became as attractive as the Christian gospel - indeed Christian and political radicalism could be combined, as in teetotalism. It was not only in Britain that the tavern was seen as the natural rival to the church for the attention of the mass of the population. Owenite Halls of Science developed into Secular Societies in mid-nineteenth-century Britain, under the influence of men like G. J. Holyoake and Charles Bradlaugh. Their 'activist' approach led to regular meetings and rallies of their members, not unlike religious services. Secularist activists tended to come from the same social groups as Christians, whereas many ordinary folk who ignored the churches ignored secularism as well.
Thus there is a difference between popular irreligion and that of the more educated classes. Some evidence suggests that nineteenth-century interest in paganism came more from academics or other professional people seeking to revive something they regarded as past, than from the survival ofpagan groups. Orders of Druids, for example, were instituted in the nineteenth century as part of an attempt to revive tradition, particularly in Wales. The questions of how 'popular' such developments were, and how far what happened was the 'invention of tradition', need further research.
There were also various eccentric religious movements in the nineteenth century. Indeed it is not easy to know quite where to draw the line between, for example, Joanna Southcott, Joseph Smith and William Miller. Had Joanna Southcott been a Roman Catholic, who articulated her religious visions in terms of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she might have been regarded as one of a number of significant lowly religious figures who, though unusual, were definitely in the fold. William Miller was one of several people who made predictions about the second coming of Christ, which turned out to be false; but in significant respects the Adventist movement gained a kind of respectability within the nineteenth-century church. Joseph Smith, on the other hand, by claiming to have had visions of biblical stories transferred to a New World setting, lost more in terms of orthodoxy than he gained in relevance; yet the subsequent success of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints makes it still a puzzle to classify in relation to orthodox Christianity. Moreover, the emigration of the majority of English Mormons to the USA in the early 1850s when the state of Utah was being established means that it is easy to overlook how successful they were in the England of the 1840s.
One obvious point about popular religion (and indeed not only popular religion) is the significance of gender in religious observance. Women were generally significantly more observant than men - the only possible exception
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