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Quorndon Friendly Society, 1848

Quorndon Friendly Society was established in 1805 by people living in the village. Its purpose was as a form of insurance against hard times and to meet their funeral costs. They would pay monthly subscriptions, which were invested to form a fund. The fund was then used for the benefit of members to meet doctor’s fees, for payments in times of hardship, or to pay for funerals etc. As the society developed, their scope widened and the Leicestershire Gazetteer & Directory for 1846 records:
“The Friendly Society here has lately purchased 10 acres of land, and allotted it in equal shares among the members, at moderate rents.”

This document shows the accounts of the society for 1848. It was very kindly donated by John Baird, from Alabama, USA, whose ancestor, Joseph Clarke, emigrated from Quorn to America in the 1850s. It is amazing to think that this piece of paper is over 160 years old and has travelled over 8,000 miles!

Joseph, a farmer, first settled in Libertyville, Illinois and became a citizen of the United States in 1865. This would have involved swearing allegiance to his new country and making a declaration that he would no longer have allegiance to Queen Victoria or the United Kingdom. John still has Joseph’s original naturalization document.

The accounts show that in 1848 the Quorndon Friendly Society had 339 members and stock worth £1,652, which is £145,000 at today’s prices.

Nearly forty years later the Leicester Chronicle for 30th May 1885, reported on the society’s 80th annual meeting. The membership had dropped dramatically.

“The 80th annual meeting of the Quorndon Friendly Society (usually called the Baptist Club) was held on Whit-Monday in the National schoolroom. The attendance was not large. Mr S Woodcock presided. Mr E Jacques, secretary, read the report, from which it appeared there are 71 members, the society having lost during the year two members by death and one member’s wife, and two from other causes, while none have been admitted. The funds of the society are in a very healthy condition, amounting to £718 11s 7d, or £10 2s 5d per member. A vote of thanks was passed, and the secretary was requested to convey the same to the honorary members for their contributions. The society received with great regret the resignation of the general treasurer, Mr Thos. Freeman, who has held that office for 34 years. A deputation was appointed to wait upon Mr Freeman and convey the thanks of the society to him for his services, the deputation to consist of Messrs S Woodcock, J Simpkin, T Parkinson, J Judd and E Jacques. Mr T Parkinson was appointed general treasurer, and Messrs J Simpkin (Barrow) and T Billson (Mountsorrel) local treasurers. In the year 1845 this society comprised 374 members."

Does anyone have any more information about the Quorndon Friendly Society, or know when it ceased to exist?

After this item was uploaded to the museum website, Phillip Hoyland contacted the museum team with more information about village Friendly Societies. He suggested looking in school logs and Church records to determine when the society ceased and continued:

"Your village Friendly Society like every village Friendly Society throughout the land would have had an annual Feast Day. This may also have been referred to as Club Walking Day. It would normally had taken place around the end of May - Oak Apple Day (29th May) was very popular, or the first week in June. In the early part of the 19th century it was the most important day of the year in village social life.
Apart from this day there were only two days holiday in the year – Christmas and Easter. Whit was not an official holiday until the 1880s, so an extra day of leisure was certainly going to be celebrated. It was a day when the school would have had the day off, hence looking at the log book. The celebrations would also have included a church service attended by all members, hence a look at the church records."

As the 19th century progressed many village/parish Friendly Societies closed down, as the popularity of national fraternities, such as the Odd Fellows, Shepherds and Foresters grew. These were financially more secure, and had the advantage that you could move from place to place and not lose the money you had paid in. You would simply leave the branch where you were and registered and transfer to the one in your new place of abode.

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 missing information Missing information: Does anyone have any more information about the Quorndon Friendly Society, or know when it ceased to exist?
Please email us at: team2022@quornmuseum.com
 Submitted on: 2014-06-20
 Submitted by: John Baird with additional information from Phillip Hoyland
 Artefact ID: 1837
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page or just on its own.

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