Furness Peninsula Press:
Quakers in Hawkshead and Langdale


ISBN 978-0-9553283-1-2 £7.99 + £1-00 p/p in the UK

by Rob McKeever


Westmorland Gazette ‘I have no hesitation in recommending this book’


The 17th Century….

There were in prison….13 from Hawkshead of which there was 9 fined of which number one lyeth sick and 2 are dead, being prisoners for tythes, several of them going on three years or more another is sick nigh unto death……Samuel Sandes of Hauxhead persecuted and imprisoned by Daniel Fleming of Rydale was a prisoner for lord Jesus Christ: and for ye testomony of ye truth of god he offered up his life:…..William Rawes of Thrang in Langdale, for taking upon to teach in the assembly and having before committed so soon another conventicle after the last, being judged unable to pay, you are to levy upon the good and chattels of ye John Walker ten pounds of ye said John Dixon another ten pounds of ye said John Rigg four pounds of ye said Reginald Holme ten pounds… Brought by Roger Kirby Justices of the Peace for the county of Lancashire for being present at a conventicle 14th day of…………… Richard Kirby esq in a case of tithes commands you upon sight to arrest George Benson of Stang End, Richard Walker of Yewtree, William Satterthwaite of Colthouse, all of them of ye parish of Hawkshead and safely convey them to ye common gaole of ye said county and deliver them to ye keeper who is commanded to keep as prisoners …………

The Burial Ground & Meeting House……

The deed concludes To Have and to hold ….for a burial place for the dead both men, women and children of Claife, Graythwaite, Hawkshead Conistone, Little Langdale, Great Langdale, Loughrigge, Skelwith, Brathey which at ant time shall die and depart this life in the possession of the faith of those people which are called by the name of Quakers.

The Langdale Meeting…..

Barnard Benson was arrested by a Steeple minister…. And taken a prisoner on ye 2nd or 3rd day and John Dixson on ye same day and by the same writ on 10th month year 1692 and remained a prisoner until death. Barnard died on ye 23rd of 4 month 1694 and John Dixson was buried 29th of first month 1694…………….Only Francis Benson of the Fold is presented for refusing to the rates for his estate in Grasmere and in 1723. The intransigence of Francis Benson in his refusal to pay tithes was entirely understandable; he was the son of Barnard Benson who died a prisoner for the same offence.

The Earliest Registers of Births, Deaths and Marriages…….

The cumulative entries are as follows: births totalled 220 between the years 1652-1702, marriages were 49 from 1661-1700 and 170 burials were conducted over the period 1664-1699. ………John Braithwaite’s elder daughter was bargained [promised to wed another] yet the first time ever she saw him Thomas Lancaster she went away with him and married him which was the ruin of herself and all her family so that there was not one of them left and then this Lancaster her husband was hanged and gibbeted between Hawkshead and Coulthouse he was hanged at his own door at Hyewray, .this was the fruits of unfaithfulness to god……….Hester Becke daughter of William Becke of Low Wray was buried the fouth day ffirst month 1687 she should have been married the same day to William Grave of Broadgate in Westmorland shee was an honest girle but hee was but a badman…. so that it was well ordered for her.
The 18th and 19th Centuries
1789 Of most disquiet to the Meeting was the: painful concern to find it appears that divers members of our society are in the hurtful practice of drinking to excess and attending public houses unnecessarily. Practices very injurious to individuals and highly inconsistent with our religious profession………Its is a little know fact but the entire Furness Iron refining industry at this time was controlled and managed primarily by members of the Colthouse Meeting.

Colthouse and Langdale Ministers….

At the quarter sessions held in Kendal September 1660 William Wilson was charged with disquieting, abuseing and disturbinge John Thompson Vicar and Clerk of Gressmere in reading ye book of common prayer or service or preachinge in ye church at Langdale Chappell …..Amongst Colthouse ministers Lydia Lancaster was the furthest travelled. In 1718 she crossed the Atlantic to America in an adventurous achievement and along way from her Graythwaite roots…………George Knipe was born in the parish of Hawkshead and County of Lancaster in the year 1653. Being brought up by his parents in the religion of the church of England in his youth much inclined for vanity but about ye year 1675 being ye 22nd year of his age he saw light that ligtened every man that cometh into this world.

The Quaker School at Colthouse………

In1716 An agreement has been made with Christopher Dixon to teach school at this meeting house for one year & his wages are to be four pounds five shillings and have his boarding paid for by friends and they are to have account what he gets with scholar………In 1811 J. Bragg the clerk lamented: We now having no school master & but few Friends children at this meeting and the meeting for Friends annually at Kendal approved of applying the money for the education of those Friends at Ackworth or elsewhere.

Price £7.99 + £1.00 p/p in UK Signed copies on request from FURNESS PENINSULA PRESS. Also available from local (book) shops at Hawkshead, Langdale Coop, and The Tinners Rabbit Ulverston.