The Tourist’s Church Guide 1874

We’ve a copy of Fr Blagdon-Gamlen’s Church Traveller’s Directory (1973) posted here on our church blog. It’s a popular post.

Last year we travelled further back in time from Fr Blagdon-Gamlen’s guide and came to 1931 and we offered the Church Guide for Tourists 1931.

Now we go further back still to a special and very rare work – The Tourist’s Church Guide, First edition 1874. 

It’s a fascinating work showing how the pattern of worship has changed in the Church of England and also how the Anglo Catholic movement in its outward form was still in its infancy in the 1870s.

The editor had a clear intention to guide tourists to churches where they would find a weekly celebration of Holy Communion. He sent our enquiries to churches. Many, but not all, replied. One must be careful in checking the guide, the absence of a church does not mean it didn’t have particular services etc. In some cases (like St Chrysostom’s) the church was yet to be built. It does seem, however, that the editor chose not to include churches where ‘celebrations’ were less than weekly.

Now we are sure everyone who is interested by such things will find something of interest for them in the guide. Here are a few things we’ve noticed:

  • Very few of the churches were using coloured vestments at this stage
  • Slightly more are using candles, but many of those do not use lit candles
  • Evensong may, understandably, be said earlier in the winter than the summer in some churches, however in some it was said more than once on a Sunday. At times Mattins was also said twice on a Sunday – as at Exeter Cathedral.
  • Nearly all churches have 11am Matins on a Sunday
  • Many have daily Mattins and Evensong, fewer a daily Mass
  • Most Cathedrals are listed, their times of worship are interesting. For example York Minster had only one early Sunday celebration each month, and Peterborough had only a celebration at 12Noon on a Sunday.

Do have a look at this special Guide and please feel free to offer observations / comments in the comments below this post.

To read the guide (England and Wales) click on the following link:  1874 Church Guide

About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at
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