Quakers of Thornbury

Quakers 2015-12-01T09:39:28+00:00

Quakers have had played an important role in Thornbury from the late 17th century through to the present day.

From 1674 to 1847 they had their own meeting hall in St John Street where the Quakers celebrated the births of their children and their marriages and where from 1720 onwards many of their dead were buried.

We are grateful to Roger Howell, a Quaker and local historian who has allowed us to re-produced an article he wrote on the history of Quakers in Thornbury in 2004.  At the time the Quakers were celebrating their 350 years of their involvement in the City of Bristol and its surrounding area.  Please click here to read the article as it was published in 2004.

We are particularly grateful to Tina Kelly, a member of Thornbury Museum’s Research Group, for providing us with access to a large collection of Quaker’s registers of births, marriages and deaths.  We have transcribed as many records as we can relating to Quakers we believe had connections with Thornbury or the areas nearby.

Please note that Quakers typically did not use the names of the months or days of the week because most of these names were derived from pagan gods (e.g. Thursday came from “Thor’s Day”).  Instead, they recorded dates using numbers to describe the day of the week and month of the year.  To confuse things even more, up to and including 1751 they were still using the old Julian Calendar in which the year started on 25th March.

The existence of two calendars led to the use ‘double-dating’ in respect of recording dates in January, February and March.  Thus as you will see below the dates of ’31st day 11th month 1705/6′ would be 31st January in 1703 under the old style Julian calendar, but 31st January 1704 under the new style Gregorian calendar.

From 1752 onwards the dates were still recorded using numbers of the days and months in a particular year but the numbers were based on the modern calendar so the dates are the same as we use today.

The listing provided include the date as shown in the register and the equivalent date which we believe as expressed under the modern Gregorian calendar.  Please note there is scope for error in converting the years and we may have made some wrong assumptions resulting in us being ‘one year out’ in the way we have shown the year.

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