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THE QUAKERS IN TODMORDEN

with names of members and details of where

records are held.

 

(with the help of Alan Longbottom)

 

BACK TO INDEX

 

Before the Toleration Act in 1689, being a member of any non-conformist religious group was a dangerous thing. Quakers were no exception to this, and despite the problems, the Society of Friends began to flourish in the Todmorden area. The Society was well structured and run efficiently along the lines of an exclusive club. Friends met together once a month at a local meeting place. These were known as Preparative Meetings, and gave the Friends the opportunity to discuss local matters of importance to them. This could be a discussion on their poor folk and how best to provide relief, to hear and determine complaints arising amongst themselves, to enquire into the morality, conformity and religious sentiments of their members, to agree to marriages, to discuss education of their young and to agree about their principles and practices.

Similar monthly meetings were also held on an area level, where an area may cover six to eight local areas, and to which each local area would send representatives. These were known as Monthly Meetings. Quarterly Meetings were held normally on a county basis - York for Yorkshire and Liverpool for Lancashire for example, and then an Annual Assembly in London with four to eight representatives from each quarterly meeting.

The Todmorden area included amongst its inhabitants a great number of Quakers, and in the mid 1600's a Preparative Meeting was set up at Mankinholes under the name of Brighouse and Mankinholes, with Monthly Meetings at Pontefract in Yorkshire. In 1669, Mankinholes became independent of Brighouse at local level, and the Monthly Meetings moved to Brighouse. Preparative Meetings were held at the Sutcliffe family farm at Mankinholes. Members included Thomas and Richard Sutcliffe, John Whaley, Richard Holden, John Fielden, Joshua Smith and Henry Dyson.

   

There were also meeting places at Todmorden Edge in Todmorden, Shore in Stansfield and at Bottomley in Walsden, where members included Henry Kailey (Todmorden Edge) Lydia and Richard Stansfield (Shore) and the Fielden family from Bottomley.

Todmorden Edge

   

The Established Church of England had great powers to hunt out and punish those whose thoughts, deeds or religious loyalties were elsewhere. In Todmorden, the curate throughout the period from when the Friends began to meet until shortly before the Toleration Act was Henry Crabtree. He despised the Quakers and made it a priority to rid his catchment area of all dissenters. The Friends were persecuted, had their homes raided, were fined, and imprisoned.

Lydia Crossley, the wife of Richard Stansfield of Shore, was imprisoned at York Castle for refusing to pay a fine towards the stipend of the minister at Cross Stone Church. Although well able to afford the fine, she acted according to her conscience and refused. She died whilst in the prison.

   

Kailey's Barn

Henry Crabtree sent his henchmen to Henry Kailey's farm at Todmorden Edge and to Joshua Fielden's farm at Bottomley. On each occasion, the names of the Friends attending meetings at these places were taken and they were summonsed to appear before the Magistrates.
   
They were all fined, and those refusing to pay were issued with distraint orders. The bailiffs were sent in to take goods and furniture to the value of the fines. Joshua Fielden of Bottomley had bedding and a brass mortar seized in 1684 in lieu of a 5 shilling fine, and a year later pewter and a bible valued at 17 shillings.
Bottomley
   

The Toleration Act was passed in 1689, allowing freedom of Worship for any Protestant Christian, providing the place of worship had a certificate and the members signed an oath of loyalty. The Society of Friends refused to take an oath, and instead members were allowed to make a Declaration of Fidelity. In January 1695, the members at Mankinholes applied for permission to use a house at Shoebroad for public worship. Daniel Sutcliffe of Strait Hey in Langfield, Thomas Sutcliffe, James Bancroft, John Greenwood, John Fielden and Joshua Fielden signed the application.

   
The Todmorden Friends purchased a piece of land at Shoebroad to use as a burial ground. Burial records at this ground commence in 1690. There is a further Quaker burial ground at Todmorden Edge. Both grounds are maintained to this day. The photo shows the entrance to the ground at Shoebroad.
   

