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