AbstractThe aim of this thesis is to determine whether or not, for the period c. 1850-1932, Methodist families exhibited any traits which may have demarcated them from the rest of society. Evidence of Methodist family life derives from a sample of 77 subjects (both individuals and families), mainly drawn from Wesleyan and Primitive Methodism. These subjects are sub-divided into "ministerial, "officer" and "rank-and-file" categories. Personal accounts in the form of published and unpublished auto/biographies, transcripts of oral evidence, and an unpublished diary provide the main basis for a study which systematically examines childhood, courtship and marriage, "worldly" pursuits, and bereavement. The values and practices of family life depicted by these personal accounts are compared with the promulgations of Methodist Officialdom, the latter drawn from obituaries, articles, sermons and other treatises found in Connexional publications. Comparison is also made between the beliefs and practices of subject families and those of their non-Methodist peers. In addition, Connexional policy is assessed in the light of the expectations of middle-class "respectability" in the wider world. Moreover, wherever relevant, the significance of gender, class and the rural/urban divide is highlighted. This study concludes that, although there are indications of distinguishing traits amongst a small minority of subject families, the evidence overall does not support an argument for the distinctiveness of Methodist families for the period researched in respect of the issues addressed; that the heterogeneity of values and behaviour present within secular households is largely reflected within Methodist homes; that the Connexion's opinions relating to domesticity often conflict with the values and practices prevalent in the homes of its membership; and that, furthermore, bourgeois "respectability" and Methodist Officialdom concur on the majority of issues concerning family life.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/