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Bill Samuel, August 4, 2002
Bill Samuel

Quaker Tour of England, Page 21 of 22
Earlham Hall

[Earlham Hall-photo 1] [Earlham Hall-photo 2]
[Earlham Hall-photo 3]
Earlham Hall, Norwich  photos by Bill Samuel, 28 June 1998

Earlham Hall was the family home of the Gurney family for some time. However, they never owned it, but only leased it. It is now used by the School of Law at The University of East Anglia.

The Gurneys were unlanded gentry in Norwich who were Quakers from very early days. The family had been grain wholesalers. They began financing farmers, and by 1800 were primarily bankers. They were also active in social welfare concerns.

The family of John and Catherine Gurney stood out among the plain Friends (Quakers) of Norwich Meeting because of their bright colored clothing, fashionable manners, visits to the theatre and to operas, and other practices frowned on by most Friends of that era. But two of their children, Elizabeth Gurney Fry and Joseph John Gurney, became among the most prominent Friends of the 19th century. Both of them became plain Friends, were recorded as ministers rather early in their lives, became evangelicals, traveled widely in the ministry, and were active in social reform causes.

Elizabeth Gurney Fry was not only a leading Friend, but also became very widely known in the wider society. Her evangelical zeal and Christian compassion led her to work with prisoners, the insane, and the homeless. She was internationally renowned for her work, and even today there are Elizabeth Fry Societies devoted to prison work. She was also an eloquent evangelical preacher. An example of her sermons is What owest thou unto thy Lord?

Joseph John Gurney is little known outside Friends, but played a key role among Quakers, with one wing of Friends becoming known as Gurneyites. He was perhaps the most prominent Friends' minister of evangelical views in the 19th century. He traveled widely in the United States, and had a tremendous (and sometimes divisive) influence among Friends there. Gurney was an early supporter of the Indiana school which eventually was named Earlham College, in honor of Earlham Hall. You can find a number of his writings on the Quaker Writings Home Page - 19th Century Material and on The Quaker Homiletic Online Anthology.

Quakers in Norwich

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1. Tour front page
12. Cartmel
2. Bunhill Fields/Bunhill Meeting
13. Swarthmoor Hall and Meeting
3. Jordans Meeting/Barn/Farmhouse
14. Quaker Tapestry Exhibition at Kendal
4. Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre
15. Lancaster Castle
5. Fenny Drayton
16. Brigflatts Meeting
6. Mancetter Parish Church
17. Firbank Fell
7. Hartshill Meeting
18. York
8. Coventry Cathedral
19. The Retreat Mental Hospital
9. Ironbridge, Coalbrookdale
20. Norwich
10. Crawshawbooth Meeting
21. Earlham Hall
11. Pendle Hill
22. Reflections After the Tour

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