I've just stumbled across a short story by, of all people, the Rev. John Cumming, an ardent Scottish clergyman--his portrait should be next to the dictionary definition of "tub-thumping"--known for "anti-Catholicism and apocalyptic prophecy." (And for getting his ears soundly boxed by George Eliot.) The novel-writing clergyman is, if you think about it, a rather interesting nineteenth-century phenomenon, given the period's well-known debates about the dangers of fiction (which anticipate today's well-known debates about the dangers of television, movies, the Internet, and video games). Moreover, nineteenth-century religious fiction had a sometimes dubious reputation, and not just with skeptics and agnostics like Eliot or W. M. Thackeray; its target audience could be anxious about mixing fiction with doctrine, or, like Caroline Fry, contemptuous of the entire endeavor. It would be interesting to know how the clergyman-novelist shaped Victorian attitudes to the reading and writing of fiction as a moral (or, at least, not immoral) activity; certainly, authors like John Henry Newman were well aware that fiction could be harnessed for any serious evangelizing project. That being said, nearly all of the most influential religious novels of the nineteenth century were not written by clergymen, but by laymen--in fact, by lay women.
Out of curiosity, I decided to hunt down a sampling of novel-writing clergymen whose work was available on the Internet. I've confined the list to writers from the UK and Ireland. Obviously, this is just the tip of the iceberg; in addition, there are more clergymen-novelists whose work hasn't been digitized yet (e.g., Edward Lewes Cutts or Arthur Brown). Nor are the authors below represented exhaustively (e.g., Crake, who wrote many more novels than have yet appeared online).
- Aveling, Thomas William Baxter (d. 1884). Congregationalist. The Irish Scholar (later reprinted as a single volume).
- Crake, Augustus David (1836-90). High Church Anglican. Edwy the Fair; Alfgar the Dane; The Rival Heirs; The House of Walderne.
- Cobbold, Richard (1797-1877). Anglican. The History of Margaret Catchpole; Freston Tower.
- Croly, George (1780-1860). Church of Ireland/Anglican. Salathiel (also known as Tarry Thou Till I Come); Marston.
- Cunningham, J. W. (1780-1861). Evangelical Anglican. The Velvet Cushion. (See also John Styles' response.)
- Drew, Rev. Francis (1858-?). Roman Catholic. Credo; Veni Creator; Ave Maria; Ora Pro Nobis; Oremus.
- Farrar, Frederick William (1831-1903). Anglican. Eric; Or, Little by Little; Gathering Clouds.
- Gresley, William (1801-1876). High Church Anglican. The Siege of Lichfield; The Forest of Arden; Bernard Leslie; Holyday Tales.
- Kingsley, Charles (1819-1875). Anglican ("Broad Church"). Hypatia; Westward Ho!; The Water-Babies; Alton Locke; Hereward the Wake; Yeast; Two Years Ago.
- Millington, T[homas] S[treet] (?). Anglican (Evangelical?). Under a Cloud; Moral Tales...for the Young.
- Neale, John Mason (1818-1866). High Church Anglican (Anglo-Catholic). Herbert Tresham; Duchenier; Theodora Phranza; The Lily of Tiflis; The Quay of the Dioscuri; The Bride of Ramcuttah; The Sea-Tigers; Lucia's Marriage; Agnes de Tracy; The Followers of the Lord; Stories from Heathen Mythology and Greek History; The Farm of Aptonga.
- Newman, John Henry (1801-1890). Roman Catholic (previously Evangelical and High Church Anglican). Callista; Loss and Gain.
- Paget, Francis Edward (1806-1882). High Church Anglican. Tales of the Village; Tales of the Village Children; Luke Sharp; The Curate of Cumberworth and the Vicar of Roost; St. Antholin's; The Warden of Berkingholt.
- Pollok, Robert (1798-1827). Presbyterian. Tales of the Covenanters; Helen of the Glen; The Persecuted Family.
- Reed, Andrew (?). Probably Congregationalist (father is this Andrew Reed). Alice Bridge of Norwich.
- Sewell, William (1804-1874). High Church Anglican. Ursula. (For some unfathomable reason, only the second volume of Hawkstone has been digitized at both the Internet Archive and GoogleBooks.)
- Tandy, William (?). Roman Catholic. Terry O'Flinn's Examination of Conscience.
- Wiseman, Nicholas (1802-1865). Roman Catholic. Fabiola.