1828 - 1865

Anti-Catholic agitation in Wolverhampton (part 8)

The Irish Church Mission

For part of the period under review there was an organized attempt by Church of England clergymen in Wolverhampton to try to counter the influence of Catholicism upon the natives of Ireland. They gave their support from the start to the work of the Irish Church Mission which was set up in 1849 with the aim of converting Ireland to Anglicanism. This society in its first year claimed to have persuaded 10,000 Irish Catholics to leave the Church of Rome, [WC 18th Feb1852] within four years its income rose from £4,694 to £37,182, which led Rev Dalton to boast that its success was "an example of the triumph of God’s blessed word over the darkness of centuries of superstition of a fallen Church..." [WC 21st Feb 1853] Just as its support locally and nationally had been at its peak during the time of high Irish immigration, its popularity fell away dramatically during the 1860s as the number of Irish entering this country declined. By 1867, the total annual income of the Irish Church Mission had fallen to £6,000. [WC 18th Dec 1867] Looking at the membership of the Mission, it would appear that, as in other Protestant denominations, it was the Evangelical ministers in the Church of England who were at the forefront of the attack on Catholicism.