1647-52   |   Preston-Patrick District   |   1654   |   England & Wales (large map)   |   Counties & Towns   |   Settlements in America, 1670s

Map with placenames highlighted where first Friends were active. area of Preston Patrick

A geographical sketch

George Fox was born and raised in a hamlet called Fenny-Dreyton, west of Leicester (marked in magenta, below the yellow). His early wanderings and desperate seekings, from about 1643-46, took him from town to town down into London and then back.

From about 1647, he began finding sympathetic groups and individuals in the East Midlands of England (yellow) -- Mansfield, Nottingham, Derby, and the Vale of Beavor. Elizabeth Hooten, from Skegby near Mansfield, was one of the first to join him who remained active with the movement in the decades afterwards.

As he gained conviction, his message developed, even as many around him began reaching for answers. In 1648-51 he made contact with several individuals who became important in the early Quaker movement -- most notably Richard Farnsworth and James Nayler -- in towns such as Balby, Tickhill and Wakefield, further north (orange). The name "Quaker" was first applied to this growing movement in about 1650. Fox himself went to prison for a year, for six months under charges of blasphemy as a suspected "Ranter," then another six months because he refused to serve in the Parliamentary army.

In 1651-52, after his release, Fox helped to build up the movement in the same areas as before, then ventured north into the north and east "ridings" of Yorkshire, where he found enthusiastic audiences. Then, in 1652 he and several others turned to the northwest of England, where they found an explosive readiness for the message that had been developed in the midlands.