Samuel Watson (c1618-1708)
of Knight Stainforth Hall,

Jean Asher
 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

Where Samuel Watson, one of the first Quakers in Settle, has been remembered by historians, it has usually been in passing or in footnotes: ‘He was a man of note, whose service and writings deserve to be remembered ,’ 1 ‘…the ablest of the yeoman Friend leaders of …(Craven)….’1 ‘a truly noble man.’2 Three hundred years after his death seems an appropriate point at which to look behind these plaudits at the life of a man who lived in Knight Stainforth Hall, and to mark his contribution to the establishment of Quakerism, in Craven and beyond. He deserves a chapter, at least, to himself.

A contemporary account records that in 1652 he brought an action against William Carr, the owner of Langcliffe Mill, which Carr had closed, and of which Samuel claimed a fourth part, and also against four local farmers who had formed a cartel which he sought to break. He lost his case and Carr contrived to get him sent to prison in York.3 A later Quaker source 4 simply says that on the death of his father, demands which he deemed unjust were made upon him out of the estate, and rather than comply, he chose to go to prison. It was an early stand on principle.

At much the same time as Samuel Watson was fighting for his rights over the corn mill, George Fox, unhappy with what he saw as the corrupt and moribund state of the established church and destined to become the acknowledged Quaker leader, travelled north to York from the East Midlands where he had been wandering for several years, finding groups of the like-minded. On his way north, Fox was joined by, among others, Thomas Aldam, Richard Farnsworth and William Dewsbury, who would all become central to the spread of Quakerism.

By August 1652, Aldam and several others were in York Castle for non-payment of tithes. The group included Elizabeth Hooton, an energetic and strong-minded woman, and Mary Fisher, a maid from Selby whose extraordinary life included a trip east in 1657 to preach to the Turkish Sultan. Roger Hebdon, a draper, was also on the scene, reckoned by the authorities to be the ringleader of a disturbance in Malton. Farnsworth and Dewsbury are recorded as visiting the prisoners.

How many of this ‘turbulent and talented’ 5 group of leading Friends remained in York Castle and for how long (or, indeed, came and went) is not known but Aldam was there until Dec. 1654. His theory was that by locking up a few of the leaders of this troublesome sect, the authorities supposed they would stop the dangerous rabble-rousing, as they saw it. If this was the plan, it misfired badly, as closeted together, these early Friends constituted a power house of evangelism, and being well in touch with supporters outside were by no means idle, inspiring those who visited them, like Farnsworth, to greater heights. Samuel Watson had gone into York Castle with doubts and misgivings about the established church. He emerged a Quaker, having done a deal with William Carr to get himself released. ‘He then returned home to his family and place of abode...’ 6.

He had been born about 1618 into a family well established in the area. In 1547 Anthony Watson had bought Knight Stainforth Hall and the following year had been appointed one of the first governors of Giggleswick School. The manor passed down the generations, to Gilbert then to William, both also school governors, and from William to Samuel. With the purchase of the land in Little Stainforth had come the Staneford Chantry in Giggleswick Church, of which the rector in 1631 was John Watson, his patron being William Watson. Samuel himself, as a young man, was committed to his parish church, and to ‘a way of worship that delighted him.’ 7 His level of prosperity may be measured by the Hearth Tax returns for the area: only Charles Nowell of Cappleside, with seven hearths, had more than his six at Knight Stainforth Hall. In short, he had been born into an influential, gentry family, pillars of the established church, the school, the community, and now he joined a small group of convinced Friends in Settle, dissenters of the ‘middling sort.’

These were people who refused to pay tithes to support a ‘hireling’ priest for whom they saw no need, and whom they claimed the right to interrupt in his own church, scornfully referred to as the ‘steeplehouse;’ who met together in their own homes or in the open air, to be led by the power of God, a Truth they believed to be within themselves, not in creed and doctrine. They respected the Bible but not as infallible; believing all men were equal, they would not remove their hats in the presence of those whom society considered superior; they refused to swear oaths as being contrary to Christ’s own command and implying a double standard of truth. Their beliefs in ‘a higher authority than church, book or state, and in the inseparability of religious and political freedom,’8 constituted a threat to the established social and political order which would rock the authorities.

