Jean Court: Habits and Beliefs

Within Jean’s memoir, she often speaks of church. Her mother ‘always attended St. Mary Redcliffe and would slip out of the house very early on Sunday mornings to attend Holy Communion.’ (p. 5) Jean and her sister appear to have been less eager to go to church: ‘we were dragged off on Sunday evenings to the service.’ (p. 5)  As Jean recalls, ‘The services bored me to tears’ (p. 5). Years later, Jean notes, she was still reluctant to go to church.

St. Mary Redcliffe 1920s

During Jean’s childhood, attendance at church, services and Sunday school increased. ‘From 1906 to 1926 the wealth of churches increased more rapidly than did the national income. Sunday school attendance also increased between 1906-1926.’ (Flapper, 2009)  ‘War and the economic depression caused many to turn to God and others to turn away from him. Major efforts were made to spread Christianity in the heathen nations.’ (BBC, 2012). Despite many people turning away from God, it seemed others had faith in him. This would explain Jean’s mother’s interest and attachment to the church.

‘At least mother never dragged us off to church on Christmas day. That was a marvellous day,’ (p. 5) Here we get an insight into just how much Jean despised the church as she claims how marvellous the guaranteed day was. The fact their mother did not drag them to church on Christmas day shows her love for her children. Their mother probably would have attended if it hadn’t been for her daughters, but she was obviously aware of their sheer dislike for the service, particularly Jean’s. Jean’s makes no mention of her grandpa’s beliefs or his attending church.  This could be due to his age and his dislike of leaving his bedroom, or it may be because of beliefs that are unknown to the reader and maybe to Jean.

Although Jean evidently dislikes the church services, she expresses how she enjoyed her time at Sunday school: ‘We attended Sunday school every week regularly in the afternoon. I quite liked it there,’ (p. 8)Perhaps Jean saw Sunday school as a place to play and relax, especially in comparison to her mainstream school, not as a service or school to learn of religion or Christianity. ‘The teachers were gentle and we were allowed to draw and given pretty book marks,’ (p. 8).

But sometimes the Court family skipped the Sunday service to spend time together as a family. Jean seems to have taken her approach and feelings toward the church and the Lord into her later life. I do not believe that there are any consistent or specific beliefs taught or applied within the Court household.


188 COURT, Jean, ‘Living in the Lane’, TS, pp.11 (c. 10,000 words). Brunel University Library.

Flapper. ‘The Church,’ The 1920’s Era. (2009). [ONLINE]

St. Mary Redcliffe 1920s. [IMAGE] URL:

Unknown. ‘Religion vs Evolution,’ Learn About Life in the 1920s. [ONLINE]

Savage, Mike. Social Class in the 21st Century (Pelican)  

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