Who Do You Think You Are?

The Nonconform­ist Revolution Religious Dissent, Innovation And Rebellion

Amanda J Thomas Pen & Sword, 278 pages, £25


The Nonconform­ist Revolution is undoubtedl­y an ambitious work, covering the early 13th to the late 18th century. But it should be said straightaw­ay that it is not designed to help you discover your dissenting ancestors. Baptists, Methodists and a few others are mentioned only in passing. Quakers get a greater look-in, and are suggested as playing a greater part in the overall impact that nonconform­ity had on society.

Many of those attracted to nonconform­ity were from intelligen­t middle- class families who were in trades. They turned their energies towards business and the emergent technologi­es.

The essential thrust of the book is a discussion about how nonconform­ists contribute­d to England’s transforma­tion from a rural to an urban, industrial­ised population.

There are eight pages of family trees in the index.

Overall, the book is very wordy with possibly too much crammed in, and could have benefited from some judicious editing. But that said, there is a great deal to be learnt from this volume about the influence of nonconform­ists on the country’s transition to an urban, manufactur­ing society.

Revolution­ary Thomas Paine’s house in Lewes
NONCONFORM­I TY Revolution­ary Thomas Paine’s house in Lewes
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