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Anti-Catholicism in Bath from 1820 to 1870

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 February 2015


This paper challenges the idea that harmonious relations prevailed amongst Bath's various religious denominations during the ‘Age of Reform’, from the 1820s to the 1860s. It reveals instead that the public expression of anti-Catholic opinion was a regular feature of the city's political scene in this period. An anti-Catholic ‘crusade’, directed against such local targets as Prior Park and Downside colleges, and ‘Popery’ in general, was sustained by a variety of local organizations and national organizations that had branches in Bath, as well as prominent Tory activists resident in the city. Many Irish-born evangelical clergymen played a prominent role in this crusade. It is not surprising, given the prominence of Irish clergymen in Bath's anti-Catholic movement, that protests against the state endowment of Maynooth College were popular with the city's anti-Popery activists; furthermore, several proselytizing organizations whose principal aim was the conversion of Ireland's Catholics to the Protestant faith had a permanent base in Bath. The perceived iniquitous effects of ‘Popery’ in Ireland formed part of the anti-Catholic crusade's propaganda message. While the anti-Popery cause appealed particularly to the city's Church of England community, with many of its clergymen and prominent lay Anglicans to the fore of the anti-Catholic agitation, it attracted support from all sections of Protestant society.

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1 Davis, Graham and Bonsall, Penny, A History of Bath: Image and Reality (Carnegie Press, 2006), p.242.Google Scholar

2 Davis, Graham and Davis and Bonsall, Bath: A New History (Keele University Press, 1996), pp.63, 137.Google Scholar

3 Ibid, p.137.

4 Colley, Linda, Britons: Forging the Nation 1707–1837 (Vintage, 1996), pp.20–21, 23–24, 348354;Google Scholar Hempton, David, Religion and Popular Culture in Britain and Ireland: From the Glorious Revolution to the Decline of Empire (Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp.144147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

5 Williams, J. Anthony, Bath and Rome: The Living Link. Catholicism in Bath from 1559 to the Present Day (St John's, 1963), p.121;Google Scholar Davis and Bonsall, Bath, p.137.

6 Paz, Popular Anti-Catholicism.

7 Anti-Catholic campaigners in Bath often made what appears to the modern reader as a formulaic distinction between the iniquitous ‘Romish’ Church, whose evil designs were to be combated, and the ignorant Catholic laity, who were its victims and were therefore to be shown compassion by Protestants. For some of the many examples, see Bath Protestant, June 1838; The Times, 10 April 1845; Edward Tottenham, Maynooth: Its History, Teaching, and Results (unknown publisher, 1852), p.3; Bath Chronicle, 5 December 1867.

8 The Parliamentary Debates…Vol. XII. Comprising the Period from the Third Day of February, to the Eighteenth Day of April, 1825 (T.C. Hansard, 1825), col. 422 (15 February 1825).

9 Letter from ‘A British Protestant’ in Bath Chronicle, 2 March 1829.

10 Bath Chronicle, 12 March 1829. This petition was presented to the House of Commons by Sir Robert Inglis.

11 Catholic Emancipation: A Fable (Ann E. Binns, n.d.). Binns, a printers in Cheap Street, published many anti-Catholic publications for a Bath readership from the 1820s to the 1840s: these included The Doctrines of the Church of Rome Tried and Cast, by the Law and by Testimony: Humbly Inscribed to the British Public (c.1830); Tottenham, Edward, The Anti-Maynooth Petition. A Tract for the Times, by a Delegate to the Anti-Maynooth Conference (co-published with Goodwin, 1845);Google Scholar and Gorges Lowther, Abjurations from Popery: with Introductory Matter on the Errors of the Church of Rome (co-published with Goodwin, 1847).

