This booklet has been issued by Grange Preparative Meeting to coincide with the Tercentenary Gatherings due to be held at Grange on 3rd and 4th of Ninth Month, 1960. It covers the period 1660-1960 and is the fulfilment of a desire which has existed at Grange for some time to know more accurately the history of our meeting.
We wish to place on record our gratitude to George R. Chapman, a former member of Grange and Richhill Monthly Meeting, and now of Portadown, who compiled the booklet. We also wish to acknowledge the helpful contributions given by J.R.H. Greeves of Belfast, who made available his "Manuscript History of the Greer and Greeves Families"; also the following friends - A. Henrietta Barcroft, Arthur G. Chapman, Albert Haydock Cummings, John M. Douglas, Olive C. Goodbody (Convenor of Historical Committee Ireland Yearly Meeting.) Aubrey A. Harding, Muriel Hicks, John S.W. Richardson, the Librarian Reference Library, Friends House, London, and the custodians of Quaker records in the Strong Room, Lisburn.
As we read the booklet we realist the sacrifices which had to be made and the obstacles which confronted the early Friends as they sought to establish the way of Worship which to-day means so much to many of us. As we give thanks to God for their foresight and perseverance and for our Quaker heritage, may we also seek His Blessing and Guidance for the future.
W. J. KENNETH HOBSON
Convener - Grange Tercentenary Committee
Eighth Month - 1960.
"Robert Turner having, about the year 1657, been instrumental to the convincement of a few who lived at Grange, near Charlemont in the Province of Ulster, this year, their numbers being considerably increased through the labours of other travelling Friends, a meeting was settled there." (1)
"1660 or 1662 a meeting was settled at Upper Grange near Charlemont." (2)
William Edmundson, the apostle of Quakerism to Ireland, had already been largely responsible for the commencement of several Friends Meetings in Ulster prior to this date. The first meeting was held in his own house in Lurgan in 1654. Others settled soon after were Ballyhagan, Toberhead (Co. Londonderry) and Lisnagarvey, also one or two meetings in Co. Antrim and Co. Cavan.
The missionary impulse of early Friends was very evident as a continuous stream of visiting minsters from England came with messages to strengthen those who were already "convinced" or to declare "truth" to any inquirers they could contact. It is just possible that William Edmundson and Richard Clayton (a visiting Friend from England) may have made an impact on some individuals living near Redford, Co. Tyrone, as Rutty tells us that in 1654 from Lurgan they travelled northwards on foot to Coleraine and Londonderry returning via Strabane, Omagh, Dungannon and Charlemont "publishing truth in the streets" of some of the towns and making contacts with those who would receive their message until they came to Margery Atkinson's house near Kilmore, Co. Armagh, where a meeting was settled later known as Ballyhagan (3) and moved to Richhill in 1793.
Grange is a common place name in Ulster, there are at least ten Granges in Co. Antrim and several others in Co. Armagh. To distinguish our Grange from Grange nearToomebridge, Co. Antrim (where a meeting was already established), Friends in Dublin called the farthest one, which was in the south west corner of Co. Antrim, north of Lough Neagh "Low Grange" and our Grange "Upper Grange".
The fort of Charlemont was an important military garrison, guarding as it did the lower waters of the Blackwater River and the approach road to Co. Tyrone. Round this fort the town of Charlemont clustered and on the northern side of the river is Moy founded in 1764. In the early Quaker records our Grange is frequently referred to as "Grange near Charlemont" or "The Meeting beyond Charlemont".
Since the beginning of the seventeenth century conditions in Ireland had been very unsettled. The flight of the Earls followed by the Plantation of Ulster when English and Scottish Protestant settlers were given grants of land provided they fulfilled certain conditions. The rebellion of 1641, centred chiefly in Co. Tyrone, was a determined attempt by the natives to regain control, and its subsequent overthrow left the country unsettled and impoverished and life generally was very difficult for the new settlers. It was from among them that the first converts to the new Quaker movement were drawn.
The rebellion of 1641 in Ireland was associated with the Great Civil War in England and Scotland, so that fighting did not cease until the last Castle surrendered in Co. Cavan in 1653. It was estimated that more than half the population of our island perished during those terrible twelve years of fighting, slaughter, starvation and plague. When the early Friends accepted the tenets of Christian pacifism from George Fox, they were not ignorant of the terrors of war, they had seen its results only too closely.
A resort to arms had taken place in all three countries to settle disputes that concerned religion as well as political power. During those twelve years the first Quaker worshippers at Grange had seen three strong churches overthrown, Anglican, Roman and Scottish. They themselves had mostly been brought up underthe Church of England, and obliged by lawto attend its services. They had lived to see its two chiefmen, the King and the Archbishop (4) tried and executed, and the prayer book service forbidden to be read in public under legal penalties, and so those who began to meet regularly here 300 years ago prayed not only for sins forgiven, but also for new courage to meet the difficulties of life. They also prayed that Christ would show them, when all great men and churches seemed to have collapsed, what kind of church and worship He would have them follow.
It seems clear that they were showing real courage in setting up their separate meeting in the Restoration year. King Charles II, before leaving Holland, had promised freedom to tender consciences. It was not known how this would be interpreted by the new Government. In fact, not so long after the King's return, the outbreak of the Fifth Monarchy Rising in England caused the authorities to arrest large numbers of Nonconformists on suspicion. Among these we find, according to Fuller's Sufferings, that 124 Quakers were imprisoned in Ireland in 1660,135 in the following year, but in 1662, only 47. As no list of names has been preserved, we do not know if any Grange Friends were among them. Possibly the new meeting was not well known to the authorities. I n any case the fact that they did not postpone setting up their meeting until more peaceful times is a proof of their courage.
One of the first members of Grange Meeting was Henry Greerof Alnwick in Northumberland, who with his wife Mary (nee Turner) settled at Redford near Grange, Co. Tyrone in 1653. Their house was near where the road from Dungannon to Moy passes over the River Rhone (a tributary of the Blackwater). (5) There is no record when they actually became Friends, but it may be assumed that it was after they came to live in Ireland. Henry and Mary Greer (or Greeves) were the ancestors of a family which played a considerable part in the life of Grange Meeting over three centuries and are still represented in the meeting and in the Quarterly Meeting.
Amongst other Friends connected with the meeting in the early days were (surnames only), Whiteside, Whitsitt, Forde, Mallon, Rigg or Riggs, Holden, Purdy, Hill, Sheppard, Rawlins, Simmons, Francis, Furnace, Boyd, Hobson, Haydock, Pillar, Calvert, Shaw, Douglas, Stockdale, Richardson, Jones, Courtney, Swenarton, Kerr, Marshall, Marsh, Laurence, Webb.
