After George Fox's vision on top of Pendle Hill in 1652, of a “great people to be gathered” the Society of Friends movement grew. However the society's beliefs disturbed the thinking of the political establishment, and they also broke the law; George Fox had already been in court for his views. It was at one of these court cases in 1650, that a JP mocked Fox's exhortation to "tremble at the word of the Lord", saying Fox was the only quaker in the room and the name Quaker arose afterwards.
Despite their preparedness to break the law they did keep good records of the holy events of the followers of the faith. The offences they could be charged with were: not attending church; absence from national worship; for being at religious meetings; for preaching at meetings; refusing to pay towards repairing Steeple-houses and other Church buildings; refusing to pay Easter Dues; refusing to take oaths; refusing to pay tithes. Their register of this area shows that there was a strong Quaker following locally and that one or more houses in Newby were the regular venues for their meetings. Their children's births, beloved marriages and deaths were recorded in the register of 'Newby Meeting'. There were also frequent meetings held at Twiston and at Sawley. Newby Meeting became Sawley Meeting in 1743. The Friends Meeting House at Sawley was built in 1777.
During the time the Friends met in Newby eight weddings took place there, and numerous births and deaths were recorded in the register. Two more weddings took place elsewhere in the village. One was at the home of Hugh Brearley at Watclose (1703), and the other at Gills, the home of William Oddie (1704). It is a shame the whereabouts of the house/s in Newby weren't specifically identified like the other two were. The majority of the brides and grooms were not local to the parish. Grace Colburn, a spinster, of Clitheroe, married John Leigh of Liverpool, 19th October, 1707. He was a mariner. Another Clitheroe girl, Mary Sutcliffe, married wool comber Joseph Whalley of the township of Hawksmoor, parish of Otley, 21st March, 1742.
The Quaker families in Rimington whose names appear in the register were: Armistead of Newby; Brearley of Watt Close; Brown of Newfield Edge and Gills; Chapman of Newby and Rimington; Cooke of Watt Close and Stoops; Driver of Gazegill and Newby; Dugdale of Martin Top; Ellill of Gills; Harrison of Gills; Hartley of Rimington; Harrison of Gazegill; Holgate of Rimington; Jepson of Gazegill; Oddie of Gills, Newby and Rimington; Priestley of Gills; Parker of Gazegill and Stoops; Scott of Newby and Middop and Watson of Newfield Edge. These Quaker families were not all present at the same time but averaged three to four families over a ten year period in the early decades, starting in 1665, to one or two by the close of the 18th century.
Some of these people suffered fines, seizure of belongings, even imprisonment, for following their faith, before the Act of Toleration was passed in 1689. A Remington Constable report July 29th, 1684 stated: Wm Oddy and his wife, Tho Dryver and his wife, Jo. Baldwen and his wife, Ja. Hoult now prisoner at York Castle, and Johnas Chapman all reputed Quakers, absent from church.
In the February of the year before, a meeting was held in the house of Elizabeth Bulcock at Twiston, which was reported to the judiciary at Clitheroe. Among the Quakers attending that meeting were: John Baldwin of Howgill, Carpenter, and his wife Bridgett; William Watson of Middop, Husbandman, and Margaret his mother; Thomas Driver of Gaisgill, Hatter; William Oddy of Martintop, Tanner, and James Hoult of Howgill, Husbandman. Elizabeth was fined £20 for the use of her house for the meeting. (£2289 at 2017 value). Everyone else was charged £5. The fines were quickly paid off in three instalments. This punishment obviously did not dampen the faith in the above Oddies, Drivers, and Baldwins, who were reported again July 1684 as mentioned above. It is presently unknown what defiant action James Hoult had done to warrant imprisonment.
The meeting was reported by two men from Gisburn, Thomas Wilkinson and Anthony Crossley, the latter described as ‘Labourer’. They were probably both constables too, as were likely the two men of Rimington who reported a Quaker meeting held in Clitheroe 13th February 1683. They were Hugh Wilkinson of Howgill, Husbandman, and Thomas Danvers (Danser) of the same parish, Labourer. They stated they went into the house of Roger Lee where they saw fourteen persons and upwards present. Only a few were identified, one was Elizabeth Bulcock again. They were levied a fine but the amount is unknown. There was no one named from Rimington.
It is probably a coincidence but it is interesting that it was out-of-parish people who interrupted and reported the above meetings. If these informants were acting in a constable capacity they also happened to be from Yorkshire parishes visiting Lancashire houses. They also surely must have been informed and delegated to act on the planned meetings otherwise there was the risk of: 1) entering a house and discovering just a family at their labours or leisure 2) having more than one team of informants cross over the threshold.
Following the 1689 Act of Toleration, which allowed congregations of Protestant Non-conformists to worship openly provided they licensed meeting houses at quarter sessions, the following houses were recorded as places of meeting at the Knaresborough sessions Oct 1695:
John Tipping of Grainge in Sawley
John Scott Longam Roe Sawley
Willm Oddye, Gylls, Rimington in Gisborne
Willm Watson, Loyne, Middop in Gisborne
Thomas Desver [Driver] of Gasegill, Rimington in Gisburne

The places and names of some 'Protestant Dissenters' were recorded in the Gisburn Quarter Session Returns:

1695 House Rimington Ralph Pawson
1698 House Gill in Rimington William Oddy
1700 House Rimington Hugh Brearley
1705 House Newby John Driver
1712 House Rimington Richard Lawson
1717 House Rimington Benjamin Lawson
1747 House Rimington William Fort

The Quakers acquired the plot of land which became Twiston Burial Ground, or 'Sepulchre' in 1670, in which to bury their dead. There will be upwards of 80 bodies buried there. It will be well over a century ago when the last body was interred.

PS. Other names and houses of Non-conformists as described in Faculty Book Licences at the Borthwick Institute, York.

1748 House of Julia Wilkinson, Rimington. Inghamite Note – follower of Benjamin Ingham
Signed John Wilkinson, James Wilkinson, John Dean, Edward Green, Julia Wilkinson, A. Coor

1809 House of William Dean, Rimington Protestant Dissenter
Signed John Riley, John Hartley, James Wilkinson

1811 Building of John Holgate, Newby Congregational
Signed Ralph Holgate, Geo. Partington, minister, William Hargreaves; Ben. Bowden,
James Dawson, Richard Taylor, John Taylor

1812 House of Christopher Holgate, farmer, Lower Gill, Rimington. Congregational
Signed John Holgate, Richard Taylor, William Hargreaves, Ralph Holgate, James Greenwood

Brian Stott February 2021

Here are two pictures of Twiston Burial Ground taken in 1991.


Twiston Quaker Burial Ground enh 350   Twiston Quaker burial ground gravestone enh 350

Records of Quaker births, marriages, deaths and burials can be found by clicking the link below. 

Quaker records