Posted on 24 October 2019
The Plaque at Fox’s Pulpit marks the place and year when Quakers first came together as an organised movement.
The place was Firbank Fell, a small hill in Cumbria, northern England, and the year was 1652.
One of the founding Friends, George Fox, had been preaching extensively in the north of England. In June of 1652 he visited an isolated chapel on Firbank Fell, which is located a few miles from the town of Sedbergh. Fox refused to go inside the chapel, rather deciding to preach in the open air at a nearby outcrop of rocks.
Fox recalls from his journal:
“While others were gone to dinner, I went to a brook, got a little water, and then came and sat down on the top of a rock hard by the chapel. In the afternoon the people gathered about me, with several of their preachers. It was judged there were above a thousand people; to whom I declared God’s everlasting truth and Word of life freely and largely for about the space of three hours.”George Fox
Of the 1,000+ people that attended many were Seekers who became convinced of Fox’s preaching and chose to join the burgeoning Quaker movement.
The first generation Quakers had been calling each other ‘Friend’ as early as 1647. In the five years between their origins and Fox preaching at Firbank Fell their numbers were small as well as scattered. With the Seekers and many others becoming Friends, the Quaker numbers swelled and they would last to this day and beyond.
The spot where Fox preached became known as Fox’s Pulpit and, in 1952 to mark the tercentenary of the Quakers’ becoming an organised movement, a plaque was erected that reads:
Let your lives speak
Here or near this rock George Fox preached to about one thousand seekers for three hours on Sunday, June 13, 1652. Great power inspired his message and the meeting proved of first importance in gathering the Society of Friends known as Quakers. Many men and women convinced of the truth on this fell and in other parts of the northern counties went forth through the land and over the seas with the living word of the Lord enduring great hardships and winning multitudes to Christ.