Permission was granted for a place of worship, and in 1696, the first purpose-built Meeting House was built at Tenter Croft in Shoebroad, Langfield. It was enlarged in 1785 and was in use until about 1811. The name was changed to Todmorden in 1792 and in 1807 the Monthly Meetings moved to Marsden. (Nelson in Lancashire). The Friends purchased land at Bank Top near Honeyhole in 1808 as a site for a new Meeting House, which opened in 1811. The Meeting House continued in use until 1964 at which time it closed and the Meeting House sold. The Meeting did re-open for a further five years between 1983 and 1985 with Monthly Meetings returning to Brighouse.

The Quakers regard both sexes as equal, and women are to be found in every branch of the organisation, including preachers and representatives at meetings. They do not practice water baptism as a condition of membership, but rather they accept new members by "Convincement of the Spiritual Truths", witnessed by existing members, or by birth if both parents are Friends.

Members of the Society wishing to marry would announce their intentions at Meetings on three occasions and a thorough investigation would take place into their conduct by other members of the Society before permission was given. Members could be 'disowned' or served with a 'Certificate of Denial' in which the local Meeting was given liberty to spread the information of such denial of membership as it saw fit. Members could be 'disowned' for marrying outside the Society and for financial indiscretion and bad moral conduct.

One such disowning was of Joshua Fielden, eldest surviving son of Joshua Fielden and Mary Sutcliffe of Bottomley. Joshua junior met and fell in love with Elizabeth Crossley of Walsden. She refused to conform to the Quaker faith and the pair were married by licence at St. Chad's Parish Church on 22nd August 1723. Recorded in the Quaker Meeting minutes is: "Joshua Fielden, son of Joshua Fielden of Bottomley deceased, is married by a priest to a Woman of another Society". (Quaker Minute of 20 Sep 1723). On 29th November that year, the Friends disowned him. Joshua had a riding accident, suffered a gangrenous leg, and died in 1731 at the age of 29. His widow had their three sons baptised at St. Mary's church exactly three months later, thus sealing her fate and that of her children as there is no mention of them in the will of their rich and childless uncle John Fielden of Todmorden Hall, although the two sons who survived did very well in life, and the widow may have had help unofficially from the family. Nevertheless, publicly, they were “out”.

The following lists are names of Todmorden Quakers extracted from the Minutes of Brighouse Monthly Meeting for the period 1688-1737 and from Todmorden Preparative Meeting 1737-1867. The names shown are those of the representatives from Todmorden at the Monthly Meetings.

The information was extracted and submitted by Alan Longbottom to whom we give our sincere thanks.

Minute Books are held as part of the Carlton Hill Collection of Quaker Items in Leeds University Special Collections MS 1979/1

*

MEN

 