12 Bath Chronicle, 25 January 1838, 1 April 1841, 8 April 1841, 7 November 1850, 26 May 1853.

13 For accounts of Baines's foiled plans for Downside, and also for his ambitious plans for Prior Park, see Roche, J.S., A History of Prior Park College and Its Founder Bishop Baines (Burns Oates and Washbourne, 1931), pp.37n, 40–41, 43–62, 82–95, 106119;Google Scholar Little, Bryan, Prior Park: Its History and Description (Prior Park College, 1975), pp.2532;Google Scholar Gilbert, Pamela J., This Restless Prelate: Bishop Peter Baines 1786–1843 (Gracewing, 2006), pp.48–53, 78–81, 83, 91–92, 97–109, 202206;Google Scholar Schofield, Nicholas and Skinner, Gerard, The English Vicars Apostolic 1688–1850 (Family Publications, 2009), pp.224229.Google Scholar

14 Bath Chronicle, 30 January 1840.

15 Page, James R., Popery and Sophistry Exposed. A Letter to the Protestants of Bath (John and James Keene, 1834), pp.3, 7.Google Scholar

16 Murch, Trial of Maynooth, p.9.

17 These plans are discussed in Frost, Amy, ‘A Bishop's Palace in Bath: Baines, Goodridge and Prior Park’, Bath History, vol. 12 (2011), pp.125137.Google Scholar

18 The Present State and Prospects of the World and the Church (Seeley, R.B. and Burnside, W., 1837), p.289;Google Scholar Bath Protestant, August 1839.

19 Not only was Prior Park not a Jesuit institution, but the college's founder, Bishop Baines, was very hostile towards the Jesuit Order: Gilbert, This Restless Prelate, p.108.

20 Bath Chronicle, 25 January 1838, 30 January 1840; Bath Protestant, September 1838.

21 Kolaczkowski, Alex, ‘Jerom Murch and Unitarianism in Bath 1833–45’, Transactions of the Unitarian Historical Society, vol. 21, no. 1 (1995), p.26.Google Scholar

22 Murch, Trial of Maynooth, pp.9–10.

23 Bath Protestant, July 1839, August 1839; Bath Chronicle, 30 January 1840.

24 Magee, Remains of Edward Tottenham, p.xxvii.

25 Ibid; various letters from Brown in Bath and Devizes Guardian, 21 April 1838, 28 April 1838, 5 May 1838, 12 May 1838, 19 May 1838, 2 June 1838, 9 June 1838; Popery Illustrated, by the Result of the Bath Protestant Meeting on March 13, 1838; in the Controversy of Dr Brown, Principal of Downside College, and Sir William S.R. Cockburn, Bart., Major Grafton, and the Rev Robert J. McGhee, Minister of Harold's Cross Church, Dublin (Pococke, W., 1838).Google Scholar

26 Bath and Devizes Guardian, 5 May 1838.

27 Bath Chronicle, 5 April 1856.

28 Ibid, 7 May 1840, 7 April 1842.

29 Ibid, 8 August 1853.

30 The Authenticated Report of the Discussion Which Took Place in the Roman Catholic Chapel of Downside, Near Bath, on the 25th, 26th, and 27th February, and the 5th, 6th, and 7th of March, 1834 (J.G. and Rivington, R. and Booker, J., 1836).Google Scholar The topics in the debate were ‘The Rule of Faith’ and ‘The Sacrifice of the Mass’. The Catholic disputants were Fr T.J. Brown, professor of theology at Downside, Fr T.M. MacDonnell of St Peter's Chapel, Birmingham, and Fr Francis Edgeworth of Bristol; their opponents were Tottenham and Reverend John Lyons, rector of All Saints, Liverpool. The text of the published proceedings runs to some 484 pages, a testament to the public interest in such matters.

31 Magee, Remains of Edward Tottenham, p.xxxii.

32 For the importance of the Downside ‘victory’ in establishing Tottenham's fame, see ‘One of the Protestant Party’, Random Recollections of Exeter Hall, in 1834–1837 (Nisbet, James, 1838), pp.137138;Google Scholar Bath Chronicle, 9 June 1853; Magee, Remains of Edward Tottenham, p.xlix.

33 Details from Kite, V.J., ‘Libraries in Bath, 1618–1964’ (unpublished dissertation submitted for Fellowship of the Library Association, 1966), pp. 215216.Google Scholar

34 These ranged from membership of organizations attempting to convert Britain's Jews, to acting as one of the three secretaries of the Association for the Purpose of Conveying Intelligence Concerning the Home and Missionary Operations of the Church of England, and the State of Religion throughout the World: Bath Chronicle, 12 March 1840, 7 May 1846. His last public engagement was a speech which he gave to the Bath Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews on 10 May 1853: Bath Chronicle, 16 June 1853.