Shock-waves must have reverberated around Giggleswick as Samuel renounced the powerful parish church and crossed the river to join dissenters in house meetings in Upper Settle, as did also his sisters, Ellinor and Elizabeth. Certainly, he received a cool reception at St. Alkelda’s some years later, when he returned, uninvited, to preach. He ‘walked into his own Quire which of right belonged to him and after a while spake amongst the people as he was moved of God. But after a little some of the rudest sort pulled him down and brok his head upon the seates (and) having hauled him out threw him down upon the Ice.’ 9

Meanwhile George Fox had established a crucial Quaker base at Swarthmore Hall, Ulverston, home of Judge Fell and his wife Margaret. She was ‘convinced’ by Fox’s message, and although her husband did not become a Quaker himself, his support for his wife’s central role, his open house and his legal position, were invaluable to the growing movement. Swarthmore Hall became the hub of the subsequent mission which spread first through the north, and then into other parts of the country, by the group of those converts who became known as ‘First Publishers of Truth.’

Of these, first William Dewsbury and then John Camm had visited Settle. Both had been very roughly received when they spoke in the market place, but were rescued from the mob by sympathisers, notably the young John Armitstead and John Kidd, possibly already active Seekers. Dewsbury’s return visit in 1653 indicates that there were by then in Settle recognised Quaker gatherings.10

Joining this group, Samuel Watson established himself quickly as a local leader. During the 1650s a system of government evolved, local meetings gathering at intervals with other local meetings in Monthly Meetings for church affairs and in time regional and national meetings. From each local meeting, ‘one or two who are most grown in the power and life’ 11 were chosen to see that the meetings were arranged, to take care of each other and make sure that ‘those who came among Friends walked orderly.’ 12 It was as an Elder, as these responsible Friends came to be called, that Samuel Watson attended the first great gathering of Friends at Scalehouse near Skipton in 1658, sent to represent Settle and Yorkshire with James Tennant of Scarhouse in Langstrothdale. ‘No weightier list of ‘solid’ Friends from the North could have been compiled.’ 13 At a regional General Meeting, held the following year in Skipton, he was, as at Scalehouse, a signatory to the minute, or statement, issued by the gathering. His contacts in York Castle linked him with the central group of Friends based at Swarthmore.

During these early years ‘Public Friends,’ as they were called, many of them from the North, travelled extensively throughout Britain. The First Publishers were attracting adherents in numbers which caused severe alarm to the authorities who saw the world being turned upside and responded accordingly. One of the earliest recorded instances of Samuel Watson’s ‘suffering for Truth’ tells of his reception in Burton-in-Bishopdale, possibly a meeting which he had himself settled: ‘…. on my Journey towards Scotland to Visit the People of God,…(I) was by violent Hands put in the Stock; and after in a desperate manner struck with a Club-staff so that I was struck to the Ground, and lain for Dead; but it pleased God my Creator to Revive me ….’

This journey to Scotland, with Roger Hebdon, was a particularly stern challenge: ‘Oh, this is a dark nation, lost for lack of knowledge….one cannot believe a word they speak…a stupid sottish ignorant people, and yet ripe to do mischief and full of craft….’ 14 Watson and Hebdon came to no harm on this occasion. Another Craven man, John Hall of Airton, thought to have been the first Quaker to have reached Aberdeen, had a more eventful time, being ‘court-martialled for disturbing the minister and being a vagabond, a Jesuit and a spy.’ 15

Cromwell’s death in 1658 marked the end of ‘the qualified religious toleration of the Commonwealth,’ 16 and persecution for non-conformists was set to increase. Following the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, the situation worsened. The King’s Declaration offering toleration of Papists and Quakers was rejected, and following a plot by the Fifth Monarchy Men against Charles 2nd, a Proclamation was issued in January 1661 prohibiting meetings of Quakers, Fifth Monarchy Men and Anabaptists. Justices were commanded to tender the Oath of Allegiance to persons brought before them for assembling at such meetings. The Quakers were easy prey. Within a few weeks there were mass imprisonments nationwide. The 229 from the West Riding; ‘…taken from their peaceable meetings, some on the highway, others from their own houses and lawful employments, and some out of their beds,’ are listed by Joseph Besse who collated the records of Quaker sufferings into a volume published in 1763 17. From Settle meeting were John Armitstead and John Kidd, with his son, also John; George Atkinson of Littlebank, John Moore of Eldroth, Richard Wilson of Langcliffe, Christopher Armitstead who had recently married Samuel Watson’s sister Elizabeth, Samuel Watson himself, and others whose names would become familiar in the accounts of Friends’ sufferings kept by the Monthly Meetings. Not until May, after much effort to prove that Quakers had had no hand in it, was a full liberation secured.18

