Wales
Contemporary Regional Studies of Religion as Social Capital in England and Wales
Church of England Clergy Visitation Returns of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
Primary Sources: Editions of Returns
Primary Sources: Editions of Specula
Secondary Sources: Visitation Process
Secondary Sources: Use of Returns
Abraham Hume’s Contribution to Religious Statistics and Sociology
Local Censuses of Church Attendance in Great Britain, 1881-82
Newman Demographic Survey and Pastoral Research Centre
John Highet’s Contribution to Scottish Religious Statistics
Local Censuses of Church Attendance in Great Britain, 1901-12
Abraham Hume (1814-84) was a Church of England clergyman and antiquary. Born in Hillsborough, County Down, he was educated at the Royal Belfast College, the University of Glasgow and Trinity College Dublin. His first career was as a teacher, of mathematics and English, initially in Belfast and then in Liverpool, to which he moved in 1841. He was ordained an Anglican deacon in 1843 and priest in 1844, spending his entire ministry in two Liverpool slum parishes, as non-stipendiary curate of St Augustine’s (1843-47) and as vicar of All Souls, Vauxhall (1847-84).
Hume played an active role in the life of the Church of England in the city, including as a promoter of a Diocese of Liverpool, ultimately holding canonries at both Chester and Liverpool Cathedrals (from 1874 and 1880, respectively). He also made major contributions to the city’s educational and cultural development. Nationally, he was involved in a wide variety of learned societies, including as a Fellow of the Royal Society, Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Statistical Society. His extensive publishing and scholarship resulted in the award of no fewer than four honorary doctorates.
Hume’s mathematical background informed his statistical interests and his application of quantitative methods to the study of religious matters, locally and nationally. His innovations also extended to the application of cartographic techniques to religious data. In both aspects he made a particular secondary study of the 1851 ecclesiastical census of England and Wales, but he also gathered significant amounts of new primary information relating especially to religious profession and churchgoing in the Diocese of Liverpool. In pioneering the use of religious sociology and religious statistics, he was not entirely free of bias. A staunch Anglican, he was frequently involved in polemical controversies with Nonconformity, including about the significance of statistics.
Some of Hume’s papers survive at the Elgin Museum, Lambeth Palace Library, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, and the Universities of Edinburgh and Liverpool. Details are given in the National Register of Archives. Fuller published accounts of Hume’s life and work may be found in:
Liverpool Courier, 22 November 1884.
John Cooper Morley, A Brief Memoir of the Rev Abraham Hume, Vicar of Vauxhall and Hon. Canon of Liverpool, with a Chronological List of His Published Writings, Liverpool: the author, 1887.
William Stuart Frederick Pickering, ‘Abraham Hume (1814-1884): A Forgotten Pioneer in Religious Sociology’, Archives de Sociologie des Religions, Vol. 33, 1971, pp. 33-48.
Jean-Alain Lesourd, ‘Un prêtre Anglican pionnier de la sociologie religieuse: Abraham Hume (1814-1884)’, Aspects de l’anglicanisme: colloque de Strasbourg (14-16 Juin 1972), Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1974, pp. 207-30.
Eric Glasgow, Liverpool People: A Miscellany, Southport: the author, 1990, pp. 109-13.
Peter Seymour Morrish, ‘The Creation of the Anglican Diocese of Liverpool’, Northern History, Vol. 32, 1996, pp. 173-94.
Charles William Sutton and Eric Glasgow, ‘Hume, Abraham (1814-1884)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: From the Earliest Times to the Year 2000, eds Colin Matthew and Brian Harrison, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004, Vol. 28, pp. 732-3.
In chronological order, Hume’s principal writings on religious topics comprise the following (copies of some of which have not been traced):
Belfast College, Its Position and Prospects; with Suggestions for the Settlement of Religious Disputes, the Improvement of its Education and Discipline, and the Extension of its General Usefulness, Belfast: John Henderson, 1845.
Missions at Home: or, A Clergyman’s Account of a Portion of the Town of Liverpool, London: Rivingtons, 1850.
Condition of Liverpool, Religious and Social, Including Notices of the State of Education, Morals, Pauperism and Crime, second edition, Liverpool: printed by T. Brakell, 1858.
Report from the Select Committee of the House of Lords Appointed to Inquire into the Deficiency of Means of Spiritual Instruction and Places of Divine Worship in the Metropolis and in Other Populous Districts of England and Wales, Especially in the Mining and Manufacturing Districts, House of Commons Sessional Papers, 1857-58, Vol. 9, pp. 455-6, 459-63 [oral and written evidence of Abraham Hume, 14 May 1858].
Report from the Select Committee of the House of Lords Appointed to Inquire into the Present Operation of the Law and Practice Respecting the Assessment and the Levy of Church Rates, House of Commons Sessional Papers, 1859 Session 2, Vol. 15, pp. 149-64 [oral evidence of Abraham Hume, 22 July 1859].
