geographical origin of the quakers

*update below*

here’s a map — taken from here — of where quaker communities were located in england in the mid-1600s:

map1654

so, early quakers = northerners.

and — pardon my scrawl (don’t expect these borders to be precise — please look back at the original map yourselves) — here is the same map with the highland, lowland, and intermediate zones indicated:

map1654 + highlands lowlands intermediate zone

so, early quakers = highlanders + a few intermediate zone dwellers — all beyond the tees-exe line the severn-trent line [see comments – thnx martin!].

update 08/20: see also this comment.

previously: the myddle people and the radical reformation and random notes: 07/30/13 and the flatlanders vs. the mountain people

(note: comments do not require an email. quaker.)

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26 Comments

  1. The maps do help a lot.

    There were a few Quaker communities close to the Anglo-Scottish border, but not many that are real close. There is a good number of them clumped along the Northwestern coastal region. Most of the Quakers were fairly far away from where the battles were fought in the English Civil War, None of the battles happened in that Northwestern coastal region.

    http://www.historyonthenet.com/Civil_War/civil_war_battles.htm

    BTW I did notice mentioned that Wales has a tradition of pacifism. I don’t know much about Wales. I don’t know to what extent this pacifism might have roots that go back in earlier Welsh culture or how significant it has been in Welsh history.

    From the maps, it was only the most Northeastern corner of Wales that had any significant concentration of Quakers. I know there were Welsh settlements in the American Midlands, but I don’t know if they largely came from this Northeastern region or not. Unlike the Germans, the Welsh never had as large of numbers and they more easily assimilated into Anglo-American culture.

    I’ve been so busy with work lately that I haven’t been able to fully get into the Quaker material. I have made some headway, though.

    Reply

    1. @Luke Lea – The main leaders of the first generation of Quakers became pacifists. So, the Quaker religion was developing along with new ideas such as pacifism. Actually, from what I understand, pacifism preceded Quakers like many other beliefs Quakers adopted.

      In what way was George Fox and William Penn as Quakers the very opposite of pacifists?

      I don’t know that George Fox ever fought in any military or was ever involved in any violent act against another person. Fox began preaching in 1647 and only four years later we have records of his first known declaration of his belief in peace and criticism of war. In 1651 when this happened, he was in his mid 20s at the time and so, even as the founder of Quakerism, his own beliefs were still newly developing. William Penn when younger was involved in subduing an Irish revolt near his father’s landholdings, but this was before he converted to Quakerism.

      As for the earliest Quakers in general. they were hardly an organized group. They came from diverse backgrounds. I suppose about anyone could claim to be a Quaker. I’m sure it took a while for an established doctrine to become common. However, with Fox and Penn travelling on missionary work, it appears that pacifism took hold fairly quickly. Still, even before Fox declared his pacifism, there were already Quakers who were refusing to join the military and fight in the English Civil War. We don’t know a lot about what different early Quaker preachers were stating about Quakerism, but obviously the idea of pacifism was being acted upon within the first few years of the religions founding.

      I doubt it was a reversal and moreso the simple process of a new religion coming into its own. All Quakers at that time were the first generation converts. It probably took a while for Quakers to collectively decide what Quakerism was about. That it took four years for an official declaration of doctrine shouldn’t be too surprising.

      Reply

  2. Because this type of establishment niche population so deeply affected as country like England don’t have large ecological or natural barriers ?
    Could it be possible that ”multiples” extended clanishness appeared close to each other, such as ecological corridors?

    Reply

  3. @gottlieb – “Have you ever thought about the role of the black plague in mating patterns in Europe?”

    yes. no. sort-of. not really!

    the black death has been brought up on the blog here — in comments — and it’s on my “to do” list — but i haven’t devoted much thought to it (yet). you’d think it would’ve affected mating patterns enormously — in the same way that it affected everything else enormously — but i’m not sure how. here’s what i said once before:

    “on the one hand, you’d think that there’d have been fewer cousin/close marriages after the black death simply because families were decimated — fewer cousins available to marry. on the other hand, people seem to turn to family in desperate times — even to marry them more, i mean. after wwi and wwii, for instance, the cousin marriage rates went *up* in italy. so, who knows what happened during/immediately after the plague years.”

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  4. @gottlieb – “Could it be possible that ‘multiples’ extended clanishness appeared close to each other, such as ecological corridors?”

    yes! (^_^)

    Reply

  5. I hate to be a pedant but it looks to me that about 25 Quaker communities are southeast of the Tees-Exe line, including all 7 in the East Midlands and many in Yorkshire..