35 For example, his April 1845 Assembly Rooms speech in opposition to Parliament's increasing the Maynooth grant lasted some one-and-a-half hours: The Times, 10 April 1845.

36 Tottenham's library, consisting of some 1,386 titles and 2,000 volumes, was donated to Bath's Commercial and Literary Institution; when this was closed in 1874, the library was moved to the Athenaeum, and was eventually donated to Bath Public Library in 1894. According to Kite: ‘This was a working library, formed by Tottenham for his particular job. Most of it consists of works of theological dispute, editions of the church fathers, religious history and critiques of all sorts. There are sets of the Parker Society publications, the Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology and the Library of the Fathers. Sermons abound and such titles as Lectures on the Errors of the Church of Rome, Head and Heart against Popery, and Nullity of the Roman Faith appear on almost every page [of the catalogue]. An unusual feature is the number of catechisms in a variety of languages. There are examples in Chinese, Cingalese, Dutch, Piedmontese, Sicilian and Tamil besides French, German, Italian and Portuguese’: Kite, ‘Libraries in Bath’, p.217.

37 His friend and co-combatant against Popery, Reverend W.C. Magee, testified to Tottenham's popularity as a preacher and public speaker: ‘Sunday after Sunday did he make his way to the [Laura Chapel] pulpit with difficulty through the crowds that filled the chapel to overflowing, while numbers went away, unable to obtain standing room. From all parts of Bath, men of all ranks and professions, thronged to listen with delight to preaching such as they had not heard before. No meeting was held complete unless Tottenham was to speak at it; and the charity which could secure his advocacy was sure of an abundant collection’: Magee, Remains of Edward Tottenham, pp.xlviii–xlix.

38 A Speech Delivered at a Public Meeting Held in Bath, on Tuesday April 8th, 1845, for the Purpose of Petitioning Against the Endowment of the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth (William Pocock, Simpkins and Marshall, and Seeley, 1845); Popery on the Continent in the Nineteenth Century: A Warning to the Protestants of England (Binns and Goodwin, 1847); A Sermon Preached in Laura Chapel, Bath, on Sunday Evening, November the Fifth, 1848 (Hatchard, Simpkin and Marshall, and M.A. Pocock, 1848); Maynooth: Its History, Teaching, and Results (Seelys and R.E. Peach, 1852). E.R. Norman has also published the text of an 1845 pamphlet, The Anti-Maynooth Petition. A Tract for the Times, by a Delegate to the Anti-Maynooth Conference (Binns and Goodwin, 1845), which he believes was ‘almost certainly’ written by Tottenham: Norman, E.R., Anti-Catholicism in Victorian Britain (George Allen and Unwin, 1968), pp.154158.Google Scholar

39 Seymour claimed that during his time as a Church of Ireland clergyman he had undertaken successful proselytizing activity amongst Irish Catholics, but his account is extremely sketchy as to the date and location of these alleged successful efforts: Seymour, M. Hobart, My Experiencein the Church of Ireland: A Letter to Lord Derby (Seeley, Jackson and Halliday, 1868), pp.511.Google Scholar

40 Matthew, H.G.C. and Harrison, Brian (eds.), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Volume 49 Sartorius-Sharman (Oxford University Press, 2004), pp.894895.Google Scholar

41 A Pilgrimage to Rome (Seeley, 1848); Mornings among the Jesuits at Rome: Being Notesof Conversations held with Certain Jesuits in that City (Seeley, 1849); Evenings with the Romanists: With an Introductory Chapter on the Moral Results of the Romish System (Robert, 1854).

