Here is a blog focusing on the History of Quakers in Uxbridge.
Below is a great 3-minute clip by David Burnell on the story of our meeting house for the Open House festival.
The George Inn features strongly in the first century of the Quakers in Uxbridge. It was there that people met in the dangerous days when holding a meeting for worship might make you liable for heavy fines or to go to prison. It was owned by Quakers, which seems incongruous now, when so the Quakers are associated with abstinence or moderation in alcohol.
The first Quaker marriage took place at the George Inn, between Thomas Wright and Mary Redding, in 1677. The innkeeper Richard Richardson didn’t confess until another 20 years that he had actually married in front of a priest, because his wife’s family were afraid that a Quaker marriage might not be legal.
Uxbridge had a huge number of pubs in the 17th and 18th centuries, and was associated with milling and brewing.
In 1831 the Mirror published an engraving of the back of the George Inn, and said:
“The George Inn still remains, though it has been greatly diminished, A portion has been taken off either end in the man street, and converted into two good dwelling houses with shops; the one in the eastern end is now occupied by Mr Handy and that on the western by Mr Basset. The whole is still under one roof. The interior has been much altered. The panelled wainscotting and some old carving formerly to be seen in several rooms, is removed. This estate if the property of Samuel Salter, Esq of Rickmansworth, Herts. The house was considerably larger than now appears. There still remains, notwithstanding all the alterations that have been made, one spacious room which was formerly used for many years as a dissenting place of worship, and the county court is still held in it. Though the inn appears now but as a second-rate house, yet, a very slight inspection of the premises would show that they were able to afford ample accommodation to the Parliamentary commissioners. Here is at the present day stabling for upwards of sixty horses. Many of the rooms are turned into corn lofts, and the whole appearance is materially changed from what it must have been at the time of the treaty.
“It appear therefore, that at the Treaty House the parties met. The present George Inn was the place where the Parliamentary Commissioners sojourned; the abode of the King’s Commissioners exists no longer as an Inn.
“We have extracted these particulars from a very respectable history of Uxbridge, published there a few years since. To the same source are we indebted for the original of the first engraving. The second is from a sketch by a zealous correspondent at Windsor. We visited Uxbridge a few weeks since, and found all accommodations of the George Inn to the letter. There is, however, a sad lack of carved and panelled work in the premises. The large room before spoken of as the rendezvous of the County Court is also appropriated to still more social assemblages. There scores of jovial souls meet ever and anon (for Uxbridge, like every other country-town, has its choice spirits) to quaff away their cares, and blow adrift life’s troubles in a cloud of smoke.
“We ungratefully forget whether Uxbridge is famed for ale; we know it is for malt, but then the River Colne and the Grand Junction Canal are hard by. The obliging person who showed us the large room said something too about Harmonic Meetings: it is to be hoped the Parliamentary Commissioners were as harmonious there as are the occasional occupants in our times.”
(from The Mirror of Literature, Amusement and Instruction, Saturday November 5, 1831.)
By the time that the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society visited Uxbridge in 1861, the George was still standing but ad been much altered. George Eves wrote in his paper for the Society that: “Uxbridge has always been noted for the number of its inns: Camden says in his time this town was “full of inns”. There are still twenty-one left….” He continued: “The George Inn still remains but much altered. The outside staircase in the yard was removed about three years back: I have a print of it lent me by Mr Hutson, shewing the yard, stairs and entrance from the street; it is taken from a sketch made by Sir W. Ross, the artist, who was a native of this town; his father lived in a house that adjoined the church….”
(Messuages – property – synonymous with dwelling-house; and a grant of a messuage with the appurtenances, will not only pass a house, but all the buildings attached or belonging to it, as also its curtilage, garden and orchard, together with the close on which the house is built.)
THIS INDENTURE made the 15th day of December in the fourth year of the reign of our sovereign Lord and Lady William and Mary by the grace of God King and Queene of England Scotland France and Ireland Defender of the Faith.