The very early records of Grange Meeting have not been preserved and so it is not possible to trace in detail the very early history of the meeting. From what references are available it seems pretty certain that those who were "convinced" in and around Grange were members of a closely knit community and most of the first families associated with the meeting intermarried amongst themselves. Two of the early members of the Meeting at Grange William Stockdale (6) a Friend in the ministry, and Thomas Francis, removed their dwelling from Charlemont to the city of Londonderry to encourage and help those who had been convinced and were meeting together there. They remained there for about two years and Rutty tells us "those who had been convinced in that place proved like the stony ground in the parable, soon withering; and the said two Friends being discouraged from staying, returned to their former place of abode so the meeting (in Londonderry) ceased." (7)
One of Friends earliest testimonies was against the payment of tithes or other Church dues and payment in kind was forcibly taken in lieu of the amount levied. It frequently happened that what was taken was in excess of this amount, but Friends do not appear to have offered any violent opposition to such seizure of property as it was part of their teaching to offer the other cheek (8), but it must have been very tantalising to see the hard earned fruits of their labour taken in this way. It was one of the duties of the meeting to collect and record the sufferings of Friends in respect of non-payment of tithes or for some of their other testimonies. The following extracts will suffice to show what it meant to be a Friend in the early days.
(Friends Records, Dublin)
1666 - Thomas Baker being indicted at Dungannon Assizes for not coming to the public worship was, by Judge Alexander ordered to remain in prison without bails or mainprize.
1670 - Thomas Sawyer for not paying sevenpence to the repair of the seats and glass windows of the parish worship house of Benburb had taken from him, a pewter dish worth two shillings, also William Stockdale for 2d had a pair of potthooks worth 4d. Thomas Baker for 8d had taken a pan worth one shilling, John Whitsitt for 7d a bridle; Thomas Francis for 2.1- lost a mare worth 10/-; John Sheppardfor4d had a spitt and cheesefatt taken; Thomas Francis had taken 11 stooks of wheat and rye, 2 cartloads of hay worth 14/-.
1671 -John Ball was fined because "he could not for conscience sake draw timber to build the worship house of Ardmagh."
1673 - Henry Greeves, gives this report of his experiences - "and in the seventh month, the said Conry (the tythemonger) came and forcibly entered into the stackyard of the said Henry and threw down his corn stack, taking there wont his pleasure; and one of the said Henry's sons taking one of their horses by the bridle, said he could find in his heart to take them to the pound. The said Conry came behind him and knockt him down with his sword in the scabard, and afterwards the same day the said Conry got into his barn and took thence what corn he pleased."
1677 - Mary Greeves, widow, had taken from her 7 stooks of wheat, 6M> stooks of barley and 9 stooks of oats worth 13/-.
1679 - John Sheppard for eightpence, demanded for the repair of parish worship-house of Benburb, one brass candlestick and pan worth 6 shillings.
1685 - Thomas Francis had taken from him by Stephen Richardson, called Churchwarden, 2 pieces of soap worth sixpence. Isabell Shepherd, widow, by the said Stephen Richardson, 5 hanks of yarn, worth 2/6.
1688 - John Ford was expected to pay "for sprinkling (though his child was never sprinkled by them)"
The following minutes of the Quarterly Meeting refer to members of Grange Meeting who were persecuted for non-payment of tithes.
Account given that several Friends belonging to Charlemont Meeting were taken with a warrant and sent to Omagh gaol for their testimoney against Tythes but by ye favour of ye gaoler there, because of a raging fever in ye gaol at y-t time (of which several died) gave them liberty to go home till he would send for them: and several more of y-t meeting are under ye like persecution for small matters, ye greater being taken; and also severe taking of tythes in several other places, particularly upon Friends of Ballinderry meeting, account where of is desired may be sent in ye Epistle to ye half years meeting.
Account given y-t those Friends who were prisoners in Omagh goal for their testimony against tythes, continue at liberty as acco-t was given at last province meeting.
Account from Friends of Charlemont Meeting who were desired to continue their care in doing the needful concerning ye Friends of their meeting who were prosecuted on account of their testimony against tythes, that since last meeting ye Friends who were prosecuted were summonsed to prison, and Thomas Greer and John Haydock prepared and went 20th inst. as Friends upon inquiry do find, and think to submit themselves to confinement, and William Powell went also but did not appear with intent of being confined, because he offered to pay what was charged upon him, but it being rejected without ye whole sum for ye three was paid together, so rather ye aforesaid Powell would be liable to be put in prison, he with another man not of our profession understanding y-t a young man whom they knew had some money about him, laid hands upon him and took money out of his pockett to make up ye whole which they paid which is ye manner of Friends having their liberty and supposed may not y-t suit be again troubled or prosecuted, but faithful Friends are very much troubled, y-t they should be discharged after such a manner, which is owing to ye said William Powell's unfaithfulness in his pretended testimony against paying tythes so y-t Friends of Charlemont meeting are desired to deal with ye said William for ye same and pass judgement upon him as an unfaithful professor of truth.
Why did the early Friends object so strongly to the tithe system? Not merely because it was unfair that they, along with Presbyterian and Romanist peasants had to pay this tax for the upkeep of clergy and buildings for the Established Church which they refused to attend. In addition they thought that all preaching and ministry depended for its value on a definite call from God. At best the tithes seemed to be used to entice young men from the universities into the Church in order to earn an easy living. At worst the tithes went to some absentee cleric, or to some layman who made a profit for himself. All this was very far from the Christ-centered Church they caught a glimpse of in the New Testament. Had not Christ's coming put an end to the Temple priesthood and sacrifices? The Gospel was free to all. Therefore to demand or pay compulsory tithe was almost a blasphemy.
In 1680 all Friends in Ireland were asked to write down their objections to payment of tithe individually. 780 answers were recorded in a large book in Dublin (9) including 21 men and 19 women from the meeting near Charlemont. As this is the oldest list of Grange Friends, the names are copied in alphabetical order.
Thomas and Margaret Baker.
John Forde. Anne Furnace.
Thomas and Elizabeth Francis.
Robert, Mary, and Mary Greer.
John and Blanch Holden.
Richard and Alice Jones.
Thomas and Annie Marshall.
Richard and Elizabeth Mason.
William and Elizabeth Purdy.
John Rigg, Elizabeth Riggs, George Rigg, Jr.
John and Isabel Shepperd.
Will and Hannah Sirhmons.
William and Jane Stockdale.
John, Susannagh, William, Elizabeth, Alice Whiteside.
John and Judith Webb.
