Friday, 11 January 2013

1851 Ecclesiastical Census for Gt Ayton, Nunthorpe, Stokesley and Hutton Rudby

On Sunday 30 March 1851, two censuses were taken.  One was the census of the entire population, and the other was the Ecclesiastical Census.  This was the only census of religious attendance in England and Wales ever taken by the state; it has never been repeated.

The results were analysed by the civil servant, Horace Mann (1823-1917) and his report was published in January 1854.

It is not possible to calculate from the returns the number of people who attended worship that day.  Instead, the census returns show how many attendances there were at each service (morning, afternoon and evening).

Many people will have attended more than one service and it was quite common for people to attend the service of one denomination in the morning and another in the afternoon or evening. 

The census was entirely voluntary, and not every church, chapel and meeting house sent in a return.  Some vicars felt that the state had no business making such an enquiry, and refused to complete the forms.

The total population was nearly 18 million. 7,261,032 attendances were recorded. 

It had been estimated that about 5 million people would be unable to attend a service because they were too young, were sick or were engaged in public employment, so there was a good deal of dismay when it was discovered that in fact well over half the population did not attend any form of religious worship. The Church of England was shocked to learn that about half of those who did attend services in England and Wales went to a Nonconformist meeting.

Nonconformism was stronger than many had suspected.  Dissenters had a long lead over the Church of England in the East and North Ridings, in Lincolnshire and Bedfordshire; they were ahead in Huntingdonshire; and were nearly level in Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire and Norfolk [cf History of the Methodist Church in Great Britain (pub 1978) General editors:  Rupert Davies, A. Raymond George, Gordon Rupp]. 

From the 1790s there had been complaints that the clergy were utterly losing their influence in the countryside, and the 1851 census confirmed that this was true in some areas.
The figures caused a great deal of concern at the time – the report commenting that
a sadly formidable proportion of the English people are habitual neglecters of the public ordinances of religion. 
The churches argued that the census should have been taken at Easter or Christmas, which would have produced much higher figures.  On the returns for the Cleveland area where comments were made or average figures for preceding months given, the minister generally claimed that attendance was down on the Sunday of the census.

The form completed by the person making the return can be seen here and further details of the census can be found here.

Great Ayton

All Saints, the ancient Parish Church of Ayton in Cleveland

Free Sittings 240 + Other Sittings 100 = Total Sittings 340

Number attending Divine Service on Sunday 30 March 1851

Morning:  138 General congregation + 46 Sunday scholars =184

No afternoon service

Evening:    155             

Joseph Ibbetson, incumbent curate

He notes:  “The attendance on the 30th, was decidedly below the average for the last 3 months”

Chapel of St Mary’s, Nunthorpe
an ancient chapel within the parish of Ayton, but under different patronage

Free Sittings 50 + Other Sittings 50 = 100

No morning or evening service

Afternoon:    50             

Joseph Ibbetson, perpetual curate

The Friends’ Meeting House, Great Ayton

1135 sq feet, no gallery

Capable of seating 300 people

Morning:    106
Afternoon:      96
No evening meeting         

John Richardson, Langbargh near Great Ayton

Primitive Methodist Chapel, Ayton

Built 1822
Free Sittings: 60
Other Sittings: 84

Morning: 56
Afternoon: 60
Evening: 36                 

Edward Wright, Society Steward

Independent Chapel, Ayton

Free Sittings: 30
Other Sittings: 150
Free space or standing room: 30

Morning: 30
Afternoon: school
Evening: 40                   
Average attendance of Sunday scholars in past months: 20
James Donaldson, Steward

Wesleyan Methodist (Old Connection) Chapel, Ayton

Built about 1808
Free Sittings: 70
Other Sittings: 102
No free space or standing room

Morning: 21  Sunday scholars
Afternoon: 62  General congregation + 23  Sunday scholars = 85
Evening: 48                 

John Kilvington, Chapel Steward

Mr Kilvington notes:  “This No. rather under the average”, but does not complete the average number of attendants during preceding months


St Peter’s, the ancient parish church of Stokesley

Tithe £1206     (minus the reduction of the last tithe rent [illeg])   
Glebe   170
Pew rents  none
Fees  12.0.0    [note illeg]
Easter offerings about  3.0.0   

Free Sittings: 300
Other Sittings: 600
= 900

Morning: 237 General congregation + 83 Sunday Scholars = 320
Afternoon: 11 General congregation + 83 Sunday scholars = 94

Average number of attendants: 
Morning: from 300 to 400
Afternoon: always small
Evening: from 300 to 400         

Charles Cator, Rector

Mr Cator notes:  “I do not think the congregation was on Sunday the 30th March an average congregation.  Three Houses in the Town having the windows closed on account of deaths.  There were besides two funerals at which were present 173 persons, and the persons attending funerals seldom attend the public worship on those occasions, besides that there are very many sick at the present time.  The afternoon service is attended chiefly by persons attending Baptisms and by the School Children who are catechized publicly.”

Easby Chapel of Ease, late a Methodist chapel

Licensed in 1842, “by the late Archbishop of York, on a lease granted to the Rector of Stokesley at the annual rent of £8, which lease will expire next year viz in 1852”

Erected by the late W Campion, who did reside at Easby, for the Wesleyan Methodists

Free Sittings:  70
Total Sittings:  70

No evening service; alternate afternoon and morning services

Afternoon: 20

Average number of attendants:
Morning: 25
Afternoon: 35                 

Charles Cator, Rector

Mr Cator notes:  “It is a very small hamlet, about three miles from the Parish Church and the congregations vary very much with the state of the weather”

Bethel Chapel (Independent), Stokesley

Built 1809

Free Sittings: 24
Other Sittings: 50
Free space or standing room: 30

No morning service
Afternoon: 70
Evening: 40

Average number of attendants during 6 months:
Afternoon: 80
Evening: 50

No Sunday School attendance recorded       
Dan William Evans, Minister

Primitive Methodist Chapel, Stokesley

Built 1835

Free Sittings: 50
Other Sittings: 150
Free space or standing room:  80

Morning: 24 Sunday scholars
Afternoon: 35 General congregation + 14 Sunday scholars = 59
Evening: 85

Average number of attendants during 12 months:
Morning:   30  Sunday scholars
Afternoon:  43 General congregation + 30 Sunday school = 73
Evening: 65 General congregation     

Edward Burras, Minister

Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Stokesley

Built 1812

Free Sittings: 256
Other Sittings: 256

Morning: 80 General congregation + 33 Sunday scholars = 113
Afternoon: 45 Sunday scholars
Evening: 137 General congregation     

John Haigh, Wesleyan Minister

Easby Wesleyan Methodist Chapel

Built 1842

Free Sittings: 36
Other Sittings: 46

No morning service
Morning: 30   
Evening: 20

No Sunday School attendance recorded
George Weatherill, Member

Hutton Rudby

Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Hutton

Built 1759

Free Sittings: 150
Other Sittings: 113

No morning service

Afternoon: 70 General congregation + 37 Sunday scholars = 107                           
Evening: 41

Average number of attendants:
Afternoon: 100 General congregation + 40 Sunday scholars = 140
Evening: 60                     

John Smith, Steward

Mr Smith notes:  “Size of Chapel 12 yards by 10 yards within”

Primitive Methodist Chapel, Hutton

Built 1821

Free Sittings: 122
Other Sittings: 76
Free space or standing room: 60

No morning or afternoon service
Evening: 150

Average number of attendants during 12 months: 180   

William Eden, Steward

The Rev R J Barlow does not seem to have completed the Census forms for the parish churches and attendant chapelries.

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