Anno Domini 1692 BETWEEN Samuel Browne of Harefield in the County of Middlesex Brewer and Hannah his Wife, Joseph Hale of Staines in the said County of Middlesex Distiller and Debora his wife Abraham Browne of Ovington in the County of Southton Yeoman and Joana his wife William Browne of Alton in the said County of Southton Maulster and Elizabeth his wife of the first part John Crosier the younger of Ickenham in the said County of Middlesex Gent of the second part John Turner of Denham in the County of Bucks Yeoman and Richard Turner of Fulmer in the said County of Bucks Yeoman of the third part Nathaniel Browne of St Saviours Southwark in the County of Surrey Brewer of the fourth part Richard Richardson of Uxbridge in the said County of Middlesex Yeoman Jonathan Cock of Ruislip in the said County of Middlesex Chapman Thomas Dell of Uxbridge aforesaid in the said County of Middlesex Maulster John Hudson of Ruislip aforesaid in the said County of Middlesex Bricklayer Michael Beedle of Ive in the County of Bucks Yeoman Matthew Martin of Iver aforesaid in the said County of Bucks Yeoman and Edward Swift of Uxbridge aforesaid in the said County of Middlesex Cooper of the fifth part WITNESSETH that it is covenanted concluded and agreed by and between the said parties to these presents and the said Samuel Browne Joseph Hale Abraham Browne and William Browne for their heirs executors administrators and assigns do covenant promise and grant to and with the said John Crosier and Nathaniel Browne their Heirs and Assigns by these presents that they the said Samuel Browne and Hannah his wife Joseph Hale and Debora his wife Abraham Browne and Joan his wife William Browne and Elizabeth his wife shall and will before the end of Hillary Term next ensuing the date of these presents acknowledge and levy before the Justices of the Common Pleas at Westminster to the said John Crosier Nathaniel Browne and the heirs of the said John Crosier one or more fyne or fynes cognizance de driot in due forof law by such certain name o names contents number of Messuages Cottages or Houses as shall be thought fit all those three Cottages of Tenements standing together in Uxbridge in the said County of Middlesex over against a Messuage or Inne called or known by the name of the Catherine Wheel now in the several tenures or occupations of Thomas Gladman William Goldar and Elizabeth Perk their assignee or assignees and of all the Messuage or House lately erected or built at the upper end of a Close called George Close belonging to the George Inne in Uxbridge aforesaid And All that little plot of ground paled inn and adjoining to the said new built house which House and Plot of ground is commonly called the Quakers Meeting House and burying place. And of all those two Messuages or Cottages with the Appurtenances situate and being in or near a place called the linch in Uxbridge aforesaid in the said County of Middlesex one of them in the tenure or occupation of the said County of Middlesex one of them in the tenure or occupation of Ralph Nicolas and the other in the occupation of John Tyler And of all those three other Messuages of Cottages adjoining together in Uxbridge aforesaid former in the tenure or occupation of Robert Farming now in the tenure or occupation of Thomas Davison Richard Grace and James Hutchins And also all gardens orchards besides commons and appurtenances thereto belonging upon which fyne for to be acknowledged and levied proclamation shall ad may be had according to the form of statute in that case made and provided which said fyne and the execution thereof shall bee and endure and the said John Crosier and Nathaniell Browne compeer in the said fyne shall or ever after stand and be seized of the said premises in the said fyne to be comprised to and for the uses intents and purposes in these presents hereafter mentioned and declared and to and for no other use intent or purpose whatsoever that is to say a for and concerning one of the aforesaid three Cottages or Tenements adjoining together lyinge over and against the said signe of the Catherin Wheele with a hay barn and garden plot thereto belonging and Appurtenances now in the tenure or occupation of the said Elizabeth Perk and part of the Tenement in the said Fyne to be comprises to the use and behoofe of the said John Turner and Richard Turner their heirs and assigns in trust for such uses in another deed made thereafter the said John Turner and Richard Turner by the said Samuel Browne and John Crosier is expressed and declared AND as for and concerning the other to of the aforesaid three Cottages or Tenements now in the said tenure or occupation of the said Thomas Gladman and William Goldar with the Barnes Gardens and Appurtenances thereto belonging And a little piece of Garden Plot fenced about at the ast end of the other cottage or tenement in he occupation of the said Elizabeth Perk and heretofore belonging thereto and parte of the tenement in the said fyne to be comprised to the use and behoofe of the said John Crosier to his Heirs and Assigns forever AND as for and concerning all that Messuage or House lately erected and built at the upper end of the said close called the George Close in Uxbridge aforesaid and plot of ground paled in and adjoining the said new built house commonly called the Quakers meeting house and burying place TO the use and behoof of the said Richard Richardson Jonathan Cock Thomas Dell John Hudson Michael Beedle Mathew Martin and Edward Swift their heirs and assigns in trust to them to be always hereafter used and continued a Meeting House and burying place as heretofore and now the same is used held and enjoyed and as for and concerning all the residue of the Messages Cottage Gardens with their appurtenances in the said fyne to be comprised and not hereinbefore to any use directed or declared to and for the only use and behoofe of the said Nathaniel Browne his heirs and assigns forever IN WITNESS whereof the parties first above named to these indentures of five parts interchangeably have set their hands and seals the day and year first above written.
Sealed and Delivered by
Samuel Browne Hanna his wife
and Nathaniell Browne in the presence of
Samuel Browne JUN, William Goldar and Jabez Goldar
Sealed and Delivered by John Crosier, Joseph Hale and Debora his wife in the presence of
William Goldar and Jabez Goldar