The difficult years of the reign of James 11 and the events leading up to the Battle of the Boyne must have caused much anxiety to the peaceful farmers connected with Grange Meeting. Lawlessness was abroad; many houses were burned and pillaged and Friends suffered considerable material loss but their lives were generally spared. "Near Charlemont in the County of Tyrone, Friends generally kept their places, and particularly John Whiteside (Dreemore), whose family wonderfully escaped the hands of cruelty with their lives, being in imminent danger often by the Rapparees and dwelling between two garrisons, one English and the other Irish, who had hot disputes, killing each other at his very house, and once there were 700 Irish to 60 English and French by computation, one of his outhouses was burnt, and he and his son lying sick in another so near, that it was admirable both it and they were not burnt, and yet the Irish were forced to withdraw who plundered Friends and burnt their houses." (10)
One young Friend lost his life at this time (1689) "Thomas Greer third son of Henry Greer already referred to who lived at Bedford with his mother, lost his life by a shot into his mother's house in the night, by a parcel of Rapparees coming to rob the house as was supposed; and Friends of Ulster have left this testimony concerning the said Thomas Greer, "that he was an honest Friend and zealous for Truth." (11)
Friends in England were very concerned that their fellow members on this side were called to suffer so much material loss and £600 was forwarded to Ireland to assist in relieving some of the distress. This was in addition to £150 which was sent direct to Ulster Friends and a further £1,060 sent in 1692 which was evenly distributed to each Province. A letter of thanks was sent for this generous help but requesting that no further help of this nature should be sent. Rutty says "In those calamitous times were Friends very nearly united in affection; and even from the Friends of Barbadoes there was £100 sent for relief." (12)
As we approach the end of the century, we see that life was becoming more settled. The "Williamite Wars" were over, persecution of Friends was dying down; the first generation of Quaker settlers had passed or was passing and the second had married and become firmly established. To the normal occupation of farming was often added the pursuits of spinning and weaving in linen or wool, and many of the wills of the period mention looms as legacies.
George Fox only visited Ireland on one occasion (1669) and this lasted for three months. He was accompanied by four other Friends from England and together with William Edmundson who was now living at Rosenallis, near Mountmellick, they visited most of the meetings both North and Soth and encouraged the setting up of Monthly and Provincial Meetings for discipline. William Edmundson says "that faithful men and women should take care in the government of Church affairs, among our own Society which were and are of great service. I was much eased by it as I told George Fox at the time, for I had a great concern in those things which had lain heavy on my spirit for several years before; this gave every faithfull Friend a share of the burden." (13) It is impossible to accurately trace his itinerary in Ulster although Isabel Grubb has endeavoured to do so in a recent article. (14). and it is generally assumed that the meeting at Grange near Charlemont received a visit and that Men's and Women's Monthly Meetings were set up at this time.
The earliest minute book at present in existence of the Men's Meeting dates from 1726 and from it we glean some of the matters that came before this meeting over 200 years ago. They were frequently concerned with helping poor Friends and one of the earliest minutes refers to repairing the house of a widow connected to the meeting. Other minutes record providing financial help in cases of necessity. Signs of falling away from the strict rules of the Society are apparent, however, even at this early period and these become more numerous as the century advances. Amongst the Society of Friends marriage was always regarded as a solemn undertaking; and great care was exercised to prevent the possibility of scandal. Those contemplating marriage were required to give at least six months notice to the local meeting. Committees were then appointed whose business it was to make suitable investigation and report back to the Monthly Meeting.
One of these Committees made discreet inquiries regarding the would be bridgegroom, making sure he had led a blameless life and that there were no entanglements that might debar him from entering into the sacred relationship. He had the privilege of choosing a life partner, but there must be paternal consent before a marriage could take place. The Women's Committee acted in a similar manner regarding the bride. Final consent from the Provincial Meeting was also necessary and after notice of the intended marriage had been given out at two meetings for worship and other things being in order, the wedding day was fixed (usually at a midweek meeting for worship). These Committees remained in off ice until after the wedding, making all necessary arrangements especially regarding the procedure before and after the wedding that everything was carried out with moderation and decorum and witnessed. In the records of Grange Meeting there are frequent references to such disciplinary proceeding regarding marriages; many of which were solemnised in the old Meeting House.
The above was the procedure when the marriage was between members of the Society and carried out according to their usages. A very dim view was taken of any Friends who so far deviated from Truth as to allow their affections to be drawn out towards a member of another denomination and for the wedding to be accomplished by a "Priest (or minister) in a church". Invariably a minute of disunity with such followed and Grange in common with other meetings of this period must have lost very many valuable young people in this way, including members of the leading families in the meeting. In some instances they acknowledged their fault and continued to attend meeting and were later reinstated, but this seems to have been the exception rather than the rule.
Economic conditions in Ulster were difficult during the early 18th century and some of the more adventurous young people had their minds directed to the New World and to William Penn's new colony where all men were to be free to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience. William Penn had special links with Ireland and had on several occasions spent some time here in connection with his father's estates. When over in 1669 he had successfully used his influence to procure the release of Friends who were imprisoned at this time and so he was known to Irish Friends and they had the greatest confidence in him. (15). They were among the first to whom he opened his Pennsylvania project, for on March 5th, 1681, the very next day after his Charter was signed, he writes his friend Robert Turner, a Quaker of Dublin, stating that his province has been confirmed and adds: "Thou mayest communicate my graunt to Friends, and expect shortly my proposals."
Robert Turner was a prosperous Quaker merchant in Dublin who had already been financially interested in the settlement of the new colony of New Jersey. Some doubt seems to exist as to whether he was the same Robert Turner who was instrumental in commencing Grange Meeting. If he was the same, then there is a strong link through him with Pennsylvannia, as he and his family emigrated from Dublin in 1683 bringing with them 17 indentured servants, some of whom may have come from Grange.
Emigration and persecution, coupled with a tendency on the part of the younger members of the Society for a less strict, and more fashionable creed, tended to reduce the meeting. Even in the matter of emigration Friends might not act on their own judgement, but in preparing to emigrate it was usual to give due notice to the meeting and request their approval for such action. The meeting had to be satisfied that it was not running away from persecution which had driven them to this step. If they were satisfied on this point two Friends were appointed to draw up a certificate indicating that the bearer was a member in good standing, etc. The following specimen certificate will sufficiently indicate the nature of these proceedings.
"From our Monthly Meeting of men and women Friends held at Grange Near Charlemont in the North of Ireland ye 2 of 4 mo. 1736. To Friends and Brethren of Pennsylvania or elsewhere in America Greeting.
Dear Friends whereas our friend Joshua March (Marsh) and his Wife Did Acquaint us Some Time Ago that they had a mind to transport themselves and family to Pennsylvania or Some place in America and Desires of us a Certificate we therefore Do Certify that He the S-d Joshua and.his Wife was of an orderly Life and good Conversation Both amongst us their Brethren as amongst their Neighbours where they Dwelt and now Leaveth us in Unity they had also the privilege of Sitting in our Meeting of Disapline likewise their three children Viz. Jonathan Peter and Abigail were of Orderly Lives and Conversation whilst here and is free from marriage or any Entanglement that way and all the Above friends have left this place free from Debts or Defraud to any man and we have Cause to hope and believe that they will So behave themselves for ye future y-t they may Deserve ye Religious notice and care of friends for their good.
Signed by order and on behalf of our Sd. Meeting by -
|Mary Greer||Eliz. Dawson||James Pillar||Jacob Marshall|
|Eliz. Greer||Abigail Gray||James Dawson||Jno. Whitsitt|
|Abigail King||Ruth Delapp||Francis Robson||Thomas Greer|
|Mary Pow||Thos. Nichalson||Sam-l Gray||Jho. Griffith|
|Ann Sloan||Joseph Kerr||Jona-t Richardson||Israel Thompson|
|Mary Pillar||Benj-a Marshill||William Gray||Wm. Vance|
On occasion it was necessary to give assistance to needy emigrant members. An instance of this is found in the minutes of Grange Preparative Meeting held 2 Month 3rd, 1741.
