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Industrial Revolution: 1770s to 1830s

Learning and Beliefs


By Peter Hillis

Three Churches In America it is claimed that a Scot can be found at the top of most businesses and at the bottom of every religious dispute. The history of religion in this period supports this claim with splits in the Church of Scotland and divisions within these splits. These were supplemented by the growth of smaller dissenting churches such as the Independents and Baptists. By the late 18th century Glasgow hosted a wide range of dissenting churches with two Burgher and one Anti-burgher congregations alongside one each of Independents, Episcopalians, Glassites and Methodists. There were also two Anabaptists and two Relief Churches. The one Roman Catholic Church was counted among the dissenters although one commentator noted that it "is conducted with such discretion that it cannot give the slightest offence."

Inkle Factory Lane Dissatisfaction with the Church of Scotland allied to the economic wherewithal to finance dissent led to a rapid expansion in the number of churches and congregations. The Relief Church grew to eight congregations with Independents and Episcopalians each claiming two churches by 1830. The city also attracted a range of smaller dissenting churches including the Friends and the New Jerusalem Church, and "one off" meeting houses such as the Inkle Factory Lane Congregation.

Dr Wardlaw's Chapel The Roman Catholic Church grew swiftly and by the mid 1830s claimed an attendance at its services of 12,500. However, the rapid expansion of Protestant dissent from the Church of Scotland took place with the forming of the Free Church in 1843 and the United Presbyterian Church in 1847.

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