42 A far from exhaustive catalogue includes Romanism in Rome in the Nineteenth Century: A Lecture (Protestant Institute, 1849); The Nature of Romanism, as Exhibited in the Missions of the Jesuits and Other Orders: A Lecture (Nisbet, 1849); Certainty Unattainable in the Roman Church (Seeley, 1851); The Moral Results of the Romish System (Seeley, 1854); The Disendowment of Maynooth, as a Question of National, Social, and Civil Polity: Beinga Speech Delivered by the Rev. H. Hobart Seymour, at a Meeting of the Protestant Alliance in Bath (Seeley and Wood Brothers, 1854); Convents and the Confessional: Being a Speech delivered in St James's Hall, Feb. 24, 1865 (W. and J. Murray, 1865); The Jubilee at Rome: A Lecture, delivered at Bath, April 16, 1866 (R.E. Peach; Simpkin, Marshall, 1866); No Peace with Rome: A Lecture (William Macintosh, 1867); and Distinctive Teaching, a Necessity of the Day: An Address Prefatory to the Course of Lectures on the Romish Controversy about to be Delivered by the Rev. M. Hobart Seymour and the Rev. W.E. James, in Connection with the Scottish Reformation Society (W. and F. Dawson, 1869).

43 See the revealing poem, titled ‘Nuns and Nunneries’ by ‘G.M.’, ‘a constant reader’, in Bath Chronicle, 3 June 1852.

44 For a detailed account of the exchanges between Seymour and Wiseman, see Kollar, Rene, ‘Two Lectures at Bath: The Rev. M. Hobart Seymour and Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman and the Nunnery Question’, Revue d'histoire ecclésiastique, vol. 96, parts 3–4 (2001), pp.372390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

45 Seymour, M. Hobart, Convents or Nunneries. A Lecture in Reply to Cardinal Wiseman, Delivered at the Assembly Rooms, Bath, on Monday, June 7, 1852 (Seeley, 1852), p.59.Google Scholar

46 ‘One of the Protestant Party’, Random Recollections, p.131.

47 Bath Chronicle, 5 May 1853, 20 May 1858. The target was 3,000 volumes, such was the demand for the distinctive reading material made available to the members. The annual subscription for library membership was two shillings.

48 Ibid, 20 May 1858.

49 Ibid.

50 Ibid, 10 March 1864. This was published as A Speech on Aspects of the Papacy (Simpkin, Marshall, 1863).

51 Bath Chronicle, 5 March 1868.

52 Ibid, 4 January 1855, 3 January 1856.

53 Ibid, 29 January 1857, 2 February 1857, 28 February 1861.

54 Ibid, 3 January 1856.

55 Ibid, 7 January 1858.

56 Paz, Popular Anti-Catholicism, p.34; Bath Chronicle, 25 January 1838. It established a newspaper, the Bath Protestant, in June 1838. In January 1842 the Reformation Society changed its name to the Bath Society for Promoting the Principles of the Reformation, and for the Support of the Church of England Generally, which necessitated a title change for its newspaper, which was published as the Protestant and Church Advocate from February 1842 to March 1845.

57 Bath Chronicle, 4 January 1855. In a similar exercise in March 1866 the Bath Protestant Alliance awarded prizes ranging from ten shillings to £3 for six essays, ‘the bona fide productions of working men or women, refuting by Scriptural arguments one of the errors of the church of Rome, that of Transubstantiation’. The Bath Protestant Alliance was even more generous towards the fifty to sixty young men and eighty to ninety young women who graduated from the series of weekly lectures given by Reverend Seymour and Reverend W.E. James over the course of the winter of 1868–9 and who succeeded in the subsequent examination on ‘those points of difference which exist between Protestantism and Anti-Christ’. The prize fund was boosted by £10 donated by the Scottish Reformation Society: its vice president, A.S. Shaw, explained that his society wished to work in England to stop the ‘plague’ of Popery spreading to Scotland from there: Bath Chronicle, 15 March 1866, 15 April 1869.

58 The example of Bath's permanent contingent of Irish anti-Papists calls into question Janice Holmes's contention that the ethnic or national origin of Irish evangelicals who operated in Britain did not impinge in a major way on their work or on how they were perceived. This was certainly not the case with either Tottenham, Seymour or Magee. See Janice Holmes, ‘Irish Evangelicals and the British Evangelical Community, 1820s-1870s’ in Murphy, James H. (ed.), Evangelicals and Catholics in Nineteenth-Century Ireland (Four Courts Press, 2005), pp.209222.Google Scholar

