Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



Friends' pupils go on a Quaker Pilgrimage

Ruth Haydock and Matthew Maginn, Friends' pupils, during their Quaker Pilgimage

Ruth Haydock and Matthew Maginn,
Friends' pupils, during their Quaker Pilgimage

TWO Friends' pupils, Ruth Haydock and Matthew Maginn, had the unique opportunity to learn the Quaker history when they travelled to England last month to meet pupils from fellow Quaker Schools during the annual Quaker Pilgrimage.

The pupils set off from Belfast city airport on September 21 to Bristol, to take part in the annual pilgrimage for pupils attending Quaker Schools.

At Sidcot, Ruth and Matthew were given a tour of the school by some of the other pupils who would be joining them on the pilgrimage.

The next stop was Sibford School where the Lisburn pupils stayed the night in one of the boarding departments and had the opportunity to have a taste of boarding life in an English Quaker school.

On Friday their journey took them to Birmingham to pick up pupils from Friends' School Saffron Walden and Leighton Park. After a long minibus trip, the group arrived at Sawley Meeting House where they received a talk about George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, and his vision on Pendle Hill. Then it was a hill walk up Pendle Hill.

"Although the rain tried its best to dampen our spirits, it wasn't successful. We then travelled to the Old School House Hostel, Yealand Conyers Meeting House in Lancashire, where we stayed for the next four days," recalled Matthew.

On the second day, Ruth and Matthew visited the beautiful Brigflatts Meeting House where they heard a brief overview of its history from Tess Satchell. For the picnic lunch they went to Firbank Fell which is famous in Quaker history as the place where George Fox spoke to over a thousand people about Quakerism.

The visit to Firbank Fell was followed by a visit to Kendal, the home of the delicious Kendal mint cake but more importantly the famous Quaker Tapestry. Designed in the same style as the Bayeaux Tapestry, the Quaker Tapestry depicts the main events in Quaker History up until the present day. Following that it was another hill walk, up Gummers How.

"After a relative scramble we arrived at the top and could catch our breath just enough to take in the amazing breathtaking view of Lake Windermere at dusk." said Ruth.

On Sunday the pair got the chance to take part in a Quaker meeting at Swarthmoor Meeting House. The open worship proved to be very inspiring for many of the people present.

This was followed by a talk and tour of Swarthmoor Hall, the home of Margaret Fell, a main supporter of George Fox and an early Quaker. "The following day was our last and finished with a session in the Meeting House, after which we made the long journey back to Birmingham" said Ruth.

Looking back on the trip Matthew said, "The experience was definitely enjoyable and we learnt so much about Quakerism. It was such good fun and we're sure many lifetime friendships have been begun. It was an opportunity that we would take again if we had the choice."

Ulster Star