Meeting Kate Justice at BBC Hereford and Worcester was a pleasure and I enjoyed sharing my admiration of Elizabeth Fry with a wider audience. As someone said recently, get Averil chatting about EF and it might be a long day out! I’m afraid, it’s true; sometimes when I get started, I just can’t stop.
So I thought you might like to know that Elizabeth visited Worcester in the Ministry [ie as a visiting Quaker] in 1824 and is sure to have visited Worcester gaol.
There have been Quakers in Worcester since 1655, basically since three years after Quakerism was founded by George Fox in 1652 – impressive. Fox’s visit to Worcester was not as genial as Elizabeth’s – he was imprisoned in Worcester Castle in 1673 for refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance. Quakers refuse to take oaths because their faith requires them to speak the truth at all times.
The first Quaker Meeting house in Worcester was built in 1671 behind the shops on Friar Street but that was later sold and demolished. The current Meeting house on Sansome Place opened in 1701 and has had various alterations over the years. Meetings for Worship are held at 10.30am on Sundays, for an hour and on Wednesdays at 12 noon for half an hour after which there is a picnic lunch.