Warning about Sunday misbehaviour - from the Enoch Wood scrapbook

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Description:In the early 1800s, faith and church played a forceful role in governing the everyday life Stoke-on-Trent's people - although not everybody fell into line!


Parish officials known as church wardens attempted to monitor and regulate misbehaviour on Burslem's streets - in this case by issuing a printed warning against misbehaviour on a Sunday:

"...the open and wilful Profanation of the Sabbath which prevails in the Parish, by the Hawking of Goods, Opening of Shops, and by individuals following their Worldly Calling on the Lord's Day, also by the assemblage of groups of Disorderly Characters in the streets, and by the disgraceful practice of Gaming which is carried on in the more retired parts of the Town, to the great annoyance of the peaceable Inhabitants, and the manifest injury of public morals..."

The church wardens request the co-operation of "respectable Inhabitants":

  • in suppressing vice and drunkenness;

  • in promoting regular attendance by the "lower classes" at church;

  • in admonishishing parents and heads of families for allowing children and servants to loiter in the streets and fields on Sundays, where they obtain habits of indifference to their religious duties;

  • Slippery slope to the gallows

    They claim that is is "an incontroverted fact that all those who have finished their career of infamy at the Gallows ... have commenced their career of crime by neglecting to keep Holy the Sabbath-day."

    Who thought so?

    The notice is signed by ministers John Cooper and Thomas Nunns, and church wardens Robert Williamson, George Baker, Thomas Brindley and Edward Withinshaw.

    John Cooper joined the parish in 1831, and Thomas Nunns was ordained in Eccleshall in 1824, and was serving the parish of Burslem in 1831.

    About this document

    Pottery manufacturer Enoch Wood collected this document and it is now among the collections at Stoke-on-Trent Museums.


    Link to this resource

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