Ralph Alderson 1791-1794
Joshua Baildon 1837-1838
James Bancroft 1697
Abraham Barker 1718-1721
John Barker 1718-1729
Samuel Barker 1735
William Barker 1727-1737
William Barker 1738-1739
Samuel Barnes 1724-1737
Samuel Barnes 1738-1766
William Barnes 1767-1775
Abraham Barritt 1701-1715
Albert B. Bayes 1865-1867
Uriah Brook 1858-1867
William Brooke 1826-1850
John Bullock 1819 only
Anthony Crossley 1694-1706
Anthony Dickson 1701-1737
Anthony Dixon 1737 only
Abraham Fielden 1701-1737
Abraham Fielden 1739-1777
Ambrose Fielden 1742-1746
Ambrose Fielden 1774 only
John Fielden 1690-1737
John Fielden 1737-1778
Joshua Barnes Fielden 1801-1844
Joshua Fielden 1690-1737
Joshua Fielden 1738-1780
Nicholas Fielden 1697-1728
Dennis Haworth 1732-1736
George Haworth 1737
George Haworth 1744-1769
William Haworth 1834-1861
George Houghton 1754-1761
Adam Houlden 1703-1706
Daniel Houlden 1700
Richard Houlden 1701-1726
Samuel Howard 1738 only
Henry Kailey 1697-1713
Benjamin King 1795-1820
Edward King 1827 only
John King 1787-1826
William King 1763-1784
Samuel Law 1718-1737
Samuel Law 1738-1750
Samuel Lawson 1739
Thomas Lawson 1708-1737
Thomas Lawson 1737-1741
William Pickering 1783 only
James Roberts 1716-1729
Richard Robinson 1855-1856
William Shires 1699-1724
Caleb Stansfield 1810-1812
Richard Stansfield 1804-1819
Robert Stansfield 1812 only
William Storrs 1713-1718
Daniel Sutcliffe 1690
John Sutcliffe 1700-1737
Nicholas Fielden 1784
Samuel Fielden 1702-1737
Samuel Fielden 1738-1826
Samuel Fielden of Allescholes 1748
Samuel Fielden of Bottomley 1741-1742
Samuel Fielden jnr 1792-1793
Thomas Fielden 1712-1737
Thomas Fielden 1738-1759
Thomas Firth 1785-1794
John Gandy 1784-1789
Samuel Gandy 1779-1798
Ambrose Greenwood 1738-1792
Daniel Greenwood 1694-1700
Henry Greenwood 1834-1853
John Greenwood 1689-1736
John Greenwood 1738-1806
Samuel Greenwood 1789-1822
William Greenwood 1700-1736
William Greenwood 1739-1853
William Greenwood jnr 1730-1737
William Hall 1712-1721
George Hanson 1841 only
John Hanson 1783-1833
Richard Hanson 1700
Samuel Hanson 1801-1867
William Hanson 1801-1834
John Hardaker 1789 only
John Harker ? 1851
John Sutcliffe 1748-1779
John Sutcliffe of Birks 1747 only
John Sutcliffe of Eastwood 1743-1747
John Sutcliffe of Midgelden 1738-1742
John Sutcliffe of Rodwell End 1745-1748
John Sutcliffe of Swallowshaw 1737-1744
Richard Sutcliffe 1710-1737
Richard Sutcliffe 1753-1783
Richard Sutcliffe of Roddelend 1746
Richard Sutcliffe snr 1738-1745
Richard Sutcliffe of Midgelden 1742-1776
Richard Sutcliffe jnr of Midgelden 1738-1743
Richard Sutcliffe of Swallowshaw 1739-1777
Richard Sutcliffe of Todmorden 1777-1781
Richard Sutcliffe snr of Midgelden 1743-1744
Richard Sutcliffe jnr 1736
Robert Sutcliffe 1743-1813
William Sutcliffe 1700-170
William Sutcliffe 1753-1834
John Varley 1743 only
Joseph Walker 1826 only
Spence Walker 1824 only
Joseph Whaley 1700-1708
John Whawley ? 1689
John Whiteley 1827-1856
Abraham Wilson ? 1706
William Wright 1824-1829
   

 

WOMEN

 

