Skip Navigation

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community Histories > Riseley > Quakers in Riseley

Quakers in Riseley

A collection of Sufferings of the Quakers published in 1753 lists a number of cases in Bedfordshire including the following from Riseley in 1658: Elisha Hunt, Mary Botham, Anne Cox, Miles Patteson and William Edmunds, occasionally meeting with the Priest of Riseley [Michael Selby], reproved him in a scriptural manner for his Misconduct, which he so highly resented, as to cause them to be set in the Stocks three Hours, and next Day they were carried before Gaius Squire of Eaton [Socon], a Justice of the Peace, who finding no just Cause against them, refused to act therein; but another Justice, more officious, and less discreet, sent them to the common Gaol till next Quarter Sessions, when they were all sent to Bridwell, and kept there one Month".

Quakers were still present in the village in the early 18th century. Visitations by the Bishop of Lincoln to Bedfordshire give some idea as to the number of nonconformists in each parish from returns made by the vicar or rector. Former County Archivist Patricia Bell has compiled returns from 1706 to 1720 for the Bedfordshire Historical Records Society (Volume 81, published 2002). In 1706 there were three Quaker families in the parish, by 1709 this had reduced to two, at which figure it remained in 1717 but by 1720 there was just a single family.