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.
In 1660, Margaret Fell, one of the first Quakers, who lived at Swarthmoor Hall, told the new King, Charles II: “We are a people that follow after those things that make for peace, love and unity; it is our desire that others’ feet may walk in the same, and do deny and bear our testimony against all strife, and wars, and contentions that come from the lusts that war in the members, that war in the soul, which we wait for, and watch for in all people, and love and desire the good of all… Treason, treachery, and false dealing we do utterly deny; false dealing, surmising, or plotting against any creature upon the face of the earth, and speak the truth in plainness, and singleness of heart.”
The Quaker Tapestry outlines Quaker History from the 17th to the 21st century.
2016 Brexit – from Peter Parker’s blog – see Quakers in Britain website on Quaker Links page
In 2016, just after the EU referendum, Quakers in Britain said: “There is now a great need for bridge-building, for reaching out to one another in love, trusting that below the political differences lie a shared humanity and a wish for flourishing communities… We will look for creative ways to find common cause, to listen, to influence and to persuade. As the status quo is shaken we and our neighbours must look to one another for support, wisdom and above all ways of healing divisions.”