A Vicar in Victorian Norfolk; Life & Times of Benjamin Armstrong (18171890)
Susanna WadeMartins, £25, Boydell, 9781783273300
The Rev Armstrong is among those erudite clergy who kept diaries that for social historians are a mine of information about their lives and times. Vicar of East Dereham, his diaries cover the years 1850-1888 and this is the first full biography of this interesting gentleman. Life in Britain was changing fast and the Victorian church went through turmoil, as High and Low church factions, the rise of non-conformism and Darwin’s Theory caused conflict. Being on assorted boards for schools and societies and with a full social life, Armstrong painted a picture of society and Norfolk as it was. By the time he retired, more than 1,000 people often attended his Sunday services.