Britain Uncovered and Other News


Britain uncovered

The recent ‘Britain Uncovered’ poll commissioned by The Observer from Opinium Research, among an online sample of 1,019 adults, included several questions of religious interest. The proportion associating with any religion was 61%, albeit significantly lower among those self-defining as left-wing (49%) as right-wing (71%), with 17% identifying as agnostics and 21% as atheists. However, only 29% of those associating with a religion said that they actively practised it, for example by attending services, equivalent to 18% of the entire population. Of the whole sample, 61% agreed, and just 15% disagreed, that religion is a negative influence in the world rather than a force for good. Two-thirds (65%) acknowledged that Islamophobia is common in Britain, and 48% definitely and 31% probably believed that, in the light of Islamist extremism, British Muslims should make a special effort to state their allegiance to the country. Full data tables from the survey are not yet online; the following details have been abstracted from the summary at:

Religion of parliamentary candidates

A poll by Whitehouse Consulting of 225 parliamentary candidates for marginal seats in the forthcoming general election has revealed that 42% did not identify as members of any religious faith, with 34% claiming to be atheists (including half of Labour Party and Green Party candidates). Just 16% identified themselves as belonging to the Church of England, albeit this rose to 41% of Conservative and 27% of UKIP candidates. Overall, belief in a deity ran at 37%. A press release about the poll was issued on 17 April 2015 at:

Religiosity and voting

In our post of 12 April 2015, we highlighted findings from an analysis of religious affiliation and voting intention undertaken by YouGov for the Church Times on the basis of online interviews with 36,579 electors between 1 and 28 March 2015. The study confirmed that professing Anglicans are disproportionately likely to favour the Conservative Party and Roman Catholics the Labour Party. Further investigation of the same dataset by self-assessed religiosity has now revealed that, excluding the 13% who did not know how they would vote and the 6% who said they would not vote at all, the Conservatives are more likely than average to attract people who describe themselves as religious and the smaller parties those who regard themselves as non-religious. The results are tabulated below:

% down












Liberal Democrat








Other parties




Further statistics are available at:

Would you buy a used car from … ?

The public standing, including the perceived trustworthiness, of clergy and priests has taken a bit of a tumble during recent decades. So much so that only one in four of the 300 people questioned by Gorkana Surveys for the vehicle data firm HPI said that they would most trust a vicar to sell them a used car in the private market. The good news, however, is that no other profession fared any better, even motor mechanics getting only a 19% vote of confidence. A blog about the survey was published by HPI on 20 April 2015 at:

Clergy dyads

Fresh light is shed on the incidence and patterns of ministry of clergy married to clergy in the Church of England in a new article by Susie Collingridge, ‘Patterns of Ministry of Clergy Married to Clergy in the Church of England’, Journal of Anglican Studies, Vol. 13, No. 1, May 2015, pp. 68-91. Using the online edition of Crockford’s Clerical Directory in early 2013 as her source, she identified the number of such clergy as 26% greater than previous estimates, at 1,160, of whom 994 were active in the ministry, equivalent to 5% of all active Anglican clergy. However, she also found that a higher than normal proportion of clergy married to clergy (20%) were in non-parochial roles such as chaplains, and that it was very rare in clergy marriages for wives to hold more senior positions than their husbands. The article can be accessed via institutional subscription or pay-per-view at:

Gender equality in the Church in Wales

The meeting of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales in Llandrindod Wells on 15-16 April 2015 considered a Report of the Working Group Appointed by the Standing Committee to Review Representation of Women in the Church in Wales, 2015. Having analysed statistics of gender balance among candidates for the ministry, current clergy, holders of senior clerical posts, clergy presiding at cathedral services, members of diocesan boards of finance, and members of provincial committees, the report concluded that: 

  • There is great difference between dioceses in the representation of women
  • There are few senior appointments held by women and women are not even occupying the posts which would be expected to act as the first stage in achieving a senior post
  • Equality of representation on committees has not been achieved and early progress has not been maintained
  • A number of the Cathedrals do not have women either as part of the ministry team or on their Chapters

The report can be found at:

Edward Bailey (1935-2015) 

Revd Professor Edward Ian Bailey, who initiated the formal study of implicit religion (the concept of ‘secular faith’) in 1968, died on 22 April 2015. An Anglican clergyman (notably as Rector of Winterbourne in the Diocese of Bristol from 1970 to 2006), he was also convenor of the annual Denton Hall Conferences on Implicit Religion from 1978, founding director of the Centre for the Study of Implicit Religion and Contemporary Spirituality, a member of the executive committee of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality, and visiting professor at three British universities. Although his own research and books were not particularly characterized by quantitative methods, he was encouraging of those who deployed statistical approaches, not least by publishing their articles in the journal Implicit Religion, which he established in 1998 and edited until his death.

1851 religious census of Warwickshire

On 30 March 1851 the Government organized, as part of the decennial census of population, a census of the accommodation and attendance at all places of worship in the British Isles. The experiment was never repeated and only summaries of the returns were ever published at the time. However, the original schedules have survived at The National Archives for most parts of England and Wales, and these have been the subject of many scholarly editions during the past four decades. The returns for Warwickshire are the latest to be published: The 1851 Census of Religious Worship: Church, Chapel, and Meeting Place in Mid Nineteenth-Century Warwickshire, edited by Keith Geary (Publications of the Dugdale Society, Vol. XLVII, Stratford-upon-Avon, the Society, 2014, xii + 350pp., ISBN 9780852200971, £30.00 + £3.00 postage and packing, hardback). The main body of the text (pp. 85- 323) comprises an annotated transcript of the 590 returns for the county, arranged by registration districts and sub-districts. This is preceded by a substantial introduction (pp. 1-74) which briefly sketches the historical and topographical background before providing a detailed quantitative and qualitative analysis of and commentary on the Warwickshire data. There are indexes by persons, places, and subjects (including denominations), plus maps and a bibliography.


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