The Victorian parson is an unsung hero. Legend and literature portray him, at best, as the bearer of a thin veneer of piety which covers his hypocrisy; at worst, as a buffoon or a charlatan.
Yet amid the unprecedented technological and commercial change of the nineteenth century, the Church moved to the centre of the nation's affairs and took on new and important responsibilities. Campaigning for new schools, healthier living conditions and humanitarian values, the parson became a champion for the lower classes.
With a wealth of diary entries and other first-hand accounts, this beautifully written history sees society from the viewpoint of the parson at the centre of his community - a community in the throes of economic, spiritual, architectural, social and scientific revolution.
Barry Turner is a writer and editor. He is the author of over thirty books, the most recent being 'Outpost of Occupation', an account of life in the Channel Islands during the war, and 'Beacon of Change', the story of the 1951 Festival of Britain. A founding member of the National Academy of Writing, he edited the annual 'Writer's Handbook' for twenty-five years and 'The Statesman's Yearbook', a gazetteer of world facts, for seventeen years. Barry lives in London and south-west France.