The Restoration brought the re-establishment of the Church of England, with compulsory attendance at the parish church and worship according to the Book of Common Prayer. Records of 1664 list Friends from Settle meeting brought before the Giggleswick church court for non-attendance. Samuel Watson and his new wife, Mary Monke, were presented, along with Ellinor Watson, Samuel’s sister, and Elizabeth and Christopher Armitstead. John Kidd was there, and his son John, both with their wives, John Armitstead, George Atkinson, and so on, a list that would become very familiar over the next decade. Their refusal to swear the oath at the subsequent Assizes could lead to fines and imprisonment. Richard Wilson had married Anna, in meeting, and they were to be sent off to York Castle for not conforming to the National marriage service. Following the Act of Uniformity came the First Conventicle Act of 1664 designed to suppress non-conformist meetings. That in turn was followed in 1670 by the Second Conventicle Act, the first having been judged inadequate. Penalties were draconian and could be imposed by two Justices sitting without a jury, and later, even, by a single Justice. A system whereby paid informers, reporting attendance at meetings to the Justices, were rewarded with a share of the fines levied, was open to dreadful abuse, and the records of goods taken in lieu of payment, often greater in value than the fine, make pitiful reading: “John Kidd of Setle for being at two meetings was fined 15s. 0d. for which the officers took 2 coats and covercloth, part of an hide of leather, and one paire of shooes worth 1: 0: 0.” “Christopher Armestead of Setle for being at two meetinggs was fined 15s. 0d. for which he had taken from him by ye officers goods of ye vallue of 1: 3: 0.” “Richard Armesteade for being at two meetings was fined 15 shillings for which ye officers took 7 pair of shoos worth 1: 0: 0.” Particularly savage penalties were imposed upon Samuel Watson, perhaps because of his status as a gentleman as well as his high profile as a Quaker: ‘Samuell Watson of Knight Stainforth in the parish of Giggleswick for praying in a Meeting …… was informed against by John Read and John Thompson before Jno. Ashton and William Drake, Justices of the Peace, was convicted and fined the sum of 20.0.0,’ and again by the same men, 60.0.0 ‘for having a meeting at his house the first day of next week after and declaring of matters of faith and salvation in the assembly.’ There was a further fine of 40.0.0 ‘for which said Fines….. the Constables and overseers …… came to the house of the said Samuell Watson distrained and drove 28 head of cattle, 9 horses and an 130 sheeps, which apprised and sould for the afforesaid fines of 120.0.0.’ In total in the years 1670-1, Samuel Watson ‘had his Goods seized and driven away to the Value of 250.0.0, being his whole Substance.’19 The actions of the informers, local men growing rich on the pickings of their evil trade, are a striking example of man’s inhumanity to man. In contrast, there are instances of kindness and generosity among neighbours, constables and Justices towards the persecuted Quakers which restore faith in human nature.

The packhorse bridge over the Ribble is a reminder that he had an estate to manage in between his visits to his many visits to the Assizes and his spells in York castle. In 1675, the covenant was drawn up allowing free passage ‘between the towns of Knight Stainforth and Stainforth Under Bargh on foot or with carts and cattle, following his rebuilding of it.20

The Court Book records of 1677 show that Settle meeting had retained much of its core membership, in spite of the post-Restoration persecutions: the same people, and more, are named again, this time indicted simply ‘as Quakers,’ and yet again in 1680 ‘for not coming to church.’ These usual suspects appear throughout the 1680s, for non-attendance at church, for not taking the sacrament at Easter, for non-payment of church dues. Samuel Watson is in prison in 1682, for refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance, and again in 1684. Not for the first time, we find him among the leaders of an initiative: a ‘solemn address to the King’ representing the case of 227 Quakers imprisoned there then, was drawn up, describing the measures taken against Quakers, and asking ‘with Christian Plainness and Simplicity’ and without ‘the least Degree of Adulation or Flattery,’ for the King’s consideration of their situation. He signs the lengthy, detailed address, with among others, John Blaykling and Richard Harrison from Dent. 21

The Act of Toleration in 1689 gave Quakers the right to worship freely and removed the necessity of swearing to most oaths. Entries in the Court Books dwindled to ‘Omnia Bene’ in Giggleswick, with exception of Samuel Watson who, alone, in 1692 and 1693, was fined for not paying his church lay. Richard Frankland of Rathmell, another prominent local Independent, was in 1696 also charged, with ‘instructing youth without a license.’ The leaders of the non-conformists were still targets.

