What role did religion play in Victorian society?
As established by Henry VIII in 1550 to distance himself from the Catholic Church and the Pope (and make it possible for him to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon), the official religion of England at the beginning of the Victorian period, circa 1850, was that of the Anglican Church, known as the Church of England. Nonetheless, there were other religions that were quite important in the country, mainly Catholicism and Methodism, which was greatly known thanks to John Wesley and grew under Victorian times. There was also a movement of anti-Church, notably with the Age of Reason of Tom Paine, in 1794, and the apparition of spiritualism. The initiators of such movements where referred to as dissenters, and there were many dissented groups at the time.
The Victorian period, up until the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, was therefore a time of religious confusion, but also, as we will see, of great charity, as well as of birth of new beliefs.
What role did religion play in the lives of citizens of this period and their society?
The Victorian era was marked by the immense influence of the Church of England in religion, of course, but also in politics- being linked to the government meant it had its hand in certain social decisions, such as the oppression of dissenters. This naturally caused friction amongst people of other faith, especially the Catholics who had previously been stripped of many of their civil rights, which were only returned to them in 1827 by Parliament. They had a long wait until 1840 to see the tax-supported status of the Anglican Church be removed, making them equal once again.
Not only did the friction between Anglicans and Catholics grow before and...