Quaker Man Dressed in Simplicity
300 years of Quakers in Tottenham

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Tottenham Quakers


Quakers saw tithes as a yoke of oppression imposed by "hireling priests" that failed to follow God's word. Tithes were a major source of income for the Church (one tenth of all one produced). On refusing to pay, goods were seized. The value of goods seized was often much greater than the sum owed.

The farming brothers, Michael and John Phillips and William Forster, land-agent and surveyor, always had either livestock or crops or both taken.

Thomas Shillitoe, shoemaker, lost leather soles, and from 1801 plate, pewter and copper were taken. His son, also Thomas, was a chemist with a shop next door-but-one to the Meeting House. He always had cash taken from the till. Friends, who had previously lost goods in kind, first had money taken in 1817.

Women Friends who received demands were either widows or heiresses. Typical household articles taken were plate, silver and glass, copper and pewter, furniture, linen, a hearth rug, a coal scuttle, sugar loves, soap, candles.

Friends did not comply with the tithe demands, but also made no effort to prevent their goods or money being taken. Only when they considered that their position or dignity was being unduly abused did they protest. From 1793 until 1825, the value of items taken from members of Tottenham meeting amounted to 6,858. 10s. 4d.

Quaker Woman