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Society of Friends



The Society of Friends (or 'Quakers') was formed by George Fox (1624-1691), a shoemaker from Nottingham. In the 1640s Fox travelled throughout England delivering sermons in which he argued that individuals could have direct access to God without the need for churches, priests or other aspects of the established Church. Fox's followers became known as the 'Friends of Truth' and later the 'Society of Friends'. Fox developed rules for the management of meetings, which were printed as 'Friends Fellowship' in 1668, and yearly meetings were instituted in 1669. Members refused to attend Anglian services, leading to Fox's arrest, and the persecution of the Society under Charles II. However, the movement continued to grow, spreading to other parts of the British Isles and to the American colonies. In 1681 the American Quaker Colony of Pennsylvania was established by William Penn. During the eighteenth century the Society argued for the abolition of slavery and formed the Peace Society to campaign for the end of war.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:


Society of Friends: Letters and Papers

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8366
Dates: 1661-1814