Author Archives: Will Gray

Quaker Petition to Parliament for the abolition of the slave trade 1783

Transcription from the Yearly Meeting minutes (Volume 17/298 – 307)

To the Commons of Great Britain, in Parliament assembled.

The Petition of the People called Quakers,

Sheweth –

That your Petitioners met in this their annual assembly, having solemnly considered the state of the enslaved negroes, conceive themselves engaged in religious duty, to lay the suffering situation of that unhappy people before you, as a subject loudly calling for the humane interposition of the Legislature.

Your Petitioners regret, that a nation professing the Christian Faith, should so far counteract the principles of humanity and justice as by a cruel treatment of this oppressed race, to fill their minds with prejudices against the mild and beneficent doctrines of the Gospel.

Under the countenance of the laws of this country, many thousands of these our fellow-creatures, entitled to natural rights of mankind, are held, as personal property, in cruel bondage; and your Petitioners being informed, that a Bill for the regulation of the African trade is now before the House, containing a clause which restrains the officers of the African Company from exporting Negroes. Your Petitioners, deeply affected with a consideration of the rapine, oppression, and bloodshed attending this traffic, humbly request that this restriction may be extended to all persons whatsoever, or that the House would grant such other relief in the premises, as in its wisdom may seem meet.

Signed in and on behalf of our yearly meeting, held in London, the 16th day of 6th month, 1783.


Petition from London Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends, presented to Parliament on 16 June 1783

The petition that the Yearly Meeting sent to Parliament is transcribed in both the Yearly Meeting minutes (Volume 17/298 – 307) and Meeting for Sufferings minutes (Volume 36/ 408 – 413).  This transcript is from the Yearly Meeting minutes.

This was the first petition made to Parliament and was signed by 273 Quaker members, including William Rathbone, Dr Jonathan Binns, and Samuel Hoare Jnr.


Ackworth School

Ackworth School, from the Great Garden by Mary Hodgson, ( as part of the illustrations for the history of the school in 1879 )

This is the preface to the ” Ackworth School catalogue : being a list of all the boys and girls educated at that institution, from its commencement in 1779, to the present period. “ published by Harvey and  Darton, Gracechurch Street, London : 1831. If you have Quaker relatives, it is an absolute joy because it just lists all 5511 pupils who attended Ackworth School between 1779 and 1831, and the year they left.

” This small work may possibly fall into the hands of some persons little acquainted with the Institution to which it relates For the information of these is inserted the following slight sketch of its history &c extracted with slight alteration from a descriptive sheet accompanying a line Engraving of the School which was published a few years since.

Ackworth School is situate between the villages of High and Low Ackworth, three miles south of Pontefract, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The building is of freestone, obtained from the neighbourhood; and it was erected in 1757, 1758, and 1759, as an appendage to the Foundling Hospital in London. It cost £ 13,000; which sum was defrayed partly by voluntary subscriptions, and partly by aid of parliament.The house was applied to its original purpose, for twelve years, and afterwards remained unoccupied till 1777. In this year, it was purchased with eighty four acres of land, by Dr John Fothergill and three others, for £ 7,000; and in 1779, was opened as a public school for children of the Society of Friends, to which purpose it has been ever since applied. Various additions have been made to the buildings, and the landed estate has been increased to about 242 acres; the whole property being now estimated at about £ 30,000.

 The affairs of the institution are under the immediate management of the superintendent, resident at the school; but all matters of importance are referred to a committee of twenty eight friends, in the vicinity of Ackworth, and to another committee of the same number, who, with the treasurer, meet in London. The instruction of the children devolves on eighteen teachers. The boys are under the care of four school masters, with five apprentices; and five school mistresses, with four apprentices, have the charge of the girls.  The regular branches of instruction are reading, spelling, writing, arithmetic, English grammar, and geography; but there are a few to whom the last two branches are not taught. Sewing, knitting, &c. of course form part of the employment of the girls. Many of the elder boys are introduced to an acquaintance with the more useful parts of the mathematics; and a class consisting of twenty of the most advanced, receive instruction in the Latin language.

Besides attending to their school duties, the boys are frequently employed in farming, or gardening and the girls in various domestic occupations. There are three examinations of the children in the course of the year, the principal of which takes place at the time of the Annual General Meeting of the friends of the institution.