Before they were granted the right to worship without hindrance, the Quakers in Settle built the meeting house still in use today, in Kirkgate, (down at the seamy end of the town among the coiners.) They themselves raised 50, and the Monthly Meeting provided the remaining 30. The land on which it was built, Howson’s Croft, had been bought in 1661 by Samuel Watson and John Moore for use as a burial ground and meeting place, the two men becoming the Trustees. To erect a permanent building in 1678, as they did, was notable. Persecutions did not cease during the years preceding the Act of Toleration, which finally brought the licensing of the Kirkgate meeting house, and Knight Stainforth Hall, as legal places of worship.

The minutes of the Monthly Meeting, which are preserved from 1666, are minimal in the early years, recording chiefly disbursements made to the Quaker poor, the placement and support of apprentices and the purchase of books. As time went on and the organisation grew more structured, so they became more detailed and informative. Samuel Watson’s own involvement illustrates the workings of a Quaker meeting and confirms both his status as an Elder and the esteem in which he was held. Not only involved in regional Quakerism, he is recorded in 1673 as signing the Epistle from the Yearly Meeting of Quakers nationally in London, along with among others, William Penn. 22 Back home in Settle, present day organisation would have seen him formally appointed as Clerk to the meeting; the label was never used of him, but that was the role he fulfilled, on many occasions. He was regularly named as an advocate in disputes, and an intermediary between the meeting and those Friends conducting themselves in ‘untruthlike’ ways. He was a signatory to the certificates required for travelling in the ministry, for removal to another meeting, and of the disownment of Friends. He visited Friends intending to marry, to enquire after their ‘clearness,’ in effect to see that ‘there was no just impediment’ to the marriage. He was a Trustee of the meeting house, he managed a legacy to the meeting. He arranged the purchase and distribution of books from the Quaker printers in York; highly literate, he was frequently commissioned by the Monthly meeting to write letters.

He had put his writing skills and inclination to good use during his first imprisonment. Early Friends were prolific letter-writers and kept in close touch, often via Swarthmore hall where Margaret Fell acted as a clearing house and arranged for copies of important communications to be distributed. It was perhaps in this connection that Samuel Watson called on Friends to send to him any letters, papers and documents relating to the first Quakers and the spread of Quakerism. Thus a manuscript collection of over 500 numbered pages, with contents pages, was begun in 1654 in York Castle.23 The early letters are copies of those written by principal figures such as Margaret Fell, George Fox and James Naylor, and by some, like Hebdon and Farnsworth, who had probably been imprisoned with him. In order that meetings should be encouraged and spiritually nourished, ministers sent pastoral epistles to them to be read aloud. Samuel Watson wrote some of these himself, from prison, and copied many more written by others. He also wrote to the authorities, putting the case of the imprisoned Quakers and drawing attention to their treatment. It is a remarkable collection, transcribed, with his annotations, in a clear, meticulous hand. Many of the originals were lost, and the Samuel Watson Manuscript Collection has made an invaluable contribution to early Quaker history. 24 (Like its author, it features principally in footnotes.)

In 1664 he married Mary Monke, the widow of a Quaker from Nottingham with two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary. By the end of the decade he had two daughters of his own, Grace and Mercy, and a son Timothy. There is no record of Mary’s death, but in 1673 he was married again to Mary Morton, a Quaker from Lancaster. Shortly afterwards, Peter was born, and in 1678 Samuel’s family was completed by his daughter Peace. (The Biblical names for his sons were not unusual; the Christian virtues for the girls were rare in the parish registers of the day, and surely say something about their father’s values.)

Samuel’s marriages, those of his daughters and step-daughters and his family life demonstrate the strength of the network that was the Society of Friends and the quality of support and friendship they afforded each other. Stainforth Hall regularly offered hospitality to itinerant ministers, who might have stayed also on their journey with John Moore of Eldroth, and head next for William Ellis in Airton and John Hall in Skipton. All the girls married into Quaker families, save Grace. In 1688, she was in London, staying at the home of Ben Antrobus, a linen draper who figured prominently among London Quakers. Tragically, she died there, aged twenty. Her grieving parents, in a testimony which they jointly wrote, were stricken that … ‘her Departure from us was so permitted that we had not Time nor Strength to see her dear face any more..’ She was, they added simply, ‘nearer to us than we can Verbally Express.’

