The lamb and the warrior : manhood, militarism and the diocese of London 1890-1914

Fountain, Christopher Simon (2012). The lamb and the warrior : manhood, militarism and the diocese of London 1890-1914. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000d3e0

Abstract

This thesis considers the relationship between the diocese of London and the military culture that was arguably prevalent in sections of English society in the quarter of a century preceding the outbreak of the First World War.

The various definitions of militarism are initially discussed. Then the gender, social, military and political influences that impacted upon and informed the Church of England in its response to the questions of masculinity and militarism in the pre-war years are analysed. As a counter balance to this the role and influence of the various peace movements within the church are discussed. The diocese of London is then placed within the social and demographic environment evident in the changing urban landscape of pre- 1914 London.

Those areas of society that were representative and supportive of the military element evident in sections of pre-war English society are then discussed, and the church's role within these analysed. It is argued that whilst there were elements of the church that were supportive, such support was not all-embracing but restricted and from specific sectors, education being one example, and the overall numbers involved are low. In particular the involvement of the church with the National Service League was minimal and therefore its influence upon, and by, this organisation was more muted than some commentators have implied. This lack of involvement was specifically apparent within the geographical boundaries of the diocese of London. When this is allied to a detailed analysis of army chaplain involvement, with initially the Volunteers and later the Territorial Force within the diocese, questions are raised about not only support at a local parish level but also about the support the episcopal and hierarchical elements within the diocese had for these aspects of a militarised culture.

A detailed assessment of local parish involvement in the various lads' /boys' brigades and scout troops highlights the reasonably low percentage of parishes within the diocese of London that participated within these organisations. It also underlines the various challenges, including a shortage of finance and a lack of willing officer material from the local population, which faced many of the parishes. There is evidence of a failure, or unwillingness, at a hierarchical and administrative level within the diocese to act upon the opportunities and to engender a positive and effective relationship between the church and the military, particularly at an individual and local level.

This thesis extends the arguments concerning the involvement of the lamb with the warrior by qualifying the views of many commentators that the Church of England generally, and the diocese of London, particularly through its bishop, Winnington- Ingram, was complicit in any militarism prevalent in pre-war England.

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