"Patrick Holm and his wife also Hugh Kenedy and his family having Laid before our meeting their Intention of Removing to America, they being poor friends and in want of help therefore this meeting agrees that William Delap doe Lay out ye Sum of fifteen pounds Ster to help to pay their fraughts and other necessaries for ye Jurnay untill he be paid ye Same out of ye Interest Left to poor friends of this meeting also John Whitsit James Pillar William Delap Thos. Greer and Benj-n Marshill are Desired to Draw Suitable Certificates for ye Sd. Hugh Kennedy and for Jacob Hinshaw and his wife who intends ye Same Journy."
The cost of the passage varied somewhat according to the time but was about £9 each. It is likely the majority of Quaker emigrants to the New World went the hard but cheap way as indentured labourers. That is, their passage was paid for by their first employer, but they in return had to give three years of unpaid labour.
It is estimated that during the years 1682 to 1750 over 2,000 Irish Friends went to Pennsylvania and of these 41 went from Grange, the greatest number from any Northern meeting. The names of some of the emigrants are as follows:-
|William Stockdale 1684
John and Mary Miller and family 1709
Thomas and Sara Garnett
Joseph Garnett 1711
Francis Hobson 1712
George Marsh 1727
Jonathan and Mary Garnett 1727
John Griffith and son Christopher 1729
Solomon Sheppard 1730
Thomas Wilson; John and Elizabeth Marsh; Joshua and Elizabeth Marsh and children Jonathan, Peter and Abigail-1736
Isaac Pigon 1737
Joseph Whitsitt 1738
Robert Whinery 1738
Thomas Bulla; William Sheppard 1739
George Wilson 1740
John Law; Hugh Canady 1741
Jacob and Rebecca Henshaw 1741
William and Elizabeth Vance 1741
Thomas Courtney 1742
John Marshall, son of Jacob Marshall Jr. 1742
Thomas Wilson and family 1742
William Pillar 1765
Elizabeth Wright 1774
From time to time the Men's meeting had to take disciplinary action against some of their members who failed to walk circumspectly. The following extracts from the minutes will give some indication of things that caused them concern.
This meeting being informed that James Knight a young man who some time ago was admitted a member of this meeting by Certificate from England has run so far contrary to the profession he made as to fight a duel with pistles with another young man which being a matter of publick reproach this meeting desires Thomas Whitfield and John Webb to visit him and endeavour to bring him to sence of so great a transgression and report of next mens meeting.
The report of the visit was not received till 4 Month 9th, 1779, and is as follows:
"The Friends appointed to deal with James Knight report that they did visit and deal with him on account of his said misconduct afore said. That he appeared to be and expressed sorrow for the same, said Friends also produced to this meeting a paper of condemnation from him which being read and considered Friends are of the judgement that it will be best to lay it by for the present to give opportunity of proving how far his future life and conversation may correspond therewith. The said two Friends are desired to acquaint him thereof."
It was a cautiously worded minute and apparently his future life was satisfactory as his name does not come before the meeting again.
"On reading and answering the Third Query concerning putting into practice the rules of our Discipline when anything appears amiss a fear has arose that all in profession with us do not stand clear of drinking to excess. Its desired that when any faithful Friend or Friends observe any in profession with us deviate from the line of moderation and transgress therein that they inform the overseers thereof that such offenders may be duly dealt with for their help and recovery and that when repeated labours with such does not have the desired effect the meeting may be acquainted thereof in order that such disorderly walkers may be further dealt with."
The original meeting house at Grange was a low thatched building which may have been sited where the present caretaker's house now stands. Frequent references are made in the minutes to having it re-thatched. (16).
The accommodation provided for a growing meeting was soon found to be inadequate and various proposals were made as to a site for a new meeting house as the following minutes show.
"As this meeting house is much out of repair and most of our Friends think it would answer better to have a House built near the Redford this meeting therefore desires that Joseph Calvert, William Dawson and Joseph Marshall to speak to Thos. Knox, Esq. and see if he will grant a lease for ever of a convenient piece of ground to build a House on and for a park and on what terms he will let Friends have it and return account to next meeting."
The result was as follows:
"According to a former appointment of this meeting some Friends were desired to speak to Thos. Knox for a piece of ground to build a Meeting House on nigh the Red Ford which accordingly they did and he was so kind as to make a proposal to give a convenient piece of ground in the town of Dungannon and a lease renewable for ever also to subscribe Ten Guineas and his son five towards building a Meeting House on said ground which proposal Friends of this meeting having considered of and as it will be convenient for several Friends of this Meeting with hopes there may be a service in building a Meeting House in said town. This meeting therefore agrees to build said house forty feet long, twenty four feet wide and twelve feet high in the side wall with stone and lime with a sleat roof, and to have it finished in the inside in a decent becoming manner and as several Friends have already subscribed towards building said House such Friends have not yet done it are desired to be generous in their subscriptions in order that as much money as can may be raised towards said house and we desire William Delap and Thos. Greer to apply to Thos. Knox for a lease and take same in trust for Friends of this Meeting and the said two Friends together with William Dawson and Joseph Calvert are desired to lay in materials for said house this summer in order that it may be built next Spring and said Friends are desired to oversee the work and order things to the best advantage and when said House is finished this meeting agrees to hold the meeting First Day and week day about in due course at this Meeting House and in said House to be built in Dungannon with this settled rule that there is not two meetings to be held at the same time in said two Houses untill a further alteration or general agreement as Friends upon increase of number or other way may think proper to alter said rule and also it is unanimously agreed this Meeting House be upheld and kept in good repair as long as it can and when there is occasion to build a new House in this place or th neighbourhood adjacent that Friends then join and build said House and the meeting to continue to be held First and week day about as in the interm after Dungannon Meeting House is finished."
No further reference to the proposed Meeting House in Dungannon can be found in the minutes and it must be concluded that this project was not proceeded with. The next reference to building a meeting house informs us it was decided to build at Grange and undoubtedly this building is the old meeting House which is now used for First Day evening meeting and Monthly Meetings etc.
The minute is as follows:
"Our next Preparative Meeting is to be the 25th inst. where all the heads of families of this meeting are desired to attend in order to have a Conference in regard to the building a new Meeting House."
"Whereas James Lord Viscount Charlemont has been so kind as to grant us a lease of this house and park and also the graveyard, for three lives in the name of Wm. Greer, and Thomas Greer, the rent a pepper corn if demanded to build a new house, we think proper to take a list of Friends names that is willing to subscribe towards the building of said house which is desired may be forty feet long, twenty four feet wide in the clear and twelve feet high inside wall and Friends of ability are desired to be generous in their subscriptions."
