Joyce Baker, nee Hargreave of Woodhouse Quaker Meeting.

My mother, Joyce Hargreave was from the Atkin family in Woodhouse and was a ‘birthright’ member of the Quaker Meeting; she had a few tales about George Fox’s visit to Ballifield where he preached outdoors to a crowd estimated at 2,000. Her parents and many of her relatives are buried there (headstones now removed to a corner of the plot). She also told the story of the LeTalls – Hugenot refugees – and their adventures on arriving penniless in the area; also of the bailiffs seizing goods from the Atkins’ shops on account of non-payment of Tithes. When she died in 2012 Joyce left a trove of photographs, many taken by her mother Annie Atkin but at least one from a much earlier period (mid Victorian?) which I am happy to pass on.

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  • After further research, the Woodhouse mentioned, was more likely the Woodhouse a suburb of Sheffield. A Quaker Meeting was established here in the very early beginnings of the Quakers,and borders the Ballifield Estate,a more likely Woodhouse in the article. Sheffield Archives hold records of this Meeting, and its history. Ralph Holt

    By Ralph Holt (24/04/2019)
  • There never was a Woodhouse Quaker Meeting, but early friends often met local Friends at each other’s houses. In fact Friends used Elizabeth Hooton’s house as a meeting house, from the beginning of the Quaker movement. Elizabeth Hooton was the first female convert to the Quaker Faith. A Woodhouse family not only used this house at Skegby, but several of them were buried there. Meetings, at this time, were also carried out at Timothy Garland’s house, where the Mansfield Meetings were established. Elizabeth Heath, an early Quaker, who had the Almshouses, on Nottingham Road built, was a cousin of the Stacey family, who were the owners of Ballifield Hall and Estate, Handsworth, Sheffield. George Fox often stayed here. From the Estate, the rural country spread up the hillside to Handsworth, an area called Cinderhill, where George Fox would have a vantage point for outdoor meetings.

    As a fire officer in Sheffield in the 1950’s, I remember carrying out routine fire inspections, as the beautiful hall had then become a children’s home. Soon after this the Hall was demolished. The huge housing estate now on this site is the Ballifiled Estate.

    By Ralph Holt (22/04/2019)

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