Martha Barker 1713-1752
Mary Barker 1707-1763
Hannah Barnes 1754-1768
Judeth Barnes 1726-1728
Mary Barnes 1733-1760
Sarah Barnes 1745-1752
Martha Barrett 1723-1723
Sarah Barrett 1719-1719
Susan Barrett 1709-1734
Susanna Barrett 1713-1722
Susannah Barrett 1707-1723
Susanna Barrett 1707-1729
Ann Broadhead 1793-1796
Elizabeth Brook 1796-1796
Mary Brook 1757-1770
Betty Cooper 1765-1769
Sarah Cooper 1767-1773
Martha Davis 1733-1733
Mary Dearding 1718-1718
Sarah Dickinson 1773-1782
Martha Duckworth 1712-1712
Martha Ellison 1750-1750
Alice Fielden 1709-1732
Ann Fielden 1707-1730
Anne Fielden 1729-1729
Betty Fielden 1766-1791
Elizabeth Fielden 1709-1779
Hannah Grimshaw 1763-1763
Mary Grimshaw 1781-1795
Rachel Hainsworth 1743-1743
Tamar Halstead 1707-1707
Betty Hanson 1775-1785
Sarah Hanson 1781-1796
Alice Haworth 1756-1760
Judeth Haworth 1734-1735
Rachel Haworth 1744-1768
Susan Haworth 1753-1753
Susannah Haworth 1750-1755
Sarah Holden 1707-1708
Alice Holgate 1714-1714
Hannah Houghton 1793-1793
Mary Houghton 1758-1767
Alice Howgate 1714-1714
Deborah Jepson 1717-1724
Martha Kailey 1707-1710
Mary Kailey 1711-1711
Mary King 1762-1762
Rebecca King 1770-1795
Rebekah King 1764-1787
Ann Law 1742-1744
Anne Law 1734-1742
Mary Law 1738-1747
Susan Law 1709-1709
Susannah Law 1720-1726
Ellin Fielden 1738-1748
Grace Fielden 1708-1771
Hannah Fielden 1736-1796
Jane Fielden 1735-1754
Jenny Fielden 1773-1790
Judeth Fielden 1716-1726
Margaret Fielden 1713-1726
Martha Fielden 1729-1767
Mary Fielden 1707-1796
Sarah Fielden 1754-1795
Tamar Fielden 1707-1733
Betty Firth 1788-1788
Esther Friar 1754-1765
Ann Gandy 1771-1772
Mary Gandy 1779-1795
Sarah Gandy 1772-1772
Alice Greenwood 1736-1736
Ann Greenwood 1739-1739
Anne Greenwood 1729-1739
Elizabeth Greenwood 1708-1716
Hannah Greenwood 1764-1796
Judeth Greenwood 1710-1720
Martha Greenwood 1714-1744
Mary Greenwood 1707-1796
Sarah Greenwood 1790-1792
Susannah Greenwood 1707-1707
Elizabeth Moss 1752-1754
Mary Pilling 1708-1708
Rachel Preston 1764-1764
Susannah Roberts 1720-1730
Mary Shaw 1778-1781
Sarah Shiers 1707-1724
Mary Storrs 1708-1714
Ann Sutcliffe 1743-1753
Betty Sutcliffe 1767-1790
Diane Sutcliffe 1707-1707
Elizabeth Sutcliffe 1707-1789
Grace Sutcliffe 1733-1733
Hannah Sutcliffe 1767-1767
Martha Sutcliffe 1742-1751
Mary Sutcliffe 1738-1794
Rachel Sutcliffe 1791-1792
Sara Sutcliffe 1717-1717
Sarah Sutcliffe 1708-1787
Susan Sutcliffe 1759-1759
Susannah Sutcliffe 1761-1787
Susy Sutcliffe 1762-1783
Alice Thackrow 1756-1756
Esther Tittley 1743-1758
Ann Whaley 1771-1773
Hannah Whaley 1707-1708
Elizabeth Wilkinson 1743-1758

 

Locations of Records for Todmorden Quakers

 

Leeds University Library Brotherton Special Collections

Manuscripts: MS Dep. 1979/1 (Carlton Hill Collection)
Records of Todmorden Preparative Meeting of the Society of  Friends.
1700-1994.     12 items.

The records are numbered and arranged according to the system used when they were in Carlton Hill Meeting House. The conditions of deposit include a clause requiring written prior permission from a Friend Custodian for access to consult current legal documents and any material less than fifty years old. Contents listed in Handlist 99, "Inventory of the records of Brighouse, Knaresborough, Leeds, and Settle Monthly Meetings of the Society of Friends formerly preserved at the Friends Meeting House , Carlton Hill, Leeds", 2nd edition, 1997. As with access, the photocopying of current legal documents and any material less than fifty years old requires the permission of a Friend Custodian.

The records are deposited and remain the property of the Society of Friends.


Minutes of Preparative Meeting, 1737-1867 (2 vols.) [MM 4-5];

Rough minutes, 1816-1837, 1855-1870 (3 vols.) [MM 6-8];

Minutes of Women's Preparative Meeting, 1707-1796 (2 vols.) [MM 2-3];
Index to registers, 1660-1828, compiled by Caleb Howarth, 1828 [P 38];

List of burials at Shewbroad burial ground, 1690- 1807, compiled 1994, with related papers, 1915 (1 bundle) A 6/2];

Title deed re. Shewbroad burial ground, 1700 [AA 6/2];
Will of Anthony Crossley of Carr House, 1707 [AA 6/1];

Papers 1784 onwards (1 bundle) (MM 10)