Quaker Man Dressed in Simplicity
300 years of Quakers in Tottenham

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Tottenham Quakers

Persecution

The early period of Quakerism (1652 to 1688) is marked by else by the unrelenting persecution suffered by its members. For many years, hundreds and at times thousands of Friends were in prison. They were often detained for life or "at the King's pleasure". This was often done without any charge other than for being present at a Quaker meeting. Many were repeatedly imprisoned. Some died in prison.

Quakers' claim that there was "that of God in every one" was easily misunderstood or distorted and condemned as blasphemy. Acts of Parliament which forbade secret religious meetings were used against them, even though their meetings were never secret.

Refusal to use titles or to obey hat honour; the use of terms of address for all that the wealthy reserved for their servants; refusal to swear oaths; refusal to pay tithes; non-attendance at the parish church all infuriated the establishment and gave ample excuse for imprisonment and heavy fines. When fines remained unpaid, they would be taken "in kind". Sheep farmers would have their sheep removed; craftsmen would have their tools removed; etc. The value of the goods and money confiscated amounted to tens of thousands of pounds.


Quaker Woman