    (The Tees reaches the North Sea just south of where your red line does.The Exe reaches the channel just west of where your line does.)

    Reply

  6. @martin – “I hate to be a pedant but it looks to me that about 25 Quaker communities are southeast of the Tees-Exe line, including all 7 in the East Midlands and many in Yorkshire..”

    ah! you’re right! i was wrong. i was looking at the mouth of the trent, not the tees (so i had a trent-exe line going there! duh.) thanks!

    so some of the early quaker communities were south of the TEES-exe line. (^_^) (is it really 25?)

    Reply

  7. Hbd Chick @ ”yes. no. sort-of. not really!

    the black death has been brought up on the blog here — in comments — and it’s on my “to do” list — but i haven’t devoted much thought to it (yet). you’d think it would’ve affected mating patterns enormously — in the same way that it affected everything else enormously — but i’m not sure how. here’s what i said once before”

    I think the black plague may have killed some people more prone to infectious diseases and remember the relationship between IQ and the same.
    Anyway, definitely do not know. We study the before and the after. I know that England was one of the most affected areas and was not very populated and crowded at that time. According to the book I have, the country, counting Wales, was about 2.5 million people before the black plague.

    I once read a theory (not sure if only theoretically) that the plague had killed more people of a certain blood type compared to others.
    I found it interesting but I think it is still considered a pseudo-science of blood types compared with anything else. I saw this on the website of the author of the diet of blood types.
    And so I turn to the theory of personality types. Well, I think that the human being is not only determined by your blood type, there are several overlapping causes and effects, but it would be interesting to evaluate this a little more closely.
    We know that this theory is part of Eastern culture and do not think that should be summarily dismissed.

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  8. My understanding of Fox is that he came in and toned down some of the more extreme forms of Quaker behavior (appearing nearly naked in public, interrupting Anglican church services, etc) to make the sect more acceptable to the rest of society. Thus he was not a founding member, but second generation so to speak. Not sure when pacifism became a hallmark of the sect or who was responsible for this change. I’m hardly an expert however so all this information may be wrong.

    Reply

  9. BTW, I am also under the impression from my reading that Quakerism had a presence in East Anglia and Southeast England, and that there was a friendly interchange between Quakers and Mennonites in Holland and northeastern Germany. Not sure about the time line however.

    Reply

  10. @Luke Lea – George Fox was the founder of the Religious Society of Friends (i.e., Quakerism). It didn’t exist before him.

    However, the first generation of Quakers came from a variety of backgrounds: Seekers, Ranters, Levellers, etc. Some of these other dissenters used a variety of tactics. The tactics of both violence and pacifism preceded Quakerism. The Quakers were a mixed lot in the beginning and it took a few years for official doctrine to develop. There wasn’t much in the way of a church authority in those early years, just a bunch of traveling preachers and a loose affiliation of religious dissenters.

    The Quakers were part of a violent society and living during a particularly violent time. It is amazing that any of the Quakers were pacifists.

    The Quakers did support parts of the Roundhead agenda (religious disestablishment, religious tolerance, etc) and the Quaker leadership had opportunities to more closely ally with the Puritans when they were in power, but it seems that such an alliance never formed. If anything, George Fox tried to get Cromwell to become a Quaker. Then again, there wasn’t much of a Quaker religion at the time to ally with. There is some evidence that at least some of the Quakers did dissent against the Puritans during the Civil War as they dissented against the monarchy, but it is hard to say what percentage dissented.

    What interests me is where did this pacifism come from in the first place. I’m sure it began very small. I’ve read about it existing before the Quakers and I’ve read about a pacifist tradition in Wales, but it does seem strange that out of violence pacifism would emerge. This is even more interesting as these were people who had a very clannish history and were still semi-clannish.

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  11. @luke – “BTW, I am also under the impression from my reading that Quakerism had a presence in East Anglia and Southeast England, and that there was a friendly interchange between Quakers and Mennonites in Holland and northeastern Germany. Not sure about the time line however.”

    apparently there were some, but not in the sorts of numbers seen up north. from Rival Jerusalems: The Geography of Victorian Religion (<< doesn't THAT sound like a really good book!) [pg. 111]:

    “The Quakers were strongest in northern England, in almost all of Cumberland, the western parts of Westmorland, north Lancashire, the north-western parts of the North and West Ridings, and from Darlington and Stockton to eastern parts of the North Riding.

