Quaker Man Dressed in Simplicity
300 years of Quakers in Tottenham

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Tottenham Quakers

Death sentence for refusing to fight

Fred Murfin was born in Lincolnshire in 1888. He worked as a printer there until, at the start of the First World War, transport difficulties caused a lack of work. On moving to London, he came to Tottenham Meeting.

He did not become a member of the Society of Friends as there was talk of Quakers being given exemption from military service. He did not want special treatment. At the time, Young Friends got together and decided that if exemption were given, they would resign from membership of the Society.

Conscription became law on 2 March 1916. Conscientious objectors had to appear before a tribunal. Fred's case was heard at Tottenham Town Hall.

Alfred Taylor was born in Edmonton in 1895. He too refused, together with Stuart Beavis, to register for military service.

These three were in a group of thirty-four conscientious objectors who were sent to France (then regarded as the Field of Battle). They refused to obey orders and were court-martialled. The sentence was death by firing squad.

By sheer chance the then Minister of War in France, visiting the troops. On hearing of the sentence. He is reported to have said, "This must not happen". The sentences were commuted to ten years imprisonment.


Quaker Woman