Children are admitted between the ages of nine and fourteen. £ 10 per annum is to be paid for each child; but the average cost is about £ 18, [ a modern day equivalent of £ 21,390.00 ] including clothing, stationery, &c. The number of scholars is limited to 300, viz. 180 boys and 120 girls, rather more than 100 being admitted and dismissed annually.  The number admitted, since the opening of the school in 1779, to the present time is 5511; and an average calculation will show, that, from among the children of Friends in this country, about one seventh receive some part of their education in this establishment.  Ackworth School 7th mo. 1831. “


Ackworth  School Catalogue

List Of All The Boys And Girls

Educated In That Establishment

From Its Commencement In 1779 To The Present Period


Harvey And Dart

On Gracechurch Street


The Garstang Farmer’s Society Annual Meeting and Show 1818

Royal Oak Hotel, Garstang, Lancashire

On the 16th September 1809 the following announcement appeared in the Lancaster Gazette:

“In consequence of a request made to me, as Chairman of the Association assembled at Garstang for the Protection of Property, on Tuesday the 7th September inst, to convene a meeting for the purpose of taking into consideration the propriety and utility of forming an Agricultural Society, as useful and beneficial to the neighbourhood, – I hereby accordingly desire a meeting of the gentlemen who think themselves interested therein at the Royal Oak in Garstang on Thursday the 28th day of September inst at one o’clock in the afternoon.”

Alex Butler
Kirkland Hall, September 9th, 1809


Garstang Agricultural Society was formed in 1809 with the aim of being “ useful and beneficial to the neighbourhood, ” and held its first exhibition in 1813. There were 13 prizes, “ premiums, ” for crops and stock, and 12 ” sweepstake “ prizes for stock.

The following is from 1818.

The Garstang Farmer’s Society held their annual Meeting and Show on the 24th September The Premiums awarded are as follow


Alexander Whitehead      the Premium of Two Guineas for a crop of Red Clover of the first year

Samuel Hinde Esq.           Two Guineas for a crop of Turnips to be consumed on the farm

Robert Whiteside              Two Guineas for a crop of Potatoes

David Hawthornthwaite   a Cup or Three Guineas for a Long horned Bull of any age

Jonathan Binns                  a similar premium for a Short horned Bull

Joseph Fielding Esq.          ditto for a Long horned Heifer

William Thulfall                 ditto for a Short horned ditto

Samuel Hinde Esq.            Two Guineas for a two shear Leicester Ram

Jonathan Binns                  ditto for a pen of two shear Leicester Ewes

Robert Whiteside               a Cup or Three Guineas for a two year old Colt

John Whiteside                  ditto for a two year old Filly or Mare

The subscribers and the public were much gratified with the Stock shown particularly the Leicester Sheep which were large and beautiful animals They afterwards dined at the Royal Oak Joseph Fielding Esq. President in the Chair where the evening passed very agreeably to all parties

Short-Horned Bull

Sweepstakes at the Garstang Meeting

Ram any age       Jonathan Binns

Ewe any age       Ditto

Yearling Ewe      Ditto

Yearling Ram     William Thulfall

Tup Lamb          Samuel Hinde Esq

Ewe Lamb         David Hawthornthwaite


From:  The Farmers Magazine, A Periodical Work Exclusively Devoted To Agriculture And Rural Affairs, Edinburgh, 1818 

Captain Robert Hall 1778 -1818

This is the start of a slight Hornblower moment or two

Irish Times, Saturday 22 January 2005

A rare Irish silver freedom box, right, giving the Freedom of the City of Cork dating from 1808 is up for auction at John Weldon next Tuesday (25th January 2005)  with an estimate of €10,000-€15,000.

The square box is hallmarked Dublin 1808 and is inscribed with the City of Cork arms and an inscription. It was presented to a Captain Robert Hall on August 22nd, 1809 for gallantry for his part as a midshipman on board The Dart in battle with four Dutch gunboats in 1796 and with a French frigate in July 1800.

The inscription reads: ” With this box the Freedom of the City of Cork in Ireland was unanimously given to Capt Robert Hall for his gallant conduct in his Majesty’s Navy the 22nd day of August 1809 “.

