I know the historical sociology of religion only as an outsider; as an historian of medicine helped by that literature to a better understanding of early industrial society and perhaps to a clearer vision of what the social history of medicine ought to be. To read a recent review of the social history of religion, such as A. D. Gilbert’s Religion and Society in Industrial England, Church, Chapel and Social Change, 1740-1914, is to recognise how underdeveloped by comparison is the social history of medicine. Historians of medicine have the equivalent of church histories, of histories of theology and, of course, biographies of divines, but we lack the quantitative and comprehensive surveys of the chronological and geographical patterns in lay attendance and membership, and in professional recruitment and modes of work. For as long as medicine was generally only a transaction between an individual and his medical attendant, few statistics were produced and there is little national data. Yet there are very few local studies of how diseases were handled and how the various kinds of practitioner interacted with each other and with their various publics, so it will be some time before we shall be able to generalise on such matters.