Records of Skipton Preparative Meeting of the Society of Friends

Scope and Content

Minutes of Preparative Meeting, 1756-1913, 1932-1963 (5 vols.) [SE 26-27; T 25; SE 45-46]; rough minutes, 1854-1859 (1 vol.) [SE 44]; Minutes of Women's Preparative Meeting, 1784-1845 (1 vol.) [T 24]; Lists of members, 1854-1961 (2 items) [SE 47, 56]; Title deeds for Skipton Meeting House, 1665-1894 (10 items) [T 2]; Papers re. Meeting House, 1963-1969 (1 bundle) [SE 49]; Title deeds for Bradley burial ground, 1752-1932 (14 items) [T 9]; List of books, record of loans and accounts of Skipton Friends Library, 1813-1818, 1840-1841 (3 items) [SE 28-29, 31]; Correspondence of Clerk, 1954-1969 (1 bundle) [SE 50]

Administrative / Biographical History

Skipton holds an important place in the history of Quakerism, both within Yorkshire and nationally. Following the settlement of a Meeting at neighbouring Scalehouse in the early 1650s, Friends were also convinced in Bradley, Carleton and Skipton. A series of general meetings for Friends in the north were held at Scalehouse from 1657 to 1659, whilst in 1660, a general meeting for the whole country was held in Skipton itself. Cases of sufferings for Skipton are recorded by Besse for as early as 1654, when Miles Halhead was attacked whilst preaching in the market place and William Simpson was beaten for going naked through the streets "as a sign". The Meeting was recorded under the name of Bradley in 1665, within Skipton Monthly Meeting, and again in 1669, within the newly formed Knaresborough Monthly Meeting. At this point, it covered Silsden, Skipton, Carleton, Lothersdale and Cononley, as well as Bradley, and its members included Thomas Sawley, Peter Scarborough, Robert Smith, James Dealtry, Edward Watkinson, Francis Dunn, Thomas Smith, Arthur Roberts, Jonas Booth and John Stott. Local First Publishers of Truth included the Taylor brothers, Christopher and Thomas, both schoolmasters from Carleton. The homes of John Hall and Abigail Stott in Skipton were licensed for Quaker worship in 1689; Abigail Stott's house had been used throughout the 1680s, with meetings frequently broken up. It is likely that the Meeting became known as Skipton during this decade, possibly after the death in 1684 of the early local Friend Edward Watkinson of Bradley. Two cottages off Newmarket in Skipton were acquired in 1693 by John Hall and John Cowper, the cottages demolished and a Meeting House erected in their stead, with an adjoining burial ground. The first local burial ground, at Bradley, was in use from around 1663. A Quaker boarding school for boys was set up in Skipton by David Hall in 1703 and this lasted until at least 1756, the date of David Hall's death. The Meeting was transferred to Brighouse Monthly Meeting in 1853, and Friends in Addingham, Lothersdale and Keighley joined the Meeting. By the later 19th century the Meeting was in decline and closed in 1897, with the remaining members joining the re-formed Keighley Meeting. An Allowed Meeting opened in Skipton in 1907, following renewed Quaker activity in the area (such as the Airedale Tramp in 1905, the first Easter Settlement of the Yorkshire 1905 Committee in 1906, and the formation of an Adult School in Skipton also in 1906). It became part of the re-formed Settle Monthly Meeting in 1924, and re-gained full Preparative Meeting status in 1932. The Meeting still exists.


The records are numbered and arranged according to the system used when they were in Carlton Hill Meeting House

Access Information

The conditions of deposit include a clause requiring written prior permission from a Friend Custodian for access to consult current legal documents and any material less than fifty years old

Acquisition Information

The collection of archives of the Society of Friends formerly held at the Friends Meeting House at Carlton Hill, Leeds


In English

Other Finding Aids

Contents listed in Handlist 99, Inventory of the records of Brighouse, Knaresborough, Leeds, and Settle Monthly Meetings of the Society of Friends formerly preserved at the Friends Meeting House, Carlton Hill, Leeds, 2nd edition, 1997. Document T 25 has been indexed in the Library's Quaker Archives database

Conditions Governing Use

As with access, the photocopying of current legal documents and any material less than fifty years old requires the permission of a Friend Custodian

Related Material

Related material in Leeds University Library: Records of Knaresborough, Brighouse and Settle Monthly Meetings. Related material in other repositories: Records of Skipton Friends Adult School, Craven Museum, Skipton


See R. Harland, The living stones of Skipton Quaker Meeting (author, 1993); M. H. Long & M. F. Pickles eds., The Society of Friends in Mid-Wharfedale and Craven 1650-1790 (Mid-Wharfedale Local History Research Group, 1998); Yorkshire Vernacular Buildings Study Group, Friends' Meeting House, Skipton (1999?).

Additional Information

The records are deposited and remain the property of the Society of Friends