59 For a biographical overview of McNeile, see Matthew, H.G.C. and Harrison, Brian (eds.), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Volume 35: Macan-Macpherson (Oxford University Press, 2004), pp.950951.Google Scholar

60 Bath and Devizes Guardian, 24 March 1838. For later visits by McNeile to Bath to deliver anti-Catholic speeches, see Bath Guardian, 31 March 1842, 7 April 1842. According to the Bathand Devizes Guardian, such was the impact of speeches by McGhee and McNeile, which could last for four or five hours, that ‘a proportionate degree of aversion has been produced on the minds of many to their neighbours of the Catholic persuasion; and that even socially, they are not thought fit to be treated with the ordinary courtesies of life by those who are thus taught to abhor them, through the influence of intolerant factious orators’: Bath and Devizes Guardian, 2 February 1839.

61 Bath Chronicle, 29 May 1856. One of Drew's inflammatory sermons helped to spark off the Belfast riots of July 1857: Boyd, Andrew, Holy War in Belfast (Anvil, 1972), pp.934.Google Scholar

62 Bath Chronicle, 3 March 1842. For a discussion of the Irish in nineteenth-century Bath see Davis, Graham, ‘Social Decline and Slum Conditions: Irish Migrants in Bath's History’, Bath History, vol. 8, 2000, pp.134147.Google Scholar

63 Connolly, S.J. (ed.), The Oxford Companion to Irish History (Oxford University Press, 1998), pp.504505.Google Scholar

64 Bath Chronicle, 8 April 1841, 1 May 1845.

65 Ibid, 5 June 1845, 17 June 1852; Post Office Bath Directory 1858–9 (William Lewis, 1857), p.409; The Post Office Bath Directory 1870–71 (William Lewis, 1869), p.488.

66 Bath Chronicle, 17 June 1852, 17 February 1853, 24 February 1853, 28 February 1861, 3 March 1864, 24 February 1870.

67 Ibid, 17 June 1852; Post Office Bath Directory 1858–9, p.409.

68 Bath Chronicle, 4 March 1841, 11 March 1841, 3 March 1842, 29 February 1844, 20 February 1845, 27 February 1845.

69 Ibid, 28 April 1842; Post Office Bath Directory 1858–9, p.409; Post Office Bath Directory1870–71, p.488.

70 Bath Journal, 5 June 1837; Bath Chronicle, 9 March 1837, 1 April 1841, 3 March 1842, 24 March 1853, 4 January 1855, 3 September 1868; Protestant and Church Advocate, March 1845.

71 They were controversial partly because they achieved some success in winning over large numbers of converts to Protestantism, but also because it was alleged that they induced poor Catholic peasants to convert by enticing them with food. Such allegations were particularly widespread and controversial during the Great Famine of 1845–49. For a discussion of the Dingle, Achill and other missions, and the ‘Souper’ controversy – converts were pejoratively referred to as ‘Soupers’ because their prime motivation in converting was, allegedly, to avail of the soup and other food that was offered by evangelizing missionaries – see Bowen, Desmond, Souperism: Myth or Reality. A Study in Souperism (Mercier Press, 1970), pp.7991 Google Scholar and Bowen, Desmond, The Protestant Crusade in Ireland, 1800–70: A Study of Protestant-Catholic Relations between the Act of Union and Disestablishment (Gill and Macmillan, 1978).Google Scholar

72 Bath Chronicle, 5 January 1843, 12 March 1846, 10 January 1856.

73 Post Office Bath Directory, 1858–9, pp.407–408.

74 The pamphlet is discussed briefly in Roche, J.S., A History of Prior Park College and its Founder Bishop Baines (Burns Oates and Washbourne, 1931), pp.155–56n.Google Scholar

75 East, John, The Proselyte Recovered; or Facts for Young Men (1843),Google Scholar reviewed in Penny Protestant Operative, vol. 4 (1843), pp.6768.Google Scholar East's cautionary tale was written to warn young men of the dangers of attending Catholic churches out of curiosity and becoming ensnared into the Catholic religion as a result.