These small boxes, used for snuff and tobacco, were often given as presentation gifts and also to give the freedom of a city as an honour.

City of Cork Freedom Box c.1776

Irish Independent; 3 Apr 2015 –

A Cork Freedom Box, made in Dublin in 1808 and given to the naval officer Captain Rob Hall for gallant conduct in the Napoleonic wars, sold at John Weldon Auctioneers on March 24 for €5,500.

Rob Hall, later Sir Robert Hall [ 1778 -1818 ] is Mary Roche (neé Verling) son by her first marriage to “Captain Hall”. He is John Roche’s step-son, and John Roche O’Bryen’s step-uncle. He seems to have had a distinguished  naval career, and the Dictionary of Canadian Biography closes its entry on him as follows ” An affable, gallant, and cultivated officer, Hall in his Canadian posting had proved himself a conspicuously fair-minded, innovative, and efficient administrator. His heirs were a natural son, Robert Hall, born in 1817 to a Miss Mary Ann Edwards, and his mother Mary Roche, who was his residuary legatee. The son, baptized on 2 Nov. 1818 by George Okill Stuart, rector of St George’s Church in Kingston, became a vice-admiral in the Royal Navy and died in London on 11 June 1882 after having served for ten years as naval secretary to the Admiralty. “

I really like the fact that he acknowledged and provided for a bastard son, and was happy for it to be acknowledged in the family, and according to the Pedigree of the Verlings of Cove by Dr. Gabriel O’Connell Redmond, ” An obelisk was erected to his memory in Aghada Wood by his stepfather John Roche of that place.”;  so they certainly weren’t ashamed of him.

It’s a story we’ll come back to.


Dr Bartholomew Verling 1797-1893

Bartholomew Verling of Cove [ b. c.1715 ] has two grandsons also called Bartholomew Verling who are first cousins.

The elder Bartholomew Verling (1786 – 1855) of Cove is John Roche of Aghada’s nephew twice over. His mother is John Roche’s sister [ Ellen, or Eleanor Roche ] who married John Verling, and his father is Mary Roche’s (nee Verling) brother John Verling. He is the political one, and a merchant, and Spanish Consul in Cobh.

The younger Bartholomew Verling (1797 – 1893) of Oxclose, is also a nephew of John Roche of Aghada, but only as the son of Edward Verling and Anne Ronayne, – a brother-in-law, and sister-in-law. He is one of two contemporaneous Dr Verlings. The other being James Roche Verling (1787 – 1858). Both were naval surgeons.

Bartholomew Verling (son of Edward Verling and Anne Ronayne) naval surgeon, of Oxclose, Newmarket, County Cork; formerly of Heathfield Towers, near Youghal, born1797; died 1893; married (1st) Mary (who died 18 January 1844; aet. 30 years), daughter of Thomas Walsh, of Youghal. A tombstone in the North Abbey, Gneeves, Newmarket, bears the inscription “Erected by Bart. Verling, of Gneeves, Newmarket,in memory of his wife Mary and infant son Bartholomew.”

By his wife Mary, he had issue: Bartholomew; ob. juv.; Catherine; ob. juv.; Mary;
married Francis Power, of Roskeen, near Mallow.

He married (2nd) Sabina, daughter of Walter Hervey Kavanagh, of Ballyhale, County
Kilkenny (who died 1853), son of Morgan Kavanagh, of Ballyhale, and of his wife,
the Lady Frances Butler, and great grandson of Morgan Kavanagh, of Castle Morres,County Kilkenny.
By his wife, Sabina, he had issue: Walter Kavanagh Verling, MD, of Oxclose, who
married Mary, daughter of … Malpas, Esquire, and had issue nine sons and one
daughter; Arabella, died young.

And also.

There was a Mary Walsh, daughter of Thomas Walsh of Youghal, who died 18 January1844 aet 30, who married Bartholomew Verling, Naval Surgeon, of Oxclose, Newmarket, County Cork. A tombstone in the North Abbey, Gneeves, Newmarket, bears the inscription “Erected by Bart. Verling, of Gneeves, Newmarket, in memory of his wife Mary and infant son Bartholomew.”

