Free online event: The story of Rathangan's Quaker community revealed


Leinster Leader reporter


Leinster Leader reporter


Free online event: The story of Rathangan's Quaker community revealed

Quaker picnic in Rathangan in 1925

A unique free online seminar, which traces the story of Rathangan's Quaker community from 1692 to 1928, takes place on February 20 at 10am.

Local historian, Laurence Fullam has been researching the project.

"The Religious Society of Friends - Quakers - were meticulous record-keepers. Working through existing records we can trace their presence in the Rathangan area from the birth of William Sheldon (son of Elizar Sheldon and Susanna Edmundson) in 1692 to the departure of Sidney G Nicholson for Dublin in 1928," he said.

"Meetings recorded births, deaths and marriages, as well as the names of those 'disowned from the unity of the society'. Records of 'Sufferings' detail the value of goods seized from individual Quakers by tithe-mongers because their refusals to pay tithes to the established Church.

"In addition to written records there is a strong folk-memory of their presence in Rathangan. For example, the Meeting at John Stephenson's House in Kilnantogue (1711 – 1728) is remembered in a field-name - 'The Quakers' Walk'. Records from the Registry of Deeds detail the amount of land held by individual Quakers from their landlord, the length of the lease and the rent due. These records also detail monies due against the income from leases for dowries, loans etc."

Covid-19 restrictions severely hampered site visits and face-to face meetings. Nevertheless, this research represents a significant step in recovering the story of this community, mapping the location of their homes, and detailing the economic activities of the various families involved.

Mr Fullam has a background in Adult & Community Education. An experienced researcher, he has worked local development, managing a number of EU funded projects and has a keen interest in local history. He is a founding member of Creative Rathangan Meitheal.

To find out more log onto the Eventbrite page