In October 2012 a minibus-full of Stafford Friends experienced a deeply enriching visit to Dolgellau. We went to learn about the fascinating history of early Quakers in the area.
The first historical stop-off point was the Quaker Musuem in the centre of town. Our guide Catherine James showed us the marvellous tapestry (picture) which tells the story of the remarkable impact and aftermath of George Fox’s appearance in the town in 1657.
Fox wrote that he came over Cader Idris from the south in 1657 and that ‘on this hillside I could see a great way; and I was moved to sound the day of the Lord there; and told John ap John, a faithful Welsh minister, in what places God would raise up a people to set under his teaching. And we came down to a place called Dolgelly.’
His words to local people are recorded on the tapestry: ‘Turn from Darkness to Light and know the Spirit of God in your heart.’ Also recorded is his oft-repeated admonition: ‘Swear not by any oath but let your Yea be Yea and your Nay Nay’. As a result of his visit many people in the area became Quakers, though after heavy persecution a lot left for Pennsylvania.
Catherine James, a Dolgellau Quaker, has been the prime mover behind the establishment of a 7-mile Quaker trail around Dolgellau, which has display boards at several points of significance in the history of early Quakers in the area.