Bartholomew and Mary had three children:

  • Bartholomew, ob. juv.,
  • Catherine, ob.juv., and
  • Mary, who married Francis Power, of Roskeen, near Mallow.

The above is from Frederick W. Knight, “Notes on the Family of Ronayne or Ronan of Counties Cork and Waterford” (Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society for April June, July September, October December, 1916; April June, July September, 1917.

and from the NUI Landed Estates database

Verling – In the 1870s Bartholomew Verling, Springfield Lodge (Oxclose), Newmarket, county Cork, medical doctor owned 883 acres in county Limerick and 110 acres in county Cork. He appears to have acquired his county Limerick estate post Griffith’s Valuation. Bartholomew Verling (1797-1893) was a naval surgeon of Oxclose, Newmarket, county Cork. He was the son of Edward Verling and his wife Anne Ronayne. The Verlings were established at Newmarket by the late 18th century. 

Another view of Sir Josh

From “My Life in Two Hemispheres”  by Charles Gavan Duffy,  Chapter 19 (Book 3, Chapter 3). Sir Charles Gavan Duffy (1816-1903), was an Irish nationalist and politician in Victoria, Australia; ending up as State Premier. He was born on 12 April 1816 in Monaghan, Ireland, son of John Duffy, shopkeeper, and his wife Ann, daughter of Patrick Gavan of Latnamard. Reading and dreaming over his few books, he grew up during the struggle for Catholic emancipation and his nationalism was kindled by stories of [the Irish “rebellion”] in1798. He boasted that he was the ‘first Catholic emancipated in Ireland’ as most of his schooling was at the local Presbyterian academy.

” Sir Joshua Walmsley, a former mayor of Liverpool, who had become spokesman of a Parliamentary group of Reformers, resting on a political society outside, appears a good deal in the diary of this date, but as nothing came of his coquetting with the Irish party one specimen will suffice:—

“Excused myself for Sunday to Walmsley (he had invited me to meet a number of his political friends at dinner, but I was engaged to Richard Swift and a muster of our own men). As he wanted to talk we dined soon after tête-à-tête at Bellamy’s. All popular questions, he thought, including the Irish Land Question, ought to be postponed till an extension of the franchise was obtained; then, and then only, would everything be possible. I told him that nobody familiar with the condition of Ireland would consent to a fresh postponement of the Land Question on any pretence. He thought Cobden and Bright might be induced to lead the franchise movement if it became wide enough to promise a speedy success. I said I would be glad to see the franchise become the English question of the day, and it would get substantial Irish help. In Ireland the franchise had dwindled away till genuine popular representation had almost disappeared. We wanted an extension urgently, but the farmer wanted the right to live on his own land so much more that it was idle to speak of the questions together. He talked of Cobden with affection. He was a truly generous man, he said. His American investments had not turned out well, but he was always ready to put his hand in his pocket for a public purpose. A fund was raised to sustain Kossuth, and Cobden gave £50 a year, while many other conspicuous Liberals, including Bright, would not give a penny. I spoke, of Hazlitt, Cobbett, Leigh Hunt, Hone, and the martyrs and confessors of Radicalism, but modern Radicalism does not apparently keep a calendar. He knew more of Edward Whitty, Linton, and The Orchestra of the Leader, but his esteem is moderate for any one who does not regard an extension of the suffrage as a specific for human woes. I asked him about Roebuck. Roebuck, he said, was privateering, and could no longer be counted on by any popular section. He loved no party, and no party loved him. My own observation confirms this description. I had some talk with him lately in the Library, and he seemed embittered and disappointed beyond any one I had ever encountered; his face had an expression that was scarcely human. I compared it mentally to the aspect of an angry dog—venomous and dangerous. He used to be called the most conceited man in Parliament, but his unkempt hair, stooping figure, and flabby look give him the appearance of a ruin.”

The Papal Jubilee – Rome, 1908


This was the jubilee to celebrate fifty years of Pope Pius X being a priest. In family terms, the baton has been passed from Mgr Henry O’Bryen as a papal chaplain, to Mgr Manuel Bidwell; though they weren’t related to each other.

Vatican City Bridge and St Peters

Sunday, November 22, 1908.


