Vice And Virtue
Atheism was NOT a socially acceptable position but at the same time below the middle classes it was “don’t ask and don’t tell”. Emancipation and equality was not on the cards. Tolerance was not normal. The Duke of Norfolk (and family) were notorious Catholic dissenters.
So – the official religion is the Church of England. You will interact with this organization I hope, in liturgy Protestant but in structure close to the Roman Catholic.
Top person – the monarch, anointed by The Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the church Archbishop of Canterbury – Primate top man in running the business Archbishop of York – second in the ranking
In outlook there are three viewpoints – High Church (Anglo-Catholic) brocade, censors, vestments they own most of the good livings and are smug; Low Church – evangelical (to become “muscular Christianity”) want more churches and faith – poor livings if any; the Broad Church – rub along and take the money. Probably a fair few believers here but a lot of livings were held by absentees who appoint (at a lower income) vicars. Old corruption is part of the process. Charles Darwin had “livings” given to him which he made money from even though he had only taken “minor orders”.
Archbishop – Bishop – Priest – Deacon. A vicar is a paid stand-in for the actual holder of the “living”. A parish is a “living” – usually comprising a house and dedicated income from trusts, bequests and fees. You PAY to get married formally (the poor stopped bothering), baptised and buried. Burial mattered to most people – it was thought to be very important.
Please note that many parishes, dioceses (Bishops area) had money invested in safe places. In the event of the territory being lost to Islam or whatever the post and income continue.
Protestant splinter groups were forming and were not generally powerful in the state.