76 East, John, Glimpses of Ireland in 1847 (Binns, Goodwin C. and Goodwin, and Noyes, T., 1847).Google Scholar

77 Gray, Peter, Famine, Land and Politics: British Government and Irish Society 1843–50 (Irish Academic Press, 1999).Google Scholar

78 Bath Chronicle, 4 March 1847.

79 Bath and Devizes Guardian, 17 March 1838; Bath Chronicle, 2 February 1840, 4 March 1841, 18 April 1841, 21 April 1842, 6 March 1845, 3 April 1845, 1 May 1845, 22 May 1845, 1 January 1846, 26 February 1852. The pronounced hostility amongst many of Bath's Protestants towards Maynooth College was a local manifestation of a nationwide phenomenon: see Cahill, Gilbert A., ‘The Protestant Association and the Anti-Maynooth Agitation of 1845’, Catholic Historical Review, vol. 43, no. 3 (October 1957), pp.273308;Google Scholar Wallis, Frank, ‘The Revival of the Anti-Maynooth Campaign in Britain, 1850–52’, Albion, vol. 19, no. 4 (Winter 1987), pp.527547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

80 Bath Chronicle, 3 April 1845, 10 April 1845, 17 April 1845, 24 April 1845, 26 May 1853.

81 Ibid, 1 January 1848, 10 August 1848.

82 The fact that increased numbers of Irish paupers were becoming a burden on Bath's rate-payers during the Famine was almost certainly a factor in the growth of anti-Irish feeling, which was closely linked with anti-Catholic feeling. It was alleged that around 270 ‘trampers’, mostly Irish, had lodged in the Bath Union workhouse in October 1847, leading to alarm at the prospect of a major rate increase over the ensuing winter: ibid, 28 October 1847.

83 For examples of politicians and clergymen promoting Tory principles at various anti-Catholic meetings in Bath, see The Times, 27 December 1836; Bath and Devizes Guardian, 5 May 1838, 1 January 1839; Bath Chronicle, 21 November 1839, 1 April 1841, 7 April 1842. As Cahill points out, the ‘No Popery’ movement in Britain often had close links with the Tory party: Cahill, ‘Anti-Maynooth Agitation’.

84 Bath and Devizes Guardian, 9 February 1839.

85 In October 1838 Daniel O'Connell lamented that ‘several of the large towns — such, for example, as Bath — have excluded men of liberal principles and of first-rate talent, and returned, principally on the religious cry, men whom we may well describe as paltry aristocrats’: The Times, 19 October 1838.

86 Cahill, ‘Anti-Maynooth Agitation’, p.305; Matthew, H.G.C. and Harrison, Brian (eds.), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Volume 47: Ripon-Rowe (Oxford University Press, 2004), p.522.Google Scholar

87 That there was a strong anti-Catholic motive behind this opposition is apparent from the speeches made at a meeting of Conservative voters in the Royal Oak, Twerton, in September 1868: Bath Chronicle, 3 September 1868.

88 Hall, Peter, A Wonderful and Horrible Thing! Lying Prophets, Usurping Priests and a Consenting People, Combined to Bring Back Popery into England. The Substance of a Sermon preached at Walcot Church, Bath, on Thursday, Nov. 5th, 1846 (Binns and Goodwin, 1847, second edition), p.13.Google Scholar The Bath Protestant of September 1838 reminded its readers that ‘Popery is a system of lying – it teaches doctrines which are unscriptural, and consequently lies; and it leads to the practice of lies’ (original italics).

89 For examples, see Bath Journal, 25 September 1837, 16 October 1837; Bath Chronicle, 10 June 1852, 6 January 1859, 16 February 1862; Seymour, Convents or Nunneries, pp.44–45. Women were sometimes excluded from the meetings where salacious allegations were made regarding predatory behaviour by priests. Jerom Murch claimed that ‘It is now the practice to insinuate at public meetings that the moral characters of the members of the Church of Rome are deeply and generally stained by proceedings at the confessional; and, as the speakers cannot do more than insinuate at public meetings, they call gentlemen together privately, and poison their ears with tales too gross to repeat’: Murch, Trial of Maynooth, p.24.