"Whereas this meeting concludes to build a Meeting House about the bigness before mentioned of brick and as it is time to raise the clay John Douglas and Jonas Shaw with the assistance of Thomas and James Greer are desired to agree with proper persons and set the work forward as fast as possible."
"It being the unanimous mind of Friends present that it will be necessary and most convenient for to have our Meeting House, now building, covered with shingles Thos. Greer is therefore desired to prepare seven thousand and a half shingles for said purpose and if there should be a deficiency between the money already subscribed and the expense of said house when finished it is concluded that a second subscription be entered upon to clear off the charge which Friends present agree to."
"A subscription being entered in to build a house at the East of the Meeting House 171/z ft. square from out to out for the convenience of holding our Womens Meeting's and other occasions and a part of the money being paid in, Jas. Morton is desired to collect the remainder and procure further subscriptions and Joseph Webb, James Pillar, Wm. JAiilliamson, Wm. Greer, and Thomas Greer and desired to carry the same into execution in the best way and manner they can.
"As by a former minute of this meeting Friends agreed to build a small building for the accommodation of our Women Friends at the East end of this Meeting House, but as at several Province Meetings of late so many Friends and others attended that there was not room in the Meeting House for all that came. This meeting taking the matter into consideration conclude it will be best to make an addition of about 20 feet square to the North side of this house so fixed in such a manner as to serve for enlarging the same upon public occasions and also for the use of Women Friends. The Friends before appointed are desired to set about the same work without delay."
"The Friends as before appointed to get the addition to the Meeting House built are urged to get the same finished against the Province Meeting aod-Friends who have not paid their subscriptions towards it are to pay them to Thos. Greer who is to advance what may be wanting to discharge the full expense on this meetings account.
The undernotted Minute indicates the close bonds which united Friends on both sides of the Atlantic following the War of Independence in America and subscriptions were taken up to relieve the sufferings of Friends there.
"There being a recommendation from last Province Meeting to the sundry meetings to join with Friends of the other Provinces and Friends of England in raising by subscription such amount as can be conveniently done towards the relief of our suffering brethren in Pennsylvania and other parts of America many of whom have been brought into deep distress by the calamitious war for some time past amongst them. The following subscription is for said purpose which Thos. Greer and John Willcocks are desired to collect against the Quarterly Meeting.
|Thos. Greer||£6||16||6||Thos. Boardman||£2||5||6|
|John Willcocks||3||8||3||W. Williamson|
|William Heather||3||8||3||I. Christy||1||2||9|
|James Greer||2||5||6||W. Pike||2||16||6|
|James Pillar||1||2||9||Robt. Greer||2||5||6|
|James Webb||2||5||6||James Haddock|
|William Greeves||3||8||3||Jacob Haddock||0||11||6|
|Isaac Haydock||1||2||9||John Webb Junr.||1||2||9|
The Meeting at Grange declined in numbers, partly owing to the strict discipline then in force, but mainly owing to doctrinal differences which caused such havoc among the meeting of Friends in Ulster at this time. Another factor may have been the advance of Methodism and the visits of John Wesley to the district, followed by the formation of the Charlemont Circuit in 1781 with a considerable membership. It is recorded that in 1785 James Heather, Killyman, was appointed as a Methodist preacher. He originally belonged to the Society of Friends and is described by Dr. Coke as "Nine parts Methodist and one a Quaker". (17). Responsible Friends could not be found to maintain the meetings for discipline so it was considered advisable for the meeting to be linked to Lurgan Monthly Meeting in 1779. This arrangement continued till 1809 when Grange Monthly Meeting was reconstituted and comprised the meetings of Grange and Cootehill. Owing to the remoteness of the latter and difficulty of travel it was not possible to have much intercourse between the two meetings and while Grange increased from this time, Cootehill declined. Castleshane Meeting had already faded out as had Ballyhaise and Oldcastle Meetings, and so Grange became a Quaker outpost in Co. Tyrone having Richhill as its nearest neighbour.
It is interesting to observe the comments made by visiting Quaker ministers in their Journals regarding the Meeting at Grange and some extracts are given as follows:
John Griffith a visiting Friend and eminent Minister from Witham Monthly Meeting in the county of Essex, came to Grange Meeting in 1760 and wrote as follows:
"From Castleshane I went to Thomas Greers at Dungannon and on the 23rd had a large meeting at Charlemont where I was concerned to declare truth as utterance was given in a very close searching manner, not without sharp rebukes to such who by defiling liberties had brought an ill savour and caused the way of truth to be evil spoken of. My mind was comfortably relieved after the service of this meeting was over, being discharged of a heavy load."
I had good satisfaction in the Monthly Meeting at Grange near Charlemont, both in the public and in the more select part. There is a little living remnant of valuable Friends belonging to that Monthly Meeting. 22nd, we had a good meeting among Friends and others, at Ballyhagan; next day a relieving one at Moy; and 25th, the fore and afternoon meetings at Grange were large and highly favoured as was that held next day at the Presbyterian meeting house in Dungannon. The doctrines of the everlasting Gospel, in most of the meetings in the North, flowed like oil upon the spirits of the people; 27th, We had a meeting at a place called Cabragh among a few Friends and a pretty many Presbyterians. In this meeting gospel truths flowed somewhat largely, in a gentle current of life to the people; but there was too little of a door of entrance into their hearts to admit of any great dominion of the life Divine among them."
"Was at William Pike's, with whom we went to Dungannon, a considerable town, and visited T. Greer Jun. and his family. About eighteen months past they removed to this town, having before lived at a beautiful farm some miles off, but were obliged to leave it, in consequence of being in much danger from rioters. One evening, seven persons came with their faces blacked and otherwise disguised, armed with pistols, etc. under pretence of searching for guns, but abused the family, robbed them of two watches and above one hundred guineas; which had such an effect on his wife, that she has not yet got over it. Had a public meeting, at which, through a wet evening, there were about seven hundred present, and it proved a favoured season - many soldiers and officers attended, several of whom were much affected."
"Fourth day attended Monthly Meeting at Lisburn, after which Thomas Haughton drove me back to Lurgan. Sixth day role to Richhill to attend an appointed meeting there which was large; it proved an exercising meeting, yet to me a relieving one. In the afternoon I rode to Rhone Hill, to Thomas Greer's. Seventh day attended Charlemont Monthly Meetng held at Upper Grange. The Destroyer has made some work in this meeting through unsound principles ... The business of the Monthly Meeting was agreeable conducted. First-day attended meeting here. I had many invitations to the houses of those who have seceded; but it appeared safest for me to keep to my quarters lest my example should encourage the young people to go astray."
"First day morning rode to Upper Grange, and later attended Meeting there which was large. Taking a circuitous route to Rhone Hill to call on two young people (who had separated themselves from the Society) and on entering their abode they received us kindly.
We reached our kind Friend Thomas Greers this evening and proposed to Friends to visit families of members and attenders of Grange Meeting, which being united with, we proceeded therein. First day mornng the meeting was large, but a time of deep inward exercise. I felt under difficulty in opening my mouth from a sense given me there were those present who might be compared to evil spies to catch at what might be offered and to make a handle of it to uphold their own unsoundness of principle.... Fourth day attended the midweek meeting, after which their Preparative meeting was held.
