Religious historians writing about Roman Catholicism after the Reformation have concentrated on institutional change, or the impact of certain groups or individuals. At the same time, those writing about Evangelical revivalism have tended to see this as an exclusively Protestant phenomenon. This book, by focusing on devotional practice and grass roots communities over a long period, demonstrates that renewal and revivalism were also present in the Roman Catholic Church, arguing that they are essential for faith to remain vibrant. The book examines how in the diocese of Middlesbrough (which comprises the old North and East Ridings of Yorkshire including Hull and York) Catholic faith and practice developed from a position where old Catholic gentry families were central through to the establishment of the Catholic hierarchy and large-scale immigration in the nineteenth century, when the church took on a distinctly Irish character. It re-evaluates the so-called "golden age" of the 1950s and considers the impact of the Second Vatican Council. Overall, the book shows how English Catholic faith and practice were influenced by social, cultural and geographical factors, how Roman Catholicism can indeed be seen as part of the Evangelical spectrum of religious experience, and, above all, how ordinary Catholics lived their faith.
Margaret Turnham completed her doctorate at the University of Nottingham.