Sedbergh’s Fascinating Quaker Connection
Sedbergh has a fascinating history going back centuries. One if its many claims to fame is being the birthplace of the Quaker movement. The story starts back in 1652 when George Fox, the son of a Leicestershire weaver, rebelled against the religious establishment of the day and set off on a journey around the UK as a dissenting preacher.
While he was making his way north on foot, it was suggested that he should make contact with a group of like-minded people who were also disillusioned with the established church, called the Westmorland Seekers. Their leader, Richard Robinson lived at Brigflatts, a tiny hamlet on the edge of Sedbergh. Fox lodges with Robinson to break his journey and it turns out that they have much in common.
Fox’s Pulpit becomes the birthplace of the Quaker movement
Later that same week, Fox delivers a sermon in the churchyard of Sedbergh church. Word gets out that Fox has something interesting to say. His next sermon, at Firbank Fell just outside Sedbergh, which is now known as Fox’s Pulpit, was attended by over 1000 people. This was pretty astonishing when you consider that at the time, Firbank had a population of less than 100. It’s even more extraordinary when you see how challenging it would have been for people to travel to that point. This is acknowledged as the defining moment that started what was to become the Quaker movement.
A permanent ‘Quaker Meeting’ was established at Brigflatts that same year, and the Meeting House that currently stands was purchased from a Mr John Dawson 23 years later in 1677 for the princely sum of ten shillings (or 50p). It looks like a Yorkshire Dales farmhouse building that was typical in the 17th century.
A wonderful place to visit while in Sedbergh
The Meeting House at Brigflatts welcomes visitors anytime. It’s a very simple but beautiful place. The first thing you will notice is the peace and quiet. The ethos of the Meeting House is that anyone looking for some tranquillity can come and sit and think. This simple lime-washed building with its original wood panelled interior, attracts over 2000 international visitors a year who come to see the birthplace of the Quaker movement.
In addition, many walkers and visitors to Sedbergh and the Yorkshire Dales use the grounds of the Meeting House as a place to rest and eat their picnic lunches on the benches outside.
It’s open every day from 10am to 6pm (or until dusk in the winter). You can find out more about the Quaker Meeting house at Brigflatts here.
Visit The Malabar
If you are visiting The Meeting House at Brigflatts, naturally we’d be delighted to welcome you to the Malabar which is the perfect location for your Yorkshire Dales or Lake District holiday.