More heart-ache followed in 1990, when Samuel laid before Monthly Meeting ‘ his concerne and exercise concerneing his son Timothy [then aged fifteen] and did Signifie that he had used all Endeavours possible with him and fully dischargd his duty; Soe Now referrs it freely and wholely to friends to deal further with him as may be Seen most convenient for his benefit and for clearing the truth concerneing him.’25 In other words, he was at his wits’ end with the lad, and was appealing for help from the meeting.

The whole subsequent episode, appalling as it must have been for his parents, illustrates vividly the place and functions of the meeting in the lives of its members. The problem of Timothy was discussed at the next Monthly Meeting and it was ‘seen meet that 2 or 3 Friends should goe & speak to him (he being now in the town) and lay before him the untruthlike actions he has gone into, and lett him know that unless he be willing to give forth something in Writeing to cleer truth & friends of the said actions Friends must of Necessity proceed against him accordingly..’ 26 Thomas Rudd from Wharfe, William Ellis, a prominent and widely-travelled Friend from Airton, and Thomas Wild, also from outside Settle meeting were appointed. (Such men would, by later generations, be called ‘weighty Quakers.’)

Timothy admitted to his shortcomings and agreed to sign a declaration ‘to cleer Friends and truth.’ John Moore was to write the account. Timothy proved elusive, and when, three months later no progress had been made, it was agreed that a paper of disownment denying fellowship and unity with him should be drawn up. The following month Timothy attended and promised to draw up his own paper and bring it to the next Monthly Meeting. However, he didn’t appear and it was reported that he continued in his ‘untruthlike conversations notwithstanding the many endeavours used towards him to have reclaimed him therefrom.’ The paper must be drawn up.

How did Timothy offend? What were his ‘untruthlike’ words and deeds? A mis-spent youth is a recurring theme among early Friends, and their sense of sin and guilt was pronounced. John Armitstead’s testimony to Samuel after his death, notes that ‘As to the manner of his life and conversation in the time of his youth, it was somewhat in the pleasures, pastimes and recreations of the world,’ although he went to church regularly, he adds. The remark that Timothy was ‘now in the town’ suggests he wasn’t always at home under his parents’ roof. Otherwise was he doing more than hang out in Settle market place with his mates? Other accounts of similar interventions of the meeting, however, confirm that there would indeed have been ‘many endeavours’ to reclaim him. Minutes show the Elders as having remarkable patience and negotiating skills.

Poor Samuel. John Atkinson was to write of him ‘that he was an Instrument of help to me in my young years; he being as a Nursing Father to those that were young, and in whom was the least appearance of the workings of Truth, having a mind rather to lend an hand of Help, than to bruise or crush anything that was Tender.’ This breakdown in the relationship with his own son must have been a bitter disappointment to him. And poor Timothy. We shall probably never know what happened to him. To date there is no further record of him.

Shortly afterwards, Samuel’s step-daughter, Mary died, leaving ‘two small babes.’ She had married Isaac Moss, a Quaker from Manchester, at Knight Stainforth Hall in 1679. In an ‘Epistle of Memorial concerning our dear Daughter Mary’ Samuel writes lovingly of her, expressing as ‘her dear Parents’ their great loss and sharing the grief of the Friends in Manchester to whom he was writing. Mary’s sister, Elizabeth Monke, had married Isaac Moss’s brother Thomas. A year later Samuel brought to Monthly Meeting the news of his imminent removal to Lancaster. Six months later, however, Mary died in Lancaster. She was the first to be buried in the Meeting House yard there.

