The thesis will examine the influence that the First World War had on the faith of the practising Christians of England, and in particular on their understanding of God. It will place evidence about and analysis of the responses of the typical worshipper or local clergyman in the context of national debate and episcopal utterance, but the primary focus is the local experience. It will examine the conflict’s impact on ideas of divine omnipotence, divine impassibility and Providence.
The geographical focus is the Diocese of Southwell as it was from 1884 to 1927, comprising the counties of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, and the churches (both Anglican and non-conformist) in that area. Evidence from the largely urban Diocese of Birmingham will also be evaluated and compared with that from Southwell.
Primary sources discussed include clergy letters and activities reported in church magazines, liturgies and orders for special services, and supplementary hymns, hymn collections and sermons published both nationally and locally. A lay preacher’s diary from Nottingham offers one personal perspective. Material from other protestant Churches is set alongside the Anglican sources and similarities and differences will be identified.