    “A number of other smaller areas show high values for Quakers. Most significant of these were several districts in Essex, where other old dissenting denominations were prevalent. There was a smaller group of districts in south Warwickshire and north-west Oxfordshire, and more on the Sussex-Surrey border. Other isolated examples can be found. They were more frequently in urban districts than rural ones, in towns like London, Leicester, Birmingham, Worcester, Norwich and Newcastle. The denomination was absent in 359 districts. It was almost completely unrepresented in Wales, largely missing in Northumberland, from the Lincolnshire coast south-westward to the Severn estuary, and from Kent to north Cornwall, including many of the most southerly regions of England.”

    and, of course, we almost have to look away from the really big urban centers like london, because people move to those places. we can’t know if the quakers in london were twelfth generation londoners or new arrivals.

    @luke – “…and that there was a friendly interchange between Quakers and Mennonites in Holland and northeastern Germany.”

    yes. that’s interesting, isn’t it?!

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  12. i had quaker relatives in the US New Hampshire area in the 1720s who refused to hide with the rest of the town behind its garrison while the indians were on the warpath — the quakers believed the lord would protect them — the indians invaded the quaker’s cabin, knocked the brains out of a few of the screaming kids, kidnapped the mom & her 2-week old baby & an older kid or 2, walking north thru the mountains, eventually into canada. the woman & her teen daughter were eventually purchased from the indians – the woman later wrote about it – she found the whole thing faith affirming despite the gruesome deaths & worse along the way. it’s a moving story, but if i could go back in time i would tell her it all happened b/c they were quaker — being quaker they knew they would be protected by th’lord in their cabin & in the fields & had no need of hiding in a garrison.
    i don’t know if they originally helped build the garrison – or if they refused to.

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  13. Wales not only had Quaker communities but they were important in the origins of Quakerism in North America. A large part of Penn’s land grant was called The Welsh Tract. There is a town there now called Radnor, after Radnorshire. There are other places nearby with Welsh names. Nantmel in Radnorshire in Wales has the oldest or nearly the oldest Quaker meeting house in the UK. There is no congregation left there but it is still maintained. I am an Anglican from Mid Wales but my family has Quaker ancestry back to 1649 (a converted Leveller who fought with the New Model Army in Jamaica before being stationed in Mid Wales to keep an eye on the 5th Monarchy Men) and my daughter is a practising Quaker. There is a distant relationship to the Lloyds of Lloyds Bank, Quaker smiths from Montgomeryshire who also found Lloyds the steel company that once dominated Birmingham. The Barclays of the bank of that ilk were Quakers from East Anglia, also not covered on the map. Perhaps it simply marks the congregations founded by Fox? Having said that, the Quakers of the Welsh Marches were not numerous and were found in Radnorshire and Montgomeryshire where emigration has been high since Henry Tudor conquered England. Before there were Quakers, there were Anabaptists. They provided the core congregations for later Baptists and Quakers – arguably these were the results of a split in Anabaptism. The Anabaptists were some of the earliest emigrants to North America including the Caribbean. My Great Great Grandfather was a genealogist and copied Parish records, some of which now only exist in his notes (with the National Museum of Wales). He particularly focussed on the Anabaptists. The area concerned, Builth (North Breconshire), Radnorshire and Montgomeryshire was a centre of religious innovation from the time of the Lollards through to the Wesleys; Charles married a local heiress near Builth Wells. And definitely a Celtic marriage pattern. When I was leaving school in the late 1960’s, those girls who did not follow through with an education (most), married at 17 or so – and hey, we were all related somehow, except for complete outsiders – say less than 3 generations of residence.

    Not HBD but already commented on, the idea that Wales is pacifist is an invention of the Boer War (Lloyd Geoge), the late 1930’s the Welsh Nationalist Party and socialist fellow travellers in the Labour Party in the First World War. In the late middle ages, mercenary Welsh longbowmen from Gwent, Breconshire and Herefordshire formed the core of armies across Europe, especially the English Army but also any others who would pay. The East India Company heavily recruited its trading and military (really security guards) staff on the Welsh borders. Like the Australians and Canadians, the Welsh disproportionately volunteered for the forces. My Grandfather joined at 15 years old but his friend and fellow coal loader, Aneurin Bevan, a pacifist, told the recruiting officer his real age. The Welsh speaking community of North Wales, in contrast to the South, has maintained the idea that Wales was pacifist or at least not interested in Imperialist wars.

    Reply

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