Quaker Man Dressed in Simplicity
300 years of Quakers in Tottenham

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Tottenham Quakers


Quakers preached a message of truth, equality, peace and simplicity.

Quakers believe that in the eyes of God everyone is equal. Honour was to be given to God alone. Therefore special distinctions and honours could not be recognised.

Quakers believe that you should always tell the truth and be honest in all your dealings. You should try to live life simply, without attachment to unnecessary luxuries or fashions.

Quakers believe that everyone is a potential channel for God's wisdom. Killing another human being was unjustified on any count. So Quakers oppose all war and outward aggression, including the death penalty. They would not take part in such actions.

At the time, these beliefs were reflected in many ways.

Plain speech
The practice of the time was to use the plural you to address a single person. The singular forms thee and thou were only used when speaking to servants or other inferiors. Quakers used thee and thou when speaking to all. They referred to all people by their names, without titles as titles like Sir, Mister, Madam, your Worship and your Honour also indicated inequality.

Simple dress
Simple dress and plainness in all things were important to help conquer personal pride and also to act as an economic witness to an unjust society.

No 'hat honour'
Common custom was to keep your hat on indoors and out. It was only removed in church during prayer (as a sign of respect to God) and raised to some men as a mark of respect to their position and power. Quakers refused 'hat honour' to men, keeping their hats on in the presence of magistrates, men of title and high officials of the Church and State.

No oaths
Quakers refused to swear oaths, saying it implied you would not always tell the truth. ("But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest you fall into condemnation" James Ch 5 v 12). Swearing on oath was required in courts of law and in order to join certain professions and trades.

Quaker Woman