the friend online
26 September 2008


Irish Quakers’ lives revealed - preview

A Biographical Dictionary of Irish Quakers, second edition, edited by Richard S. Harrison. Four Courts Press. ISBN 978‑1‑84682‑100‑4. £45

Thomas Abbott of Glanmire was a skinny dipper
  • Odd for a Quaker? His neighbours thought so and were offended
  • One, Mrs McCaul, told the servant to remove his clothes from the river bank
  • But this backfired: being a Quaker, Thomas abandoned modesty and went, dripping, to Mrs McCaul’s front door and knocked loudly
  • ‘Will thee tell Friend Elizabeth to send out my clothes?’ His naturism went unimpeded from then on

  • Charles Henry Bewley was a weird coot
  • Raised a Quaker, he appears to have abandoned Friends because of their spiritual independence
  • Bewley preferred authoritarian stances, particularly his own
  • As an Irish diplomat, a strange career choice, he went to Germany in the thirties and struck up some dubious relationships with Nazis
  • Just as well he’d left the Society

  • Judy Kirby

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