First day morning: this was a solemn parting meeting with most present; many of the young people were melted into tears.... Second day, closed this arduous engagement. In the afternoon we left my kind friend Thomas Greer's. Went to Richhill this evening."
At Jonathan Richardson's, Lisburn, 3 Mo. 4th, 1827.
Was accompanied at this time by his sister Elizabeth Fry.
"Fifth day morning at Armagh, was highly interesting. It is a fine inland town. We visited the county jail and found a peculiarly open door for intercourse with the prisoners, the first time this has happened to us in Ireland .... Thence to Richhill where a large meeting of Friends and others were assembled at two o'clock: I believe to a good purpose as the gospel was fully preached and gladly received. That night we reached Rhone Hill near Grange where we were kindly entertained by an interesting family of Friends and on sixth day morning we held a large meeting at Grange. It was to me a time of deep exercise of mind. These were the parts in which Friends were once so led away by infidelity and their present state reminded me of the condition of the Jews after they came back from Babylon .... Though there seemed a strong hope of revival and two young people have lately begun to minister there. After a tedious journey we reached this place (Lisburn) on sixth day evening."
I have culled the following from the "Life of Stephen Grellet" as indicating the influence he had in awakening among Friends a concern that resulted in the establishment of Brookfield School, in 1836. S. Grellet writes in 1833.
"The Quarterly Meting for the Province of Ulster was held at Grange. I felt deeply for Friends there, and for the people who collected at a meeting for worship; many are descendants of parents who were members of our religious Society, but from one cause or another have lost their membership, they and their poor children are scattered, like sheep that have no shepherd, they belong to no religious denomination, and appear to grow up in great ignorance. I lamented deeply over them, seeing how numerous they are; I nevertheless believe that the crook of the Redeemer's love is extended towards them to gather them within His fold. I trust also that my sufferings and labours for that class will not be lost; several dear and valuable Friends appear to have their hearts enlarged in Christian love towards them and means are devising to extend suitable care to them."
Soon after the Monthly Meeting at Grange was recommenced the need was felt for a larger Meeting House which could accommodate the increased numbers now attending (many of whom were not in membership), and also to provide room for special gatherings such as Quarterly Meetings, etc. A Committee was appointed, at a meeting held on 18th 10 Mo. 1809 to prepare plans, get estimates and receive subscriptions. This committee was as follows: William Greer, William Heather, Joseph Boardman, Thomas Greer, William Greeves, Lawrence Hobson, and they reported to the Monthly Meeting on several occasions. At the meeting held 23rd 5 Mo. 1810, the amount subscribed was £261 1s T'/zd, and it was decided to invest this till required. A minute of the Monthly Meeting held 26th 2 Mo. 1812, is as follows:
"William Heather, Lawrence Hobson and Thos. Greer having made sundry repairs about our parks and graveyard as formerly appointed, they and George Willcocks are desired to get the present stable made into a house suitable for a small family to reside in to take care of the premises and to erect a stable instead thereof, or make such other alterations as may be necessary for these purposes, and for the accommodation of our woman friends previous to the building of the new meeting house which Friends have agreed to postpone the building off to another season."
The last minute regarding subscriptions for building the meeting house was at a Monthly Meeting held on 20th 9th Mo. 1815, and is as follows. "In the hope that Friends of this Monthly Meeting may in the course of next year build such addition to this meeting house as may be necessary without the aid of subscriptions from those that are not members of this meeting, as to such aid some of our subscribers object, therefore we now agree not to receive any aid from others and if such is hereinafter insisted upon and received, in that case any friend of our Monthly Meeting shall have liberty of withdrawing the subscriptions he has already or may hereafter make and we now appoint William Greer, Thomas Greer, Jacob Whitf ield and Thomas Greer, Junr., to endeavour in the course of this year to make necessary alterations in order to prepare for building a new addition to this house next year."
There is a gap in the records of the meeting between 1816 and 1824 and it was during this period when the present Meeting House was built, probably during the years 1816 to 1818 as a piece of land containing 1 rood was purchased in 1818 for £20 described as opposite the New Meeting House. (18).
The building which was erected at this time served its purpose well and is still in weekly use. The only major repairs so far required was to the roof, and this was carried out in the manner recommended by the architect consulted at a cost of £251-0-0 in the summer of 1951. (19)
The Summer Quarterly Meeting in June came to be held at Grange and this became a biennial event which was looked forward to and prepared for with keen anticipation and at one period it continued leisurely over part of four days. The largest gatherings were, of course, on the Sunday, when the whole district seemed to turn out and in addition excursion trains were even run! Many of those who came in this way had little interest or knowledge of Friends' mode of worship and came rather to enjoy the outward amenities rather than to partake of a spiritual feast. All this was rather embarrassing to Friends and such excessively large gatherings were discouraged. James N. Richardson has pictured for us in a delightful manner a Quarterly Meeting held at Grange in 1882 where important issues were debated and the leading Friends of that time are sketched with insight and imagination. (20)
|"For sweet is Grange in summer
And 'neath its foliage green
O gentle stranger, thow may'st gaze
On many a sylvan scene
Close to the place of gathering
Are cots and sheepfolds seen
And meadow lands and emerald flax
And apple orchards green.
> And while the deep 'Blackwater
Rolls past the Charlemont Hill
May Grange in month of June
Behold the Quakri still"
One of the families which played a considerable part in the life of Grange Meeting during the last hundred years or so were the Barcroft family. The first member of this family to come to Ireland was Major William Barcroft who was an officer in Cromwell's army. He afterwards settled in Kings County and became a Friend, and it was a descendant, John Barcroft who settled at Bedford near Grange; other members of the family lived at Stangmore. The last Friend of the name who was actively connected with Grange was Sarah Barcroft of Stangmore Lodge, she was a Recorded Minister and "a mother in Israel" to the meeting. She died in 1926 and a testimony to the Grace of God in her life was prepared by the Monthly Meeting.
Sarah Barcroft of Stangmore, Dungannon, was a prominent member of Grange Meeting and as she approached the end of a long life, she became increasingly concerned as to the future of the business meeting (Monthly Meeting) at Grange and it was she who suggested the amalgamation of the two meetings of Grange and Richhill to form one Monthly Meeting. Both meetings were situated in similar rural surroundings and it was her judgment that by uniting the two meetings both would be strengthened. Other concerned and responsible Friends in Grange who supported the idea were S. Edith Hobson, William Frederick Hobson, (Clerk Grange Monthly Meeting) and Isaac Edward Haydockand others. Richhill Friends seemed to welcome the proposal and it was in no small measure due to the advice and guidance given by R. Ernest Lamb that the union of the two meetings came to fruition. Details of how ably the matter was carried through can be gauged by the following extract from Minute 12 of Ulster Quarterly Meeting held 21/3/1921.
