THE story of Quakers in Fritchley goes back to 1864 when John Sargent purchased the Bobbin Mill at the bottom of the village. He was a member of the Society of Friends, and the nearest Quaker meeting was at Furnace, near Oakerthorpe, a good four miles away. He walked there several times, but as he had a young family and no horse for transport he found it too difficult, so he started a Meeting in a cottage at the bottom of Bobbin Mill Hill.
Soon other Quakers joined him, including Thomas Davidson, who ran the grocery shop and Post Office on The Green; Jesse Derbyshire who farmed at Barn Close; Henry Wake the Antiquarian who traded from Chestnut Bank and Edward Watkins who later served on the Parish Council.
Before long Sargent and his friends who clung to the strict Quaker habits and doctrines disagreed with the London Society and in 1869 formed their own Society at Fritchley, which continued for nearly 100 years. They had contacts with similar groups in America with whom they corresponded and exchanged visits.
Gradually, however, a less rigid approach prevailed and the differences were not so pronounced. In 1968 the Fritchley Meeting ceased to function as a separate body and they rejoined the Notts and Derbys group of Quakers.
The homes of the original members still stand and their descendants may still be found living in and around the village and attending the weekly Meeting for worship each Sunday morning from 11 a.m. to 12 noon.
Marion Slaney has lived in Crich for the past fifteen years and works as a teacher at the local Junior School. She is a member of the Society of Friends.
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