History of Reigate Quakers....
How did Quakerism begin?
In the Seventeenth Century the Church of that day was being questioned, and a number of dissident sects were being formed. George Fox and the early Quakers were one such sect.
Fox in his early youth questioned the Church's authority, when only the educated priests could speak on the word of God to a widely uneducated congregation.
In those days it was acceptable for the people to ask innocent questions of the priest, but Fox went far beyond this. He used fiery language. He called churches "steeple houses", and was thrown out of St. Paul's Cathedral for heckling during the sermon.
He drew crowds and could speak for hours, strange for a man who founded religion based on silence, where very little is spoken during worship.
Quaker history begins in the Midlands and North Country, but it soon reached Reigate.
George Fox was touring the country, and in 1655 came to Reigate. He was told of a sympathetic magistrate, and enquired "Which is this Thomas Moore?" Having met Thomas Moore, he "convinced" him, as we say, rather than "converted" him.
Moore gave a field to the Reigate Friends for a burial ground, and subsequently a meeting house was built. This was rebuilt more than once, and in the Victorian times a rather grand building existed. By 1980 it was felt that this was too large for a Meeting House, and that it could be demolished, and much of the land could be used to build sheltered housing for Reigate people, with a smaller Meeting House attached. Hence this block of flats was named after Thomas Moore. We also established two other similar schemes in the Borough for people - not just Quakers - with housing needs.
An early Quaker meeting house
Today: Thomas Moore house from the lower burial ground
"Be still and cool in thy own mind and spirit from thy own thoughts"