"That the Monthly Meeting be held in Grange on first, third, fifth and seventh and eleventh months, at Tamnamore in ninth month and the remaining six at Richhill. At the meetings to be held on the fourth day following the first First day in the month at 11 a.m. except in fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth months when we would meet at 3 p.m. That our present proportions of 1 s. 6 d. each in the £ towards payment of the National and Provincial charges be united making the assessment for the joint Meeting 3/- until such time as a fresh revision shall be made by Quarterly Meeting. That all monies or property left in trust ot the two Monthly Meetings shall continue in the case of the particular meeting to which they now belong and shall be used as formerly in accordance with the conditions attaching thereto. That the various duties and functions pertaining to Monthly and Preparative Meeting and require our care and attention be arranged between the proposed Monthly Meeting and the subordinate Meetings in such a manner as shall lend to their efficient accomplishment in ways meet and befiting the discipline and dignity of our Society. Above all we feel that the union we seek for and hope to attain is not merely the formal linking together of our two constituent bodies. We look to the welding more closely of a spiritual bond of love whereby we may enter more fully into sympathy with each other's needs and aspirations sharing one another's burdens and seeking by mutual service to encourage and uphold each other in our Holy Faith and display more effectively the banner of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ".
Signed on behalf of Grange and Richhill Monthly Meetings.
William F. Hobson Clerk Grange Monthly Meeting
R. Ernest - Lamb Clerk Richhill Monthly Meeting
"Ulster Quarterly Meeting enters into sympathy with the desires expressed and on the basis of the report now unites the two Monthly Meetings to form one Monthly Meeting to be known as Grange and Richhill Monthly Meeting, trusting that the union may lead to increased life and mutual encouragement. A copy of this minute to be forwarded to the Yearly Meeting."
First met at Grange on 3/7/1921 - R. Ernest Lamb, First Clerk
It is not possible to mention by name the many individual Friends who at some period in the history of the meeting lived so dedicated lives that they gave of their time, substance or their gifts of mind and heart to the service of the meeting. In looking back over the past three centuries weare conscious that we owe a debt to many, some in humble circumstances, others whose names have not even come down to us but who by their lives and witness have left behind a "Testimony for Truth."
For the interest of future generations we give a short account of Grange Meeting in 1960.
First Day morning meeting is the main gathering of the week when we have a normal attendance of between fifty and sixty and occasionally upwards of seventy. About half these numbers are children and after the first half hour of meeting they leave for First Day school held in the Old Meeting House. An arranged meeting is held each First Day evening, except during Seventh and Eighth Months, and as well as members is attended by those of other denominations living in the district. A Scripture Union Meeting for young people is held on the first First Day of each month and this together with First Day school is in charge of members of the meeting. Preparative Meeting on Ministry and Oversight meets regularly when the needs of the meeting are prayerfully considered and appointments made to visit members and attenders who are sick or for some reason are considered in need of a visit.
Monthly Meetings held at Grange, Richhill or Tamnamore are not only occasions where the Monthly Meeting business is conducted, but are times of happy social fellowship with members of Richhill and Tamnamore Friends.
The decision this year to build a Bungalow on the Meeting House premises has created considerable interest and enthusiasm amongst members. It is, in the first instance, for the use of William Brien, until recently a member of Dublin Monthly Meeting but now a member of this Meeting and throughout the past twenty years a welcome visitor to Grange. William Brien has been engaged in Home or Foreign Mission work for the past thirty-four years and last year returned from Pemba because of illness, where he had worked with the Friends Service Council since 1944. He expressed a wish to reside within the bounds of our Meeting and when efforts to rent a suitable house failed the Meeting decided unanimously to build a bungalow. G. Philip Bell, Architect, and a member of Lurgan Preparative Meeting submitted plans and in a matter of a few weeks after the suggestion to build was made a sum of £1,500 of the estimated cost of £2,000 was promised. It is hoped the bungalow will be completed by the end of this year.
The above bungalow was duly completed, and William Brien was the first tenant, where he continued to live for sixteen years. When in residence he played an important part in the life of the meeting. He only moved nearer to Lurgan because he found transport from Grange rather difficult. He is now a member of Portadown Meeting and when he visits Grange from time to time he receives a warm welcome.
We at Grange are grateful for our Quaker faith and heritage and would ask God's guidance and help that we might be faithful in our day and generation. As we look to the future we find our hopes already expressed in the words of the Quaker poet John Greenleaf Whittier:-
"We know now what the future hath
Of marvel or surprise Assured alone that life and death His Mercy underlies.
We know not where His islands lift Their fronded palms in air
We only know we cannot drift Beyond His love and care."
The Religious Society of Friends. Grange Meeting Tercentenary, 1660-1960, arrangements for commemorative gatherings 3rd - 4th Ninth Month - 1960.
Grange Preparative Meeting warmly invites Members of our Society, attenders and those interested to attend the Special gatherings on Seventh and First Days - 3rd and 4th Ninth Month, to commemorate the Tercentenary of the "settling" of the meeting here at Grange. An illustrated Booklet giving a short history of Grange Meeting will be on sale at the Tercentenary gatherings.
Let us pray that God's Blessing will rest upon these gatherings as we give thanks for His unfailing goodness throughout the years and seek His Guidance for the tasks that lie ahead.
Hospitality will be available for a limited number of Friends and those who have caravans or who care to camp are encouraged to do so.
On behalf of Grange Preparative Meeting.
ELSIE HOBSON, Clerk.
Seventh Day, 3rd Ninth Month, 1960.
3.30 p.m. - Address Isabel Grubb followed by Meeting for Worship.
5.15 - Planting Commemorative Tree.
5.30 - Tea - in marquee. (Charge 2/6).
7.30 - Play - "Young Fox" - Films.
9.0 - Supper. (Charge 1/3).
First Day, 4th Ninth Month, 1960
11.30 a.m. - Meeting for Worship.
1.30 p.m. - Lunch (friends bring own food. Tea provided).
3.30 - Meeting for Worship.
5.0 - Tea. (Tea and food provided).
8.0 - Arranged Meeting - Address. Percy J. Tyler.
In looking back over the years since the publication of the Historical Sketch of Grange Meeting in 1960, what has occurred in the life of the Meeting worthy of recording? Several matters come to mind:-
During the 1960's Grange Friends felt greatly exercised that we as a Meeting had practically no Missionary outreach. Our Meeting on Ministry and Oversight met and after much consideration decided to recommend to our Preparative Meeting that we should subscribe one-tenth of our normal annual income to Missionary work.
In furtherance of this scheme a special Preparative Meeting was held on 12th of 3rd month, 1969, when the matter received careful consideration and the Friends then present gave their whole-hearted approval of the following Minute:-
"Minute 6 - The suggestion has been made that we as a Meeting should have a definite Missionary outreach, perhaps by subscribing one-tenth of our normal annual income towards Missionary work. It has been decided that this idea has much to commend it and it is accepted by this Meeting.
The Preparative Meeting on Ministry and Oversight is to be asked to bring forward to future Preparative Meetings the name of a Missionary Society or Societies to which we could subscribe".
