Quaker Family History Society

for family historians with Quaker ancestors from the British Isles







Quaker organisation

Quaker Meetings in England & Wales, which had existed from the 1650s onwards, were organised by George Fox, in 1667/8, into a structure which despite many changes of detail, has remained fundamentally unaltered since.

The individual local meetings, generally called Preparative Meetings (PM), were grouped into Monthly Meetings (MM), which were the fundamental units. It is the records of these Monthly Meetings which are usually the most productive for the family historian. The Monthly Meetings were grouped into a number of Quarterly Meetings (QM), and the whole overseen by London Yearly Meeting. The names reflected the frequency at which the respective levels met.

The original scheme of 1667/8 generally had several Monthly Meetings and one Quarterly Meeting for each county, although there were a number of exceptions. During the 18th and 19th centuries, however, the number of Quakers in Britain declined steadily from its peak at the end of the 17th century, and as a result there were many mergers both of Monthly and Quarterly Meetings, so that some of the simplicity of the original scheme was lost.

  • The Quarterly Meetings were renamed General Meetings in 1966
  • London Yearly Meeting was renamed Britain Yearly Meeting in 1994
  • preparative meetings were renamed local meetings, and monthly meetings were renamed area meetings, in 2007; for more on this see Quakers in Britain


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