Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

Quaker Graveyard, Great Ayton

The Religious Society of Friends was first recorded in the village in 1689 with the ending official persecution when the magistrates at Thirsk issued a certificate to establish a place of worship. This would have been a room in a private house but by the turn of the century, a specific meeting house had been built on the site of the current meeting house behind the tall Scots Pine.

The term Quakers may have originally been derogatory but came to be accepted, if not embraced. Their founder, George Fox, believed people didn’t need churches or clergy to experience God and, in the North York Moors, far away from the major centres of conformist religion, the religion quietly spread. Quakers were diligent, honest and very hard working. They were very active in village life, major benefactors including the founding of the Friends’ School which building still dominates the High Green today although now private residences. Further afield they were influential in the expansion of the iron and steel industries which came to dominate Teesside and the Cleveland Hills. Quaker graveyards can be identified by their uniform and plain gravestones unadorned with carved flowers, scrolls and memento mori.

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4 responses to “Quaker Graveyard, Great Ayton”

  1. John Severs avatar
    John Severs

    Hello Mick, I’ve recently learned an interesting fact about Quaker gravestones. They don’t refer to the days of the week and months of the year by name, ie soandso had died on the 4th day of the 11th month. This is because the days and months have Norse and Roman origins… not acceptable to Quakers.
    I do enjoy looking at your website, keep up the great work Mick.

    1. Fhithich avatar

      Thanks for that. I’ll pop in and take a closer look.

  2. Heather McIvor avatar
    Heather McIvor

    Hi Any chance you could ‘pop in’ the Great Ayton Quaker graveyard and locate Isabella Humfries died in 1887 and likely buried in this burial ground? She had been a school matron Census 1881 at Darlington, Durham but died in Great Ayton, according to a Quaker record found. She was born Ipswich, Suffolk c1821. I am researching her and her family, and it would be very much appreciated. Many thanks.

    1. Fhithich avatar

      Hi Heather, I’m a bit reluctant to commit to searching for a specific gravestone. I fear it will not be an easy task. I would suggest you contact the Friends’ Society https://www.quaker.org.uk/meetings/great-ayton . They might even have records available.

      Failing that Great Ayton has at least three community FaceBook pages where you might be able to persuade someone to look.

      Regards, Mick

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