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Quaker Studies

Abstract

This article examines the re-establishment, expansion, and subsequent decline of a Quaker community in Benfieldside, north-west county Durham, between 1839 and 1886. It shows that the presence of a leading family and economic opportunities were both key factors in drawing Friends to the area. The failure of the largest north-east joint stock bank in 1857 was largely caused by its over-lending to the Derwent Ironworks. Prominent members of the Benfieldside Quaker community had interests in both concerns and were thus enmeshed in the financial scandal which ensued. An examination of the Newcastle Monthly Meeting reports, which investigated the affair, reveals how the scandal split the local meeting and led to its rapid decline.

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