Contemporary English Moravian identity in historical perspective

Rollo, James (2023). Contemporary English Moravian identity in historical perspective. PhD thesis The Open University.



The Moravian Church founded in Central Europe in 1457, exiled in 1627, renewed in 1722, rose
from a crisis in 1753 and regained its standing by the careful control of its past. Based on a
combination of archival research and contemporary fieldwork, this thesis considers
contemporary Moravian identity in England from a historical perspective. It explores how
contemporary members of the Moravian Church in England draw on history when presenting
their identity today. Using two Moravian settlements in England, Fairfield in Greater Manchester
and Fulneck in West Yorkshire, as case studies, this thesis examines how traditions and
practices are employed to present and construct English Moravian identity, to both internal and
external audiences. Against the backdrop of the history of the two settlements, reaching back to
their early relationship with central European Moravians, this thesis considers the interplay of
global, national, and local layers of Moravian identity and history. It investigates how
contemporary members of these two English Moravian settlements relate to and identify with
different aspects of their history and perceive their past. It explores notions of belonging to a
lived-in community and the relationship that members have with the physical settlements
themselves, in essence what it means to be a Moravian in England today.

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