During the early and mid-nineteenth century the Church of England underwent a wide-ranging series of institutional reforms. These were intended to meet the pastoral challenges of industrial society, acknowledge the changing relationship of Church and State, and answer the more pertinent criticisms of its radical and dissenting antagonists. Particularly during the 1830s, the constitutional adjustments of 1828–32, the accession of a Whig administration, and widening internal divisions appeared to place the Church in a newly perilous position. The reforms were consequently enacted in a highly charged and febrile atmosphere. Each measure was closely scrutinized by concerned and sometimes panic-stricken Anglicans,’ seeking to establish whether it would strengthen the Church or was in fact a manifestation of threatening forces. In such circumstances, the legitimation of reform assumed crucial importance. As ever, the prospective reformer required a legitimation which would appeal to the widest possible constituency. Among allies, it could serve to embolden waverers, doubters, and often the reformer himself. If possible, it should engage the sympathies of potential opponents. It was also essential that the legitimation would not so constrain the reformer that the initiative’s practical effectiveness was blunted.