His testimony to her suggests that she had been in failing health - maybe this was the reason for their removal to her place of birth. Certainly she had been ill for several weeks before her death, and he writes of her fears of dying. She had been an active member of Settle meeting, and a minister, having great depths of spirituality, ‘given to fasting and retirement. Even to a man of his resilience and faith, her death must have been a tremendous blow. For more than twenty years she had been a beloved wife, raising the seven children, keeping his house, enduring his imprisonments, and there were many, sharing his faith and bearing her own witness to Truth. Now ‘This Dear Companion, and Fellow-Labourer in the Gospel of Life and Salvation, who was a dear and tender Wife to me…’ was gone.27

He moved back to Settle and it says much of the character of the man that, now in his seventies, he nevertheless re-engaged with Settle meeting, as active as he had ever been. John Armitstead’s testimony, moving in its simplicity, tells that ‘he continued in the work of the ministry, travelling abroad in this nation at seasons, as way was opened unto him. He also travelled into Scotland (with his daughter Mercy) in his old age, when grey hairs covered his head; and he laboured on the residue of his time, in the work of truth, according to his ability; his love to, and his zeal for the same, was not abated, even when weakness of body, and old age came upon him.’

In 1700, Mercy married Elihu Johnson from a Cheshire meeting, and Peace married Nathaniell Ashbrooke from Chester.28 He himself married Hester, also widowed, sister of his old friend John Moore of Eldroth. It was recorded in the Monthly Meeting minutes, unusually, that this was to the satisfaction of his daughters. The Watsons of Knight Stainforth and the Moores of Eldroth were once more united by marriage. (Samuel’s sister Ellinor had married John Moore in 1674, dying in childbirth early in their marriage.)

Let us hope that the five years Samuel and Hester had together were happy ones. Shortly after she died, in 1705, Samuel ‘set his house in order’ and moved to Chester to live with Peace and Nathaniell and their family. Even then, he continued active in the service of Truth, remarkably at the ripe old age of eighty-eight writing an address to the people of Chester which he delivered in the Cathedral.

Friends from Settle meeting visited him in Chester. John Atkinson and John Moore jun. went together, the news having reached them that he was failing. John Atkinson wrote in his testimony that he greatly rejoiced to see them, and that they would come so far. John Moore recorded in his that, frail as he was, his spiritual gifts were undiminished and his company stimulating. They took their leave ‘one of another in much Love and Tenderness,’ knowing, he said, that it was the last time they would meet together.

The practice of writing a testimony - an account of the life and work of a dead Friend - had begun in the mid-seventeenth century, and in the case of prominent Friends, would be used to preface a collection of their writings. A little leather-bound volume entitled ‘A Short Account of the Convincement, Gospel-Labours, Sufferings and Service of that Ancient and Faithful Servant and Minister of the Lord Jesus Christ, Samuel Watson,’ contains his testimonies and some of his writings, their publication in 1712 indicating his standing in the Society of Friends.

He had been ‘serviceable in the Truth’ for over fifty years. He had travelled in the ministry in the early, dynamic days, settling new meetings, taking part at the highest levels in the process of establishing a workable structure for the growing organisation. He had lived through the persecutions, taking severe physical punishment, patiently enduring lengthy imprisonments, suffering financially to the point of ruin for the testimony of a good conscience, yet emerging with faith and conviction as strong as ever. He outlived almost all the early leaders.

The testimonies tell of a man who was much loved by his friends and those who knew him; whose judgement was sound and his counsel valued; spiritually gifted, he brought comfort and inspiration by his writings and preaching; diligent in attendance at meeting, he was an example to others……..but he was human too: John Moore adds that he was of ‘stout spirit’ but had ‘learned to turn the other cheek.’

He made his will in the spring of 1708, making careful provision for his surviving family, and for poor Friends in Settle and Bentham meetings. His long industrious life came to an end in the autumn of the same year. To the people of Lancaster, in the market place three years before, he had said: ‘This exhortation I leave with you, Prize your precious time, be Single-hearted to your Creator.’ It could be his epitaph.


