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Keywords:

  • Paternalism;
  • patronage;
  • secularization;
  • church funding

Abstract

As a contribution to our understanding of secularization in Britain, this paper examines the role of religious patronage. It illustrates nineteenth and early twentieth century support for the churches from rural landowners and major industrial employers, considers its benefits, and explains its rapid disappearance. The paper argues that the end of the expectation that high status individuals and major employers would actively promote organized religion is both significant evidence of secularization and a cause of further decline.