There were Quakers in Shrewsbury in the 17th Century. They first held meetings in
a pair of houses in St John’s Hill and used the gardens as a burial ground. They
built a Meeting House in the garden in 1670 and built two subsequent ones on the
same site. The last, built in 1807, still exists and is now the parish hall of the
neighbouring St Chad’s Church.
The Meeting dwindled during the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the Meeting
House was sold in 1924. In about 1936, George and Helen Landsdowne, Quakers from
the south of England, moved to Shrewsbury and started a Meeting for Worship in their
own home in Kemps Eye.
Since then it has grown out of several properties until the present building in Coton
Hill was bought in 1985. There is at present a membership of about fifty and many
regular attenders. Until recently there has been a children’s class but this only
occurs when requested these days.
Memorial to the Friends Ambulance Unit and Friends Relief Service.
Barbara and I were fortunate to attend the inauguration of this monument at the National
Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. We assisted the organisers by acting as stewards.
With the memorial being half a mile from the arboretum entrance a marquee had been
made available for the Meeting for Worship in the case of bad weather. However it
was a glorious sunny day and with assistance from electric buggies every one of the
400 Ffriends attending managed to get to the memorial for the event.
The memorial itself takes the form of four simple curves of Rutland limestone with
benches arranged in a circle. It can be interpreted as a Quaker meeting place standing
in a quiet grove of trees. Among the hand-carved inscriptions on the memorial, is
the citation for the Nobel peace prize given to the Quakers in 1947 when the work
of the FAU and FRS was fresh and well-known.
Meeting for Worship was programmed and began with some remarks about the memorial
by Anthony Wilson followed by the reading of the poem “Friends Meeting House, Frenchay,
Bristol” by U A Fanthorpe. It concluded with ministry and reminiscences of her own
father by Lis Burch the retiring clerk of BYM. During MfW there were moving contributions
by some ex-members of the services and by some of their children.
Everyone returned to the marquee for a splendid lunch, meeting Ffriends and reminiscences.
This was a moving and memorable experience for all who attended. A special edition
of the Friend about the inauguration wias published on 26th April 2013.
Pictures below were taken at the inaugeration of the monument to the Friends Ambulance
Unit and Friends Relief Service at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.