In consequence of this decision our Meeting has subscribed annually to Missionary Societies, such as The Qua Iboe Mission, The Evangelical Friends Mission (U.S.A.), The Scripture Union, etc.
In 1971 the large Friend's Meetinghouse at Frederick Street, Belfast, was taken down and a more modern building was erected on the site. As it was not proposed to utilise the fine pine seats in their new Meetinghouse, these seats were offered to Grange Meeting at a nominal cost.
At a Preparative Meeting held on 5th of 12th month, 1971, the following Minute was approved:-
"Minute 6 - A report has been received from the Premises Committee regarding seating which has become available at Frederick Street Meetinghouse, Belfast. This seating has been offered to us at a moderate price plus transport, and it has been decided to accept the offer. The Premises Committee is thereby requested to make arrangements for the transport of these seats. We much appreciate this offer from Belfast Friends".
In due course the seats were installed at Grange and they add considerably to both the comfort of those who occupy them and the appearance of the Meetinghouse. Each seat is fitted with an upholstered cushion. The old seats had served their purpose well, they were probably installed after the Meetinghouse was built about 1816. (See page 21). The old seats were not noted for their comfort! They were designed for utilitarian purposes only.
Up 'till now no mention has been made of the Burial Ground at Grange, which is situated at the rear and at either ends of the Meetinghouse, One is impressed by the quiet, peaceful situation which has been chosen for the final resting place for many who had been associated with the Meeting over the years.
The large, overhanging trees provide shade in the summer and add dignity and charm to the area. In accordance with Friends' usage the Headstones are of uniform shape and size, and the inscriptions on them give particulars of name, age and date of death only, so that no distinctions might be made. The observance of these Regulations is in accordance with Quaker belief, that in the sight of God all men and women were equal or as the Apostle Paul so aptly puts it -
"There is neither Jew nor Greek - No national distinction.
"There is neither bond or free - No social distinction.
"There is neither male or female - No distinction between the sexes.
"Ye are all one in Christ Jesus". Galations c. 3. v. 28.
The whole area occupied by the Burial Ground is well maintained and reading the names on the Headstones indicates that generally speaking, families are located in close proximity to each other. This does not appear to have been the earliest Burial Ground used by Members of the Meeting, as a tradition has been handed down that a plot of ground was used for this purpose near to Bedford corner. Little is known about this plot and there are no Grave stones in existence to mark the location.
In 1982, Grange Preparative Meeting received a letter from The Department of The Environment for Northern Ireland, Historic Monuments and Buildings Branch, stating that the building known as the Old Meeting house, and the building known as Friends' Meeting house have been listed as of Special Architectural and Historic interest.
In 1983 it was found necessary to renew the ceiling in the Meetinghouse, and to carry out extensive repairs to the Caretaker's residence adjoining the Old Meetinghouse.
|By Isaac Edward Haydock (1872 -1959)|
"It's a lovely situation as we all must freely own,
When the Quakers meet on First Day in the County of Tyrone.
The trees around the Meetinghouse, majestic, grand and fair,
Send a kindly shade or shelter to all who worship there.
To view it from the roadway should make a person glad
This modest redstone building, it's walls with Ivy clad.
On Sundays Friends assemble there and share a kindly greeting
And reverently they walk within, to hold a Quaker meeting.
And when they reach the inner door, 'tis thought by some befitting
To separate the sexes and be not together sitting
Fearing it might hinder worship, being mixed up all together.
But consult their inner nature and you'll find that they would rather,
Of course we don't condemn it, for we say it is not sin
But it's an ancient practice that we see nothing in.
The informal Meeting over, men are soon upon the floor,
Women Friends remaining seated 'till the men are through the door.
Then submissively they follow, and the custom seems not strange,
But would it not be better if they mingled more at Grange?"
|Sept. 21st., 1903|
The author of above was a life long member of Grange Meeting, and a prominent Friend, who acted for many years in the position of Elder. At the time this was written (1903) it was the practice at Grange, and indeed in most Friends' Meetings, for the men and women to sit separately. The general rule was that the men sat nearest to the door, and the women further away, with a centre aisle between. This practice stems from the very early days of Quaker worship, when the Meetings were disturbed and broken up by the soldiers. It was felt that the men worshippers would take the first onslaught of those who came to break up the Meeting.
In recent years this practice has ceased to be observed and men and women worshippers are no longer segregated.
(1) (2) Wight and Rutty: History of the Rise and Progress of the
people called Quakers in Ireland. Dublin 1751 Page 119 and Page 342.
(3) William Edmundson's Journal. Third Ed. Dublin 1820. Page 55.
(4) Archbishop Laud. Executed 1645.
(5) Manuscript History of Greer and Greeves Families by J.R.H. Greeves.
(6) Author of "The Great Cry of Oppression" published 1683.
(7) Wight and Rutty, Page 343.
(8) MINUTE FROM GRANGE MEN'S MEETING HELD 26/6/1726.
The Tythe takers of Tythemongers being about to take Friends corn, etc. all Friends are desired to bear a faithful testimony against paying of tythes or any way conniving therein, but in a meek spirit showing their dissatisfaction against the paying of tythe or supporting of hireling priests, and take an exact account of their sufferings and have it ready to be produced when called for.
(9) Record Office, 6 Eustace St., Dublin.
(10) Wight and Rutty: History of the Rise and Progress of the people called Q in Ireland. Dublin 1751. Page 159.
(11) Manuscript History of Greer and Greeves Families.
(12) Wight and Rutty,
(13) William Edmundson's Journal. Page 83.
(14) The settlement of Church Discipline among Irish Friends with special reference to George Fox's visit 1669. The Journal of Friends Historical Society. Vol. 45. 1953.
(15) Immigration of the Irish Quakers into Pennsylvania 1682 - 1750. Albert Cook Myers. Page 53.
(16) AT A MENS MEETING HELD 20th of 5th MONTH, 1726.
Inasmuch as there is straw provided (or thatching the Meeting House, Jacob Marshall and Barth-w Garnett are desired to get it laid on as soon as they conveniently can."
(17) History of Methodism in Ireland - C.H. Crookshank. Belfast 1885. Vol. 1. Page 407.
(18) Manual of Trusts. Ulster Quarterly Meeting Page 55.
(19) Minute 4 of Tenth Month 1950 of Grange Preparative Meeting draws attention to the condition of the roof of the large (or new) Meeting House and the meeting decided to ask G. Philip Bell, Architect, Lurgan, to examine the roof and give his opinion as to what repairs were necessary. The subsequent report recorded in full in Minute 6 of First Month 1951 states that the entire premises were examined and with regard to the roof of the large or new Meeting House it states: "We are glad to report that we find the roof structure entirely sound and in excellent condition, the main timbers being of quite adequate size and construction and free from rot or attack by fungus or wood boring beetle".... The slating on the other hand is generally poor. It is probable that most of the nails have almost rusted.... and that the trouble with slipping slates will become steadily worse."
(20) The Quakri at Lurgan and Grange. James N. Richardson, 1889.