George Fox of Mansfield

George Fox (Journal) put in Mansfield Woodhouse (Stocks). Anne Fricknall, of Mansfield Woodhouse, with Mary Leadbeater, of Skegby, were abused by the people and stocked at Mansfield Woodhouse, for some words they had spoken displeasing to a priest there, 1658.
The Old Meeting House
The New Meeting House
Quaker House, Skegby

A few years ago we published a booklet entitled The History of the Quakers in Mansfield. Since then I have carried out more research and this is the appendix to that booklet.

Appendix to The History of Quakers In Mansfield Booklet

Since printing the booklet about the early Quakers in Mansfield, more research has revealed more detail about the very beginnings of the Quaker movement.  By 1647 George Fox had arrived and settled, for a period of time, living in a cottage, mentioned and illustrated, in the booklet, in Chesterfield Road Mansfield.


He had a business, making and repairing boots and shoes.  During this period he was trying to make sense of his religious feelings,  and, the turmoil, of the people around him.


The civil war and the state of the religion, all created in him a different way that he thought about his future commitment to the world around him.  He became convinced that there was a better way, where simply to approach God direct from ones own heart and soul without the intervention of a “professor”, vicar or priest, and also the equality of all human beings . These and other ideas became formulated, in this period of his life, in Mansfield.


“There is that of God in everyman”, he thought, and this early group were called Children Of Light, the name Quakers adopted later.  There are references to these and other occurrences, of his growing convictions, in the Journal of George Fox.  A particular incident occurring in the neighbouring village of Mansfield Woodhouse, he was put in the stocks by village people after trying to stand and talk to them at a service in the church.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Various names began to appear, namely Timothy Garland, Robert Bingham, and of course, Elizabeth Hooton, all seeing in George Fox, a recognition, of his beliefs, and way of life.  It appears that at this time other people as well met at the house of Timothy Garland in Mansfield, and Elizabeth Hooton’s house at Skegby, a close by village to Mansfield.


Because of the different approach to religion, not favouring place or professional, meetings began in the privacy of their own homes, namely Elizabeth’s house at Skegby, and became a Friends Meeting house until it was sold in 1800 to help fund a new Meeting House in Mansfield replacing a smaller house on the same site.


As Quakers were separated from the church, burials were carried out at the Quaker House at Skegby (39 recorded) from 1673 onward, from Skegby, Mansfield Woodhouse and Mansfield.  It can be accepted that the Meeting House at Skegby was the first Meeting House, in use by the Quakers, still surviving, (no longer a  meeting house).


Elizabeth Hooton, from the very beginning, held meetings in her house, and it was at an early meeting that those present were sitting in silence, waiting for God to make contact, George  Fox came in, and it is believed that this was the beginning of the format of Meetings that continues to the present time.


Ralph  Holt



Comments about this page

  • I have found the families Cockram and Clay, in Quaker records, and have passed on the information to Mrs Paradine,and would welcome any enquiries, on quakers, in the area

    By Ralph Holt (22/07/2011)
  • I lived in Ruth Street (now gone) as a young boy in the 60’s. I used to know the Sturman’s who lived in the house in the grounds and used to play there with other children from Ruth Street. Joy Sturman was my friend and I used to go to Sunday School there. The family were lovely and the chapel and ground were an oasis for me and the kids on the street. Every easter they opened their gates to every kid to collect a free hot cross bun, we all waited at the gates at the bottom of Ruth street for them to open. Also they held a pet show every year where I took my tortoise and a neighbours dog ( who ran amok lol). The chapel was lovely and I remember mr Sturman playing the organ there during the week.

    By John Archer (05/12/2010)
  • I have a full burial list from the old burial ground at Mansfield the only surname from the ones shown are Eleanor Hall died 08-10-1832, Mathew Hall 25-10-1842, Samuel Hall 21-08-1852. I can look in more detail if required Ralph Holt

    By rholt (21/10/2010)
  • Hello, I have Quakers in my ancestors namely William Clay and his wife Mary Cockaram who were married in 1674 at George Cockaram’s house, Skegby by Mansfield and their family 4 generations down continued to be Quakers through their daughter Mary who married George Hall. Would Barry Heath know if their are listings of Quakers where I might see their names?

    By Pat Paradine Nee Crampton (14/10/2010)
  • Thanks Ralph. been to the meetinghouse a few times, found it a bit of a struggle (silence) but I really think they have something,it’s not them it’s me! The info was interesting and I’d like to know more. Perhaps i’m like George Fox, always searching. The truth is out their somewhere,wish HE would hurry up and let me find it. yours barry

    By barry heath (05/07/2010)
  • A display of this article is now at Mansfield Woodhouse library,by courtesy of the Librarian, and The Old Woodhouse Society.

    By ralph holt (03/07/2010)
  • The significant feature of this article is that George Fox actually formulated and started the worldwide Quaker movement while living here in Mansfield. References to his early thoughts on religion can be found in The Journal of George Fox still in print.

    By ralph holt (08/05/2010)

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