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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2 Replies to “Quaker Graveyard, Great Ayton”

  1. 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.

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