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Women and religious life in the 19th century: A Case Study on Catharine Tait

Explore the intersection between religion and women’s identities in this case study of Bishop Tait’s wife, Catharine Tait.

Religious principles are a frequent theme in didactic literature of the long nineteenth century. Religion was vitally important to women and was often used in arguments to improve their position in their family and society. Scholars have argued that religion offered women access to a ‘third sphere’ beyond the public and private… a space they could exercise increasing agency. By drawing upon their perceived role as ‘moral mothers’ – exemplary at nurture, care, and self-sacrifice – women often extended these roles beyond the domestic sphere.

Through religion, women were able to negotiate their role in family and society through what might be called ‘active’ and ‘passive’ spirituality – both of which relate to shifting perception of Christ, the atonement and the incarnation. In this talk, Angela Platt will look at Catharine Tait (1819-1878), the wife of Archbishop A.C. Tait, noting her lived experience of religion within this space, as noted in diaries, letters and memoirs.

Event details:

  • This talk is part of the Life & culture at Fulham Palace lecture series.
  • Complimentary tea and coffee are provided.