Judging by some appearances, there were many pilgrims in Rome who did not go to bed at all last Sunday night ; for long before the dawn, indeed as early as four o’clock, a very early newspaper bird found a group of over a hundred of them waiting patiently outside the doors of St. Peter’s. Alas, that such patience should have been utterly without its reward, for some two hours later a whole regiment of soldiers marched sleepily and silently into the great Piazza, mercifully dislodging the peaceable enemy and making it take up its position at the foot of the steps leading to the Basilica, where it was hardly better off than the thousands and tens of thousands that arrived between six and seven o’clock. During the hours of waiting they had the satisfaction of watching the Italian troops make a series of wonderful evolutions for some recondite object, probably known to the commanding officers ; but shortly before eight the first chapter of the waiting closed, when those possessing tickets were allow to pass through a hedge of bayonets, and to enter the Basilica. Here it was warmer and more interesting.

The immense interior was decorated in festive damask ; a broad space, secured by a wooden barrier and by a double line of the Palatine Guard, was left open in the centre, and two hours more passed quietly and pleasantly enough, in spite of the crush (and the crush was in parts so thick that there were a few cases of fainting), and the long standing—for it was impossible to plant even a tiny campstool anywhere. It is estimated that St. Peter’s when quite full will “stand” about ninety-thousand persons, but last Monday the space between the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament and that of the Pieta was curtained off; so was the opening all down the centre, and the free wide circle round the papal altar, and the entire apse reserved for the dignitaries, and the tribunes, which meant that a third of the available space was unavailable for the eager multitude ; and so there must have been between fifty and sixty thousand persons present when the trumpets rang out the glad news that the procession, till now hidden by the acres of curtain on the right, had begun to move, and the first notes of the Sistine choir were heard, faintly at first, but growing louder and stronger each moment until even those in the far distance in the transepts could distinguish the “Ecce Sacerdos Magnus !”

It had been announced very sternly that on this occasion there were to be no tribunes except those reserved for the Pope’s Family, Royalty, the Roman Patriciate, the Knights of Malta, and the Diplomatic Corps. But there were vacant spaces under the two choirs and in a few other places which afforded a little room for benches, and so a couple of hundred persons did after all secure a special position. The tribune next to the throne, divided only by an invisible barrier from that of the Roman Patriciate (which was full), was occupied by the Holy Father’s brother, his three sisters, his nephew Mgr. Parolin, and his niece ; the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta with nearly all the chief dignitaries left no vacant places in the tribune reserved for them ; the Royal tribune held the Princess Matilda of Saxony, and the Grand Duchess Xenia of Russia with her consort the Grand Duke Michaivich and their seven children ;

Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia and his wife Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna.

a score or so of Extraordinary Embassies and Missions sent by Emperors, Kings, Queens, and Presidents to represent them at the Pope’s Jubilee had their own place of distinction, as had the entire diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, and all these tribunes glistened with brilliant uniforms and flashing decorations. This time also a position of distinction was reserved for the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, which was represented by Count Fabio Fani, Procurator of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, for the Knights residing in Rome, Sir Thomas H. Grattan Esmonde, M.P., representative of the Order in Ireland, and Mgr. Rivelli, a Knight Commander of the Order. Among the English-speaking Chamberlains on duty at the tribunes were the Marquis MacSwiney, Colonel Bernard, Chev. De Falloux Schuster, and Comm. Christmas, while among the others who took part in the historic function were Mr. Stuart A. Coats, the Hon. A. Wilmot and Captain Bartle Teeling. Mgr. Bidwell was one of the four Chamberlains in attendance on the Holy Father.