  • A Short Account of the Convincement, Gospel-labours and Sufferings of Samuel Watson, London: J. Sowle, 1712
  • Barclay, A.R., Letters etc. of Early Friends, London: 1841.
  • Bell E.A., Giggleswick School 1499-1912, Leeds: Richard Jackson, 1912
  • Besse, J., The Sufferings of Early Quakers, Sessions, York: 1998.
  • Boulton, D, Early Friends in Dent, Dales Historical Monographs, 1986
  • Braithwaite, W.C., The Second Period of Quakerism, London: Macmillan, 1921
  • Braithwaite, W.C., The Beginnings of Quakerism, London: Macmillan, 1923
  • Brayshaw, T., and Robinson, R.M., The History of the Ancient Parish of Giggleswick, London: Halton and Co, 1932
  • Brown, G.H., On Foot Round Settle, The Caxton Press: J.W.Lambert,1896
  • Brown,G.H., Richard Frankland, the Founder of the Rathmell Academy, The Caxton Press: J.W.Lambert,1912.
  • Cox, J.C., The Parish Church of Giggleswick-in-Craven, Leeds: Richard Jackson 1920
  • Dawson, W.H., History of Skipton, London:1882.
  • Grattan, J., Life of John Grattan, 1779
  • Hebdon R., A Plain Account of Roger Hebdon, 1700
  • Lambert, D.W., The Quiet in the Land, Epworth:1956
  • Moore, R., The Light in their Consciences: The Early Quakers in Britain 1646-1666, Pennsylvania State University Press: 2000
  • Nuttall G.F., Early Quaker Letters from the Swarthmoor MSS to 1660.
  • Raistrick A., Unpublished MS: Some notes on the History of Friends within the compass of Settle Monthly Meeting, with some detail of Skipton Preparative Meeting 1652-1952. Extract by Harland,R.
  • Rooksby, D.A., The Quakers in North-West England. Vol. 1 pub.Rooksby.
  • Taylor, E.E., The Valiant Sixty, Sessions, Ebor Press: 1988
  • Calendar of Letters, Friends' House Library.
  • Dictionary of Quaker Biography, unpublished transcript, Friends House Library.
  • Journal of Friends Historical Society, Vol. 2 p.35
  • Samuel Watson MSS Collection MS vol. 41, Friends House Library, London.
  • Staincliffe and Ewcross Wapentake Hearth Tax, Lady Day 1672 for Stainforth Township, Ripon Historical Society: 1992
  • Stute Book, Brayshaw Library, Giggleswick School.
  • Settle Monthly Meeting Minutes 1666-1853 CH/H1 Brotherton Library, Leeds.

  1. Taylor, The Valiant Sixty, pp. 108-9
  2. Brown , Richard Frankland,
  3. Brayshaw and Robinson, History of the Ancient Parish of Giggleswick. p.122
  4. A Short Account……of Samuel Watson, p. (x)
  5. Moore, The Light in their Consciences, p.13
  6. A Short Account…of Samuel Watson, p.(xi)
  7. ibid p. (iii)
  8. Boulton, Early Friends in Dent,p.22
  9. Besse, Sufferings of Early Quakers, p.97
  10. Calendar of Letters, p.95. Friends House Library.
  11. Braithwaite, Beginnings of Quakerism, p.140
  12. ibid.
  13. ibid. p.236
  14. ibid..p.231
  15. ibid. p. 228 n.6
  16. Braithwaite, The Second Period of Quakerism, p. 4
  17. Besse, Sufferings of early Quakers, p.101
  18. Braithwaite, The Second Period of Quakerism, p.9 ff.
  19. Besse, Sufferings of Early Quakers, p.132.
  20. NYCRO ZXF 1/6 317
  21. Besse, Sufferings of Early Quakers, p. 162
  22. Retrospectively recorded in Yearly Meeting Epistles 1681-1857
  23. Raistrick, Some notes on the history of Friends…..
  24. Braithwaite, The beginnings of Quakerism, p. 369
  25. CH/ H1 P.130. Settle Monthly Meeting Minutes, 7/3/1690.
  26. CH/H1 P.131 Settle Monthly Meeting Minutes 4/4/1690
  27. A Short Account ….of Samuel Watson, p.254
  28. CH/H1 p.210 Settle Monthly Meeting Minutes.

I am very grateful to the staff of the Brotherton Library (Quaker Collection) Leeds, of Friends’ House Library, London, and of Giggleswick School Library, for their patient help.

Special thanks are due to Friends of Blackburn Quaker Meeting, Lancashire, who, in 2001, found below a platform in the meeting house, an original (1712) copy of “A Short Account of the Convincement, Gospel-labours and Sufferings of Samuel Watson.” They presented it to Settle Meeting and so inspired this study.

The Stainforth packhorse bridge, rebuilt in 1675 by Samual Watson
who granted free passage across the river
Knight Stainforth Hall, home of Samuel Watson
and in his time licensed for Quaker meetings

The Stainforth packhorse bridge, rebuilt in 1675 by Samual Watson
who granted free passage across the river

Knight Stainforth Hall, home of Samuel Watson
and in his time licensed for Quaker meetings