90 Paz, Popular Anti-Catholicism, p.17.

91 Bath Chronicle, 26 May 1853, 2 February 1865.

92 Ibid, 12 January 1865, 5 March 1870.

93 Ibid, 10 April 1856.

94 In the correspondent's opinion, ‘The ugly Gothic cowl of these alien-hearted impostors long covered the foulest of crimes, seduced our souls, betrayed our liberties, insulted our princes, hampered our senate, roasted our relatives, and bagged millions of our gold’: letters from Sheridan Wilson in Bath Chronicle, 9 March 1865, 30 March 1865.

95 This was in a speech which he gave to the Bath Protestant Operative Association. Reverend Loughnan used statistics to substantiate his thesis of universal and unrelenting Popish tyranny: Protestant victims of Catholic murderers included thirty-nine princes, 362 noblemen, 147,518 gentlemen and 750,000 common people of France from 1560 to 1593, who were put to death ‘for the simple crime of being Protestants’; in November 1641, in Ireland, ‘200,000 of English Protestants were murdered in cold blood’; after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, one-twentieth of France's Protestants were murdered, and another 300,000 fled abroad; over 34,000 Italian Protestants were burned at the stake from 1481 to 1820, and over 288,000 condemned to the galleys. The overall picture was of unrelenting Catholic persecution of Protestants: Bath Chronicle, 1 January 1856.

96 For assertions that the contemporary Catholic Church was no less persecutory in the present than it had been in the past, see the claims made in Bath Protestant, March 1839, November 1839; Bath Chronicle, 14 January 1841, 1 January 1868, 19 May 1870; Tottenham, Poperyon the Continent, p.53. For evidence of this view in mid-Victorian British popular culture, see Paz, D.G., ‘Anti-Irish Stereotyping and Anti-Celtic Racism in Mid-Victorian Working-Class Periodicals’, Albion, vol. 18, no. 4 (Winter 1986), p.605.Google Scholar

97 Bath Protestant, March 1839, August 1839, September 1839, November 1839, January 1840, February 1840, March 1840, April 1840, May 1840.

98 Sir Cockburn, William Sarsfield Rossiter, The Massacre of Saint Bartholomew, with a Concise History of the Corruptions, Usurpations, and Anti-Social Effects of Romanism (John W. Parker, 1840).Google Scholar Cockburn was chairman of the stridently anti-Catholic Bath Protestant Association in the early 1840s: Bath Chronicle, 7 April 1842.

99 Bath Protestant, November 1838, November 1840; Bath and Devizes Guardian, 17 November 1838.

100 Commenting on an alleged case of persecution of a married couple in Tuscany for reading a Bible on Sunday, the Bath Chronicle ‘s editorial stated that ‘What Romanism did in Italy because there it is supreme, it does not attempt here because Protestantism is supreme. But should the Romish Church ever again get the upper hand – which God forbid! – we shall soon feel that the “religious equality” it is clamouring for, is not that liberty of conscience – since that its members enjoy already as fully as Protestants – but liberty to persecute all who reject Romanism’: Bath Chronicle, 10 February 1853.

101 Ibid, 30 January 1840; Seymour, Pilgrimage to Rome, p.272; Magee, Remains of Edward Tottenham, pp.xxvi–xxvii.

102 Bath Protestant, August 1838.

103 For a summary of Stowell's contribution to the anti-Catholic cause, see Matthew, H.G.C. and Harrison, Brian (eds.), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Volume 52 Spruce-Strakosch (Oxford University Press, 2004), pp.987988.Google Scholar

104 Bath Chronicle, 1 April 1841. Stowell probably caused a frisson of horror amongst his hearers when he warned them that there could even be Jesuits in disguise in the audience.

105 Ibid, 1 May 1845.

106 The means used by Rome to attack Protestant Britain varied according to the imagination of the writer or orator who was making the claims about Catholic subversion. In November 1838, William Jeffs told the Bath Church of England Lay Association that ‘Roman Catholics and Socinians, Trinitarian and anti-Trinitarian dissenters, Unbelievers and Republicans, form one common cause for the annihilation of the Church of England’. Reverend Edward Gillson, curate of Widcombe Church, stated in January 1842 that Popery used ‘infidelity and other anti-Christian enemies’ as part of ‘a great anti-Christian league’ to attack the Established Church; in April of the same year, Sir William S. R. Cockburn told the Bath Protestant Association that Catholics had ‘made unholy alliance with Socialists and every sect of schismatics’, as well as Chartists, to assault the Church of England. In May 1858, Reverend T. George Perks, Wesleyan minister of Walcot Chapel, reminded the Bath Protestant Operative Association that ‘The adversary with whom they had to contend was wily, watchful, and wary’, using such methods as ‘corrupting the class books of our day schools’, taking professorships at universities, and ‘by fascinating and perverting sentimental ladies and gentlemen by his music and mummeries’: Bath Chronicle, 28 November 1838, 20 January 1842, 7 April 1842, 20 May 1858.