Remarks on the Census of Religious Worship for England and Wales, with Suggestions for an Improved Census in 1861 and a Map Illustrating the Religious Condition of the Country, London: Longman, Green, Longman and Roberts, 1860.
Analysis and Combined List of the Subscribers to the Various Church Societies in Liverpool, Liverpool: McCorquodale, 1861.
Church Extension in Liverpool: Remarks on the Census of Liverpool for 1861, with Suggestions for the Formation of a New Church Building Society, Liverpool: C. Tinling, 1861.
The Insufficiency of the Voluntary System, Manchester: Sowler, 1861.
Alleged Progress of Dissent: More Fallacies and Misstatements by the Rev. Marmaduke Miller … Exposed and Refuted, [Sunderland, 1862].
The Church of England the Home Missionary to the Poor, Especially in Our Large Towns, Written in Reply to the Articles of Herbert S. Skeats, Esq. in ‘The Nonconformist’ Newspaper on ‘Dissent in Poor Populous Districts’, London: Seeley, Jackson and Halliday, 1862.
Defence Not Defiance; or, A Few Words for the Church of England: I. The Church of England, the Best Home Missionary; II. The Actual Progress of Dissent in England; and III. Further Exposure of Fallacies and Mis-Statements, Oxford: J. H. and J. Parker, .
Caution in Religious Enquiry: Assize Sermon, Liverpool, 1863.
‘Church Subjects: Curates, Patronage, Populations, &c.’, Liverpool Daily Courier, 8 October 1864.
Results of the Irish Census of 1861, with a Special Reference to the Condition of the Church in Ireland, London: Rivingtons, 1864.
The Progress of Liverpool and of Church Building in it, Written at the Request of the Committee for Church and School Extension, Liverpool, 1865.
Church Congress, Liverpool, Supplementary Paper: State and Prospects of the Church in Liverpool, Including Numerous Details and Suggestions on Collateral and Subordinate Topics, Liverpool: Adam Holden, 1869.
Connexion Between Science and Religion: A Sermon Preached at Christ Church, Kensington, Liverpool, 18th September 1870, during the Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Liverpool: Adam Holden, 1870.
Sermons, Notes of Sermons and Papers on Clerical Subjects: A Selection from the Remains of the Late Thomas Cowan, ed. Abraham Hume, London: James Nisbet, 1871.
The British Army, Considered in Regard to Creed, County and Character, Liverpool: Daily Courier, 1872.
The Church of England in the Rural Districts, Being a Reply to the Mis-Statements of ‘The Nonconformist’, London: Church Defence Institution, 1872.
Some Account of Recent Nonconformist Attacks upon the Church of England, London: Church Defence Institution, 1873.
The Question of a Bishop for Liverpool: Two Papers [by Abraham Hume and William Lefroy], Liverpool: T. Brakell, 1876.
Removal of Churches and Adjustment of Districts: A Survey of the Parish of Liverpool, with a View to the Economy of Our Ecclesiastical Resources in Securing Good Results, Liverpool, 1878.
The Ecclesiastical Districts in Liverpool: Their Origin, History, Nature, Population Changes, etc., Liverpool: T. Brakell, 1879.
Remarks Explaining the Limits of Attendance of the Poor at Public Worship, Liverpool, 1879.
Growth of the Episcopate in England and Wales during Seventeen Centuries, Liverpool: Thomas Brakell, printer, 1880.
Detailed Account of How Liverpool Became a Diocese, Read Before the Clerical Society of Liverpool, 6th December 1880, London: Rivingtons, 1881.
‘Ecclesiastical History of Liverpool’, Liverpool Diocesan Calendar, 1881, pp. 65-107.
Ecclesiastical History of Liverpool, Reprinted from the Liverpool Diocesan Calendar and Clergy List, Liverpool: J. A. Thompson, 1881.
Remarks on the Liverpool Churches and Their Congregations, Liverpool: Daily Post and Echo, 1881.
Suggestions as to a Census of Religious Beliefs in the Diocese of Liverpool, in a Memorandum to the Lord Bishop of Liverpool, Liverpool: T. Brakell, 1881.
‘Ecclesiastical Census of the City and Suburbs of Liverpool’, Liverpool Diocesan Calendar, 1882, pp. 67-88.
Ecclesiastical Census of the City and Suburbs of Liverpool, Reprinted from the Liverpool Diocesan Calendar and Clerical Directory, Second Issue, Liverpool: J. A. Thompson, 1882.
‘Census of Religious Worship for the Diocese of Liverpool’, Liverpool Diocesan Calendar, 1883, pp. 67-84.
Account of the Census of Religious Worship Made in the Churches and Episcopal Chapels on Trinity Sunday, 1882, Liverpool, 1883.
The Bishop of Liverpool and His Critics: Ecclesiastical and Other Considerations, Liverpool: Smith, 1883.
‘Ecclesiastical Districts in the City of Liverpool’, Liverpool Diocesan Calendar, 1884, pp. 67-78.
Forward to Appendix 6: Local Censuses of Church Attendance