The most godly place in Britain (it's the diocese of Bath and Wells)

But in Manchester, only 2 per cent will be going to church
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The Independent Online

The most "godless" place in Britain is Manchester, where even the appeal of carols and baby Jesus in his crib at Christmas does not bring in large numbers of worshippers.

Research published today reveals a huge north/south religious divide, with Bath and Wells the most devout diocese in the country. Congregations here are expected to swell by more than 200 per cent over the festive season.

There will also be a seasonal rush to fill the pews in places such as Salisbury, where up to 10 per cent of the local population will attend a service at an Anglican church. This is nearly four times as many as in Birmingham, and five times as many as in Manchester.

The findings are based on data about increases in Church of England attendances.

"If your idea of Christmas mostly concerns shopping and parties, Manchester is the place to be," said Dr David Voas, of the Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research at the University of Manchester, who carried out the study.

Steve Jenkins, a spokesman for the Church of England, said:"I haven't noticed any divide between areas of England."

Festive Appeal

Anglican dioceses with the highest increase in church attendance over the Christmas period:

Bath & Wells: 199%

Guildford: 189%

Portsmouth: 182%

Exeter: 182%

Newcastle: 181%

... and those with the lowest increase:

Sheffield: 68%

London: 51%

Blackburn: 34%

Liverpool: 23%

Manchester: 22%

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