This article discusses some of the ways in which ideas about the city influenced the thinking of British Christians from 1840 to the early twentieth century. First, it explores nonconformist conceptions of the city, suggesting that, although the urban environment offered favourable circumstances for nonconformist growth, a desire to return to, or incorporate elements of, rural life was rarely far away. It explores why, when the garden city movement began, it found such fertile soil among Christian thinkers. Secondly, it considers some of the biblical paradigms that shaped late Victorian thinking about the city. Preachers and writers moved seamlessly from their well-stocked religious imaginations to contemplating the practicalities of the city, and back again. It is argued that the Christian evocation of medieval cities, biblical cities and garden cities shaped in important ways the conceptualizations of the urban world.