Society of Friends: Letters and Papers

Scope and Content

Correspondence, with some additional papers.

1. A copy of Edward Burrough's unpublished general epistle, Gatehouse Prison, Westminster, 1661, made around the eighteenth century.

2. Marriage certificates of John King of Stockingford, Warwickshire, and Sarah Willson, daughter of Jane Willson of Chipping Warden, Northants, 19 Jan. 1690.

3. Letter signed by Mary Usher and Elizabeth Potter, Brayles, 11 Dec. 1704, to the women's monthly meeting at Ettington.

4. Letter from John Banks, Street, Somersetshire, 13 Oct. 1709, to Friends at Coventry, Warwick, Birmingham and elsewhere.

5. Letter from Rebecca Proctor, London, 9 June 1722, to the king, endorsed 'a copy'.

6. Notice of intention of marriage between Allen England and Hannah Bradford, from the monthly meeting held at Rugely, 11 Aug. 1724, to the Friends of Baddesley (Warwickshire) monthly meeting.

7. From Richard Evans to John Beddow, 'the coppy of an antient manuscript concerning tythes', transcribed by 'HB', 1731.

8. From David Hall, Skipton, 16 Jan. 1749, 'An Epistle in much brotherly love to Friends in their respective meetings and families', apparently unpublished.

9. Letter from Esdras Stanley, Bromley, 17 Apr. 1752, to Friends of the monthly meeting at ?Weginsel, seeking a certificate from his previous monthly meeting, having entered service with Joseph Ollive of Bromley in the Ratcliffe monthly meeting.

10. Letter from Margaret Ellis, Bromley, 23 July 1755, to the monthly meeting of Friends in Birmingham.

11. Letter from the quarterly meeting held at Frenchay, 28 June 1761, signed by John Wilkins on behalf of the meeting, to Friends of the several particular meetings in Gloucestershire. Frenchay was a constituent meeting of the Frenchay monthly meeting, 1668-1869, and the Gloucestershire quarterly meeting to 1785.

12. Letter from George Jones, Stockport, 24 Feb. 1795, to the Warwickshire quarterly meeting.

13. Letter from J.S. Cotterell, Bewdley, to Joseph Gibbins of Birmingham, 29 Jan. 1797, with an enclosure addressed to Friends of the Birmingham monthly meeting (13a).

14. Letter from J.S. Cotterell, Bewdley, to Joseph Gibbins of Birmingham, 16 Feb. 1797.

15. Letter from George Dillwyn of Philadelphia and Burlington, New Jersey, written at Amersham, 16 June 1800, to William Allen of Plow Court, Lombard Street, London.

16. Letter from John Bateman and others, Chatteris, Aug. 1806, to the quarterly meeting for Warwickshire, Leicestershire, and Rutland.

17. Letter from Abigail Whitehead, 6 Feb. 1814, to a select meeting of ministers and elders, Middle monthly meeting held at Coventry, referring to 17a.

17a. Enclosed paper with 17: 'Considerations on the Character of Christ'.

18. Thomas Redman, 'A Short Testimony concerning my Dear and well beloved Friend Joseph Steevens', undated. Steevens is possibly Joseph Steevens (1728-1801) of Wycombe, Bucks.

19. 'Letter from a Friend concerning visiting young people who have long frequented our Meetings', [Birmingham], undated, c. 1800.

20. Broadsheet: A Testimony for the Lord and His Truth: given forth by the Women Friends at their Yearly-Meeting at York, York, 1668.

21. Broadsheet: An Epistle of Caution to Friends in General, relating to the Solemn Affirmation, From a Meeting held in London, 1722.

22. Broadsheet: Thomas Areskine, To all the People of the Kingdom of Scotland in General, and to the Inhabitants of Edinburgh in Particular, Edinburgh, 1736.

23. Broadside: Benjamina Padley, A Warning to the People called Quakers, London, 1738.

24. Broadside: John Bell, A Epistle to Friends in Maryland, Virginia, Barbadoes, and the Other Colonies, Bromley, near London, 1741.

25. Broadside: Tender Advice and Caution to Friends, respecting their putting up Lights, and the not opening their Shops, London, 1760.

26. Receipt by William Penn of 10 from Gilbert Mace for the purchase of land in Pennsylvania, 22 Dec. 1681.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Society of Friends (or 'Quakers') was formed by George Fox (1624-1691), a shoemaker from Nottingham. In the 1640s Fox travelled throughout England delivering sermons in which he argued that individuals could have direct access to God without the need for churches, priests or other aspects of the established Church. Fox's followers became known as the 'Friends of Truth' and later the 'Society of Friends'. Fox developed rules for the management of meetings, which were printed as 'Friends Fellowship' in 1668, and yearly meetings were instituted in 1669. Members refused to attend Anglian services, leading to Fox's arrest, and the persecution of the Society under Charles II. However, the movement continued to grow, spreading to other parts of the British Isles and to the American colonies. In 1681 the American Quaker Colony of Pennsylvania was established by William Penn. During the eighteenth century the Society argued for the abolition of slavery and formed the Peace Society to campaign for the end of war.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Mrs W.A. Lloyd, 1983.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives.

Other Finding Aids

Additional Manuscripts Catalogue.

Alternative Form Available

There is another copy of item 1 in the Library of the Society of Friends, Port.31.56.

Corporate Names