ON ITS anniversary, the Mail recorded the events of 1652, when the young curate of Rampside, Thomas Lawson, from Clapham, offered his chapel pulpit to George Fox, the founder and leader of the growing Quaker movement.

It was a momentous occasion for both men.

The astonished Fox, who met with violent opposition from virtually every other member of the clergy, recorded that "I passed to Rampside, and there was a chapel in which one Thomas Lawson used to preach. He very lovingly spoke in the morning to his people of my coming in the afternoon, and when I was come all the country gathered there always....".

After hearing the long address by Fox, and much to the astonishment of his congregation, Lawson was convinced. He gave up the Rampside living and became a Quaker.

Thomas was then only 21, a deeply religious and highly intelligent man who was to suffer greatly for many years.

In the eyes of both Parliamentarians and Royalists, Quakers were highly suspect.

Their long lists of religious persecution still make terrible reading.

James Nayler, close friends of Fox, was a typical example of 'man's inhumanity to man' during those in tolerant times.

He was badly beaten up with Fox at North Scale in 1985, when the leader attempted to preach there. Fox's account is well known, but James Nayler and James Lancaster saved the leader's life. Lancaster favoured the Quakers, but his wife was then a secret anti-Quaker mole. The villagers persuaded her that Fox had bewitched him.