Long before the Holy Father himself appeared before the expectant gaze of the multitude the procession was moving rhythmically up the middle of the basilica. A Pontifical Master of Ceremonies led it, followed immediately by Papal Chamberlains of Sword and Cape, both private and honorary, the Procurators di Collegio, the Apostolic Preacher with the Confessor of the Pontifical Household, the Procurators General of the Mendicant Orders, the Bussolanti, the Custodian of the Tiaras flanked by two Chamberlains bearing the tiaras, the Private Chaplains bearing the mitres, two mace-bearers with silver maces, the Assistants of the Chamber, the Private Chaplains, the Private Clerics, the Honorary Chaplains, Consistorial Advocates, the supernumerary Honorary and Private Chamberlains, the Auditors of the Rota, the Master of the Apostolic Palaces, Prince Ruspoli, Master of the Sacred Hospice, Mgr. Bressan with the ordinary.mitre of the Holy Father, the thurifer, the Papal Cross borne by Mgr. Pescini, surrounded by seven clerics, Mgr. Sincero, Auditor of the Rota, and Apostolic Sub-deacon, between the Greek deacon and subdeacon of the Mass, the Penitentiaries of St. Peter’s preceded by clerics bearing the Verga decorated with flowers, the Abbots General of the Religious Orders and the Abbots nullius, the Bishops, Arch-bishops, and Patriarchs, a long line of prelates of the Latin and Oriental Churches numbering almost three hundred, the Sacred College of Cardinals, represented by thirty-five of its members, and then the Pope—  borne aloft over the heads of the people on the sedia gestatoria carried securely on the shoulders of twelve stalwart pontifical chair-bearers, with two Chamberlains on either side bolding the long flabellm, and surrounded by the Commandant and the officers of the Swiss Guard, and by four guards bearing the four great medimval swords that symbolise the four cantons of Switzerland, by Prince Rospigliosi, Commandant of the Noble Guard with his officers, by Count Pecci, Commandant of the Palatine Guard, and by numerous mace-bearers and functionaries, while the Marquis Clemente Sacchetti, charged as Foriere Maggiore with the duty of watching over the moving throne, walked immediately behind it, and before Cardinals Segna and Della Volpe, who were to assist the Pope at the Mass. The second part of he procession consists of the Dean of the Rota, the two Grand Chamberlains on duty, the Pope’s Physician, the Majordomo, the Protonotaries Apostolic, and the Regent of the Apostolic Chancellery, and then the Generals of the Religious Orders and Congregations.


There is hardly a sound to be heard throughout the basilica as the Pontiff passes along between the crowds, blessing on either side, but almost everybody present seems to be waving silently a white handkerchief— a curiously impressive sight to one looking down on it from above, and noting how in a moment the black sea of heads is transformed into a fluttering white ocean. Only as the Pope reaches the section reserved for the pilgrims from the Venetian province, where perhaps he bends a little more towards the people as he forms again and again the sign of the cross with his hand, he hears a low murmur from the proud and affectionate people there asking God to bless him, and he is for a moment visibly moved.

All had taken their places in the sanctuary when the “sedia gestatoria” reaches it, is softly lowered to the ground, and the Pope advances to one of the two thrones where he receives the obedience of the Cardinals, and some Archbishops, Bishops and Abbots. Then he is vested for the Mass while “Nones” [part of the Divine Office]  is being sung. He assumes the pontifical vestment known as the ” fanone”, and the Mass is begun, his Holiness being assisted by Cardinal, Serafino Vannutelli, as assistant priest, by Cardinals Segna and Dela Volpe as assistant deacons, and by Cardinal Cagiano as ministering deacon. The ceremonies of the Mass were the same as on all similar occasions, and the music was rendered by two choirs, the Sistine under Perosi, and a Gregorian made up chiefly of students under Mgr. Rella. At the end of the ceremony Cardinal Rampolla fulfilled the ancient custom of offering the celebrant a purse containing 25 giulii (about half-a-sovereign)    ” for a Mass well sung.” Everybody from the altar to the door tried hard, but not always effectually, to kneel as the Pope intoned his blessing. The procession was formed again, and passed back by the path it had come, and shortly the red curtains in front of the Chapel of the Pieta hid the Jubilarian Pontiff from the people.

The bleak and wintry weather which filled the rest of the day in Rome did not prevent the multitudes from coming out after dusk to witness the illuminations of the facade and colonnade of St. Peter’s, of all the houses in the Borgo, of all the churches and religious houses of Rome, and of a great number of the private dwellings ; but it did prevent the sight that was most eagerly looked forward to, that of the illumination of St. Peter’s dome, an event not witnessed since ” black ’70.”  [ The fall of Rome to the Italians in 1870] However, the disappointment was remedied on Thursday, when the rain stopped for half an hour as if on purpose to gladden the multitude with the wonderful sight.

The Dome of St Peter’s

The above text was found on p.17, 28th November 1908 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .