History

Quakers have worshipped in Worcester since 1655. They first met in the house of a widow, Sarah Drew, who lived in Darke Alley under the old monastic dormitory in the shadow of the cathedral. George Fox, founder of Quakerism (1652) was imprisoned in Worcester Castle in 1673 for fourteen months for refusing to take the oath of allegiance and supremacy and wrote a large part of his journal here. The first Meeting House was built in 1671 behind what are now shops in Friar Street but it was sold in 1829 and demolished in 1949. The present Meeting House in Sansome Place was opened in 1701 with space for a burial ground surrounding it. The Quaker community in Worcester was the largest in the area for some considerable time and the influence of its members upon the city was probably at its greatest in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries when many Quakers were involved in the glove trade. As numbers declined the Meeting House became too large and was let out to groups such as the YMCA and a smaller Victorian Meeting House built alongside. In the early 1980s this was demolished and replaced by two flats, a cottage was added. The large Meeting House and the cottages adjoining it to the west side were redeveloped and remain as they are today. The London Plane tree on the grounds is thought to be at least 150 years old.

The text with some adaptations is taken from the booklet 'Worcester Quaker Walk' written by Annette Leech. This and 'The History of Worcester' by Hughes and Leech - Logaston Press 2011, tells in greater detail the history and influence of the Worcester Quakers