Jedi Knights out in Force in Northamptonshire

More than 1,000 of Luke Skywalker's fellow Jedi Knights live in Northamptonshire
More than 1,000 of Luke Skywalker's fellow Jedi Knights live in Northamptonshire

Three in five people in the north of the county say they are religious, according to a release of data from the 2011 census.

There are also hundreds of people who identify themselves as Jedi Knights or as followers of heavy metal, the statistics show.

Just over 59 per cent of people in north Northamptonshire, or 188,000 people, said they were Christian.

Almost 4,000 people were Hindu, the vast majority of whom lived in Wellingborough.

The percentage of those identifying themselves with a belief classified as a religion stood at 64.1 per cent in Wellingborough, 62.7 per cent in East Northants, 62.5 per cent in Kettering and 60.6 per cent in Corby.

A total of more than 97,500 people – equivalent to 31 per cent of the population – said they had no religion.

Of the four areas in the north of the county, Corby was the least religious, with 33 per cent saying they did not follow a faith.

Among some of the less mainstream beliefs, 15 people described themselves as Satanists, 27 as adherents of heavy metal and seven as believers in witchcraft. Three people said they were Scientologists.

The Rev Dominic Barrington, parish priest at Ss Peter and Paul church in Kettering, said the diocese of Peterborough, of which the church is a part, was feeling positive about the future.

Attendance in the diocese of Peterborough saw an increase in attendance in 2011, the last year for which figures have been released.

Mr Barrington said: “What attracts people to church is when they see those that are manifestly vibrant and add life to the community.”

He said that took the form of initiatives like food banks and credit unions, and he added: “It’s plain to me we are feeling upbeat with how things are.”

Meanwhile Ollie Killingback, who used to conduct non-religious funerals across Northamptonshire, said he had noticed an increase in the number of people saying they were not religious.

He added: “It’s less obvious than I would like it to be, but it is happening.

“A few years ago a non-religious funeral would be a rarity, now they are common.”

Mr Killingback, who grew up as a church person and spent much of his life in religious circles, said he thought there were two factors behind the growth in those without a religion.

He said: “There are people who don’t care and no longer feel a social pressure to put themselves down as Church of England.

“They are happy to put themselves down as no religion.

“Then there is another group which is also becoming more obvious – people who feel strongly that something has to be done about religion.”

Mr Killingback also said he believed those who put themselves down as Jedi Knights were doing so to show either contempt or disregard for religion.

The top ten in our area

1 Christian: 187,965 (59.3 per cent)

2 No religion: 97,516 (30.8)

3 Hindu: 3,971 (1.3)

4 Muslim: 2, 569 (0.8)

5 Sikh: 1,374 (0.4)

6 Jedi: 1,075 (0.3)

7 Buddhist: 796 (0.3)

8 Pagan: 369 (0.1)

9 Spiritualist: 288 (0.1)

10 Jewish: 235 (0.1)