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.Quakerism had it early beginnings in the North of England. The early development of the sect is generally credited to the outgrowth of the personal insights of expressed by the teachings of, and writings of one or its early preachers, and leaders George Fox (1624-1691). Fox was not the only voice of the early movement. There are some other early influences on the sect, including the English Seekers, some early Baptist influence, and other early Quaker writings.

There are thought to be 32 Quakers buried in Coach Lane

SKELETONS from a 300-year-old Quaker graveyard are to be dug up to make way for new homes.

Work is expected to begin in April to remove the remains of 32 bodies from the former burial ground in Coach Lane, North Shields Earlier this month, Durham-based D&P Property Developments was granted permission to build eight town houses on the site, which it recently bought from the Society of Friends. But before a brick can be laid, they must remove the remains of the Quaker men, women and children buried there. The exact number of graves is unknown, but an 1882 plan of the burial ground shows that at least 32 people are interred below what is now a paved public area. An archaeological dig at the site in January found the bones and skulls of 18th and 19th Century Quakers two metres underground. Servants and housekeepers are among those listed in the 1882 plan, as well as plots simply marked “E Appleby’s children” and “an American friend”. An earlier assessment estimated that up to 200 bodies could have been on the site.

Approximate position of the Quaker graveyard is under the properties on the left in Coach Lane

Who were the Quakers?
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) emerged in England in the late 1640's among those who challenged the standard doctrine of the Church of England. Quakerism began as a sect whose members believed that there was a piece of God within every person and that everyone could communicate with God directly. This was a radical view for the time. Out of this belief, Quakers developed a strong sense of equality and believed that every person could be a minister. George Fox (1624 - 1691), a young, slender, Englishman of meagre upbringing, is often credited with being the one to found this new religious society. Starting in the late 1640's, Fox travelled around England, acquiring support for what he called "a great people to be gathered". More here.......>

A team of archaeologists from Tyne and Wear Museums will be drafted in to transport the skeletons “safely, privately and decently” to the nearby Preston Cemetery. In an archaeological evaluation of the site, Terry Frain, of Tyne and Wear Museums, said: “The burials remain largely undisturbed. “An excavation of the burial ground would afford a valuable opportunity to study the remains, thereby allowing a study of the culture of early Quakers in North Shields.” Screens will be set up around the area during the work, which is expected to take about two weeks to complete. Disinfectant will be sprinkled over the coffins and soil during the excavation. The bodies will then be placed in “fresh shells” before they are moved. The removal will clear the way for work to begin on the three-bedroom family homes, which are on the market for £125,000. Dan Miller, consultant with project architects Kensington and Partners, said there were no concerns that people might be reluctant to buy the houses. He said: “Once the relocation has taken place the ground will be just like any other piece of land. We do lots of work where we come across things we weren’t expecting.”
The Quakers set up their first North Shields meeting house in 1698 at the Bull Ring to the south of the Coach Lane site. The graveyard dates from 1711 and continued to be used by the Quaker community for about 130 years.

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