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From: Stephen Hayes
To: All
Date: 2004-08-05 08:06:38
Subject: Million Act churches

* Forwarded (from: GEN_BRITAIN) by Stephen Hayes using timEd/2 1.10.y2k.
* Originally from Roy Stockdill (8:8/2002) to All.
* Original dated: Wed Aug 04, 04:45

From: roy{at} ("Roy Stockdill")

In one of my most recent postings (re the Parish of Stepney) I asked 
of a church I couldn't find in Phillimore, "Was it a million church?"

I realise I fell into the usual "experts' trap" of assuming too much
knowledge. So I thought  it might be helpful if I posted an 
explanation of what a "million" church was (before someone asks).

Following the Battle of Waterloo and the end of the Napoleonic Wars, 
a movement was launched to build new churches in celebration of the 
victory. The West Riding of Yorkshire, as it happens, was one of the 
counties that had become very short of places of worship in the 
rapidly growing industrial towns. So a meeting was called at 
Freemasons' Hall in London on February 6th 1818, chaired by the 
Archbishop of Canterbury, to form a committee and launch an appeal 
for funding.

The Church Building Society, as the committee was known, which later 
appointed Commissioners to run the scheme, lobbied parliament and was 
successful in that one million pounds was voted through for the 
building of new churches throughout the land. The Act approving the 
money, the Church Building Act, became nicknamed the "Million Act", 
hence churches built under the programme became known as "million" 

The programme lasted for many years and by 1856 a total of over 3 
million pounds has been raised, resulting in the building of 612 new 
churches, 10% of which, 106, were in Yorkshire, mostly the West 
Riding. I am afraid I do not have the figures for London.

Of course, church building went on under other auspices as well and 
it's been estimated that between 1831 and 1851 more than 2,000 new 
churches were built, which of course is why many church registers you 
will come across do not go back very far.

Roy Stockdill
Web page of the Guild of One-Name Studies:-
Newbies' Guide to Genealogy & Family History:-

"Our ancestors are very good kind of folks; but they are the last
people I should choose to have a visiting acquaintance with."

Richard Brinsley Sheridan in "The Rivals"

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