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Making HistoryEdward Augustus Freeman and Victorian Cultural Politics$
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G.A. Bremner and Jonathan Conlin

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265871

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265871.001.0001

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An Erastian Descent: History and Establishment in the Thought of Arthur Penrhyn Stanley and E. A. Freeman

An Erastian Descent: History and Establishment in the Thought of Arthur Penrhyn Stanley and E. A. Freeman

Chapter:
(p.65) 4 An Erastian Descent: History and Establishment in the Thought of Arthur Penrhyn Stanley and E. A. Freeman
Source:
Making History
Author(s):

Michael Ledger-Lomas

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197265871.003.0004

E. A. Freeman’s distaste for Erastianism, his contempt for Whigs, and his equivocal interventions in debates on disestablishment and disendowment are well-attested. Yet the career of Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (1815–81) reveals that Whig liberalism remained a historiographical force in Freeman’s time. Although Stanley was dismissed by Freeman as a slapdash historian, as dean of Westminster Abbey (1864–81) Stanley developed a vision of historical scholarship that could support an Erastian defence of established churches. Stanley curated the Abbey to show how the established church had been interwoven with the national past. There and elsewhere in Britain, he sought to pacify Nonconformist advocates of disestablishment by remembering their heroes as national not sectarian figures. This essay surveys Stanley’s energetic involvement in controversies over disestablishment and contrasts it with Freeman’s scholarly detachment, concluding that despite the differences between them, neither historian made much impact on Nonconformist minds.

Keywords:   historiography, ecclesiastical history, Nonconformity, history of scholarship, Anglicanism, Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, Westminster Abbey

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