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Northern echoes: regional identity in the early Quaker Movement, c.1650–1666

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McArthur, Euan David  ORCID logo


Studies of seventeenth-century Britain have increasingly recognised a multiplicity of centrifugal and centripetal identities at play. The early Quaker movement witnessed a dramatic convergence of such factors. Its founders came predominantly from the north and midlands of England, and they initially asserted themselves as such. This seemed to bely their theological universalism, and threaten national disintegration. Members appeared revulsed by London upon spreading south, but displayed a more accommodating attitude upon settling, and relaxed their former attitudes regarding region. Such a movement highlights the evolving relationship between religious thought and regional identity. Early Quakerism moved from provincial attachment to an increasingly national and universal register, but the relationship between these modes was continually negotiated throughout the century, and it provides a valuable case study for both historians of regional, religious, and political identity.


This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Taylor & Francis via


4303 Historical Studies, 43 History, Heritage and Archaeology

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The Seventeenth Century

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Informa UK Limited