Threads from the past

On another day during our recent visit to the North West we braved a very narrow road onto a remote fell north of Sedbergh. There, un-signposted, watched over by a couple of old yew trees and some ancient gravestones, was a blue plaque set onto a rock. This is known as George Fox’s pulpit, where the founder of Quakerism preached outdoors in 1652 to many “seekers” drawn from the area.

I have already  described and written about previous generations of my family in Ireland who were part of the Quaker movement, so it was fascinating to discover that some of my Westmoreland ancestors, the Rouths, were also early followers of George Fox’s ideas.  I will write more on my Family History Blog “Among the Branches” in due course!

Back in Kendal we then visited the Quaker Tapestry Museum, which brought together my interest in Quaker history and my love of stitch. Copyright rules mean I won’t reproduce the images here in full, but they can be viewed on the website. Do have a look! They are a wonderful tribute to the power of the needle in creative hands, to record the past and inspire future generations.


Here are photos of some bookmarks I bought showing some small parts of the tapestry panels. The feet are those of George Fox, preaching on Firbank Fell.  The one about co-operation is a reference to Quaker activities in the Peace movement worldwide, and comes from an Aesop’s fable. I used to have a version of this on my wall when I was a teenager. The other bookmark is a reference to prominent prison reformer and Quaker, Elizabeth Fry, who organised the provision of a bag of sewing items and fabrics to every woman in convict ships bound for Australia.


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