107 Ibid, 7 November 1850, 14 November 1850, 21 November 1850, 28 November 1850. In its issue of 21 November 1850, the Bath Chronicle claimed that the 3,000 people who attended the protest meeting in the Assembly Rooms against the ‘Papal Aggression’ was ‘beyond comparison, the largest in-door gathering which has ever taken place in Bath’. The response in Bath was typical of the response of many Protestants throughout Britain: see Paz, Popular Anti-Catholicism; Klaus, Robert James, The Pope, the Protestants, and the Irish: Papal Aggressionand Anti-Catholicism in Mid-Nineteenth Century England (Garland Publishing, 1987);Google Scholar Wolfe, John, God and Greater Britain: Religion and National Life in Britain and Ireland 1843–1945 (Routledge, 1994), pp.112115.Google Scholar

108 Bath Chronicle, 28 April 1864. In its issue of 21 April 1864, when discussing whether a public welcome should be given to Garibaldi when he passed through Bath, the Bath Chronicle stated that only ‘a few Irishmen, a few Romanists, and a few oddities who delight in opposing the general wish’ were opposed to the idea. For a general discussion of Protestant Britain's hostility towards the papacy during the wars of the Italian Risorgimento, and the popularity of Garibaldi, see McIntire, C.T., England against the Papacy 1858–1861: Tories, Liberals, andthe Overthrow of Papal Power during the Italian Risorgimento (Cambridge University Press, 1983);CrossRefGoogle Scholar Beales, Derek, ‘Garibaldi in England: The Politics of Italian Enthusiasm’, in Davis, John A. and Ginsborg, Paul (eds.), Society and Politics in the Age of the Risorgimento: Essays in Honour of Denis Mack Smith (Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp.184216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

109 Bath Protestant, August 1838, May 1840.

110 The Bath Chronicle ‘s 12 January 1865 editorial on ‘Roman Catholic Priests and English Girls’ protested against ‘the eager and not very scrupulous way’ in which priests carried on their proselytizing work, claiming that ‘Upon young and silly women they bring to bear with great effect the fascinations of their system, inducing them to abandon homes and parents, and to act in open defiance of moral obligations and natural affection’. For a discussion of the devious Catholic proselytizer targeting Protestant women in the literature of the Victorian period, see Peschier, Diana, ‘Vulnerable Women and the Danger of Gliding Jesuits: England in the Nineteenth Century’, Women's Writing, vol. 11, no. 2 (2004), pp.281301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

111 For negative comments to this effect, see Bath and Devizes Guardian, 20 January 1838, 17 March 1838. It was claimed that more than 2,000 Bath women signed a petition in 1852, calling on Queen Victoria to arrange for the inspections of all ‘nunneries’ so that those inmates who wished to leave could do so, as well as to protect their property rights: Seymour, Convents or Nunneries, unnumbered page at end of pamphlet.

112 Murch, Trial of Maynooth, p.21.

113 For similar evidence from London in the 1830s, see ‘One of the Protestant Party’, Random Recollections, pp.19–20.

114 This article challenges one of the key arguments of Paul T. Phillips concerning sectarian harmony in Victorian Bath. Phillips argues that there was relatively little anti-Catholicism in Bath, ‘beyond the annual Guy Fawkes sermons and the occasional criticism in print of Prior Park. The retiring quality of the small, predominantly native-born Roman Catholic community in Bath made it a poor target for the venting of social antagonism’: Phillips, Paul T., ‘The Religious Side of Victorian Bath, 1830–1870’, Histoire sociale Social History, vol. 6, Part 12 (1973), p.234.Google Scholar

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