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Countrystride #119: The birth of QUAKERISM in CUMBRIA which we celebrate the 400th anniversary of the birth of George Fox – founder of Quakerism – on a journey through '1652 country' with historian, Quaker and Professor Emeritus at Lancaster University, Angus Winchester. Starting our walk at the Society of Friends meeting house in the picture-perfect hamlet of Brigflatts just outside Sedbergh, we learn about the turbulent times into which Fox was born. Introducing the charismatic, troubled and talented Fox, we follow his famous footsteps of 1652, through Lancashire and Yorkshire to Sedbergh and then into Westmorland, where he preached to 1,000 people atop Firbank Fell in a meeting that would become pivotal in the spread of early Quakerism. With grand views of the Howgills, we continue the story into 1653 as Fox moved north and west to Ulverston and then into Cumberland ("now't good comes round Black Combe"). Closing our conversation, we consider the importance of the '1652' north country, the period of persecution following the fertile early years, and the Quaker legacy – of Friends meeting houses and businesses – in Cumbria today.

The Friends meeting house at Brigflatts.

The beautiful garden surrounding the meeting house.

Our guest for the day: Dr Angus Winchester.

Angus and Mark in the timeless meeting house.

Dave and Angus ascending Firbank Fell.

The Howgills, as viewed from our ascent.

The outcrop of 'Fox's Pulpit' with its memorial plaque. Likely the spot where Fox preached in 1652.


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