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Welcome to ‘Radical Spirituality: the early history of the Quakers’. This short video introduces the course.

You are not required to have any knowledge of the Quakers and the course is open to everyone. No prior knowledge is assumed.

During this three week course, you will encounter a range of study materials, including video talks and interviews with experts, readings, discussions, and quizzes. Many of our videos are filmed on location in the key settings of the birth of the Quaker movement in Lancashire and Westmorland (now Cumbria). We hope that the course will give you a strong sense of the importance of place for the birth of this radical spirituality.

The topics for the three weeks are as follows:

  • Week 1: The Vision – introducing George Fox, and his Pendle Hill Experience of May 1652
  • Week 2: Success – Brigflatts and Firbank Fell
  • Week 3: What Happened Next? – Swarthmoor Hall and Margaret Fell

Each week tells a key part of the story of the start of Quakerism and in the third week we also see what happened after 1650 and what the Quaker movement is like today.

You will find some useful files in the downloads section at the end of this page. These include:

  • a timeline of key events in Quaker history
  • biographies of the key people
  • some additional contextual notes and faqs about George Fox and Quaker history

You can work through the materials at your own pace and we encourage you to contribute to the discussions and other activities. You will notice that each step within a week is identified by the type of content contained within (such as video, article and so on). Each ‘step’, regardless of the specific type of content, contains a comment button that you are also encouraged to use in order to create conversation around the items. For content marked as ‘article’, there are often a number of open questions contained in the text, where you can use the comment tool as a method for responding.

Tagging your comments

Learning together is a strength of learning online with a large number of peers, but it will be impossible to read all the comments which interest you, so we have developed an interactive discovery tool to help you find new conversations that you may have missed.

In order to make this tool sort through comments effectively, we ask that you #hashtag important terms in your comments. For example if your comment is about #spirituality or #truth you may wish to add these as tags. Maybe your comment is about the #civilwar or a specific person such as #georgefox or #margaretfell – Feel free to make up your own tags too and be creative!! Later in the week you will see why we are doing this!!

After you have worked through a step, it’s a good idea to click the ‘mark as complete’ button, as this will allow you to track your progress through the materials.

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Radical Spirituality: the Early History of the Quakers

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