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© copyright Kevin Quick

John Grant Sargent (1813 - 1883), founder of the Fritchley Friends

Significant events in John's life are outlined below:

  • 30th July 1813 born in Paddington, London. John was the son of Isaac Sargent, a coach maker and brick maker, and his wife Hester Sturge
  • 1823 his parents moved to Paris leaving their sons to be educated in boarding schools at Epping and Islington.
  • April 1830 apprenticed to John D. Bassett, a Quaker draper, at Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire
  • 1834 joined his his father in Paris, and was employed in the same trades as his father
  • 1835 attended Wesleyan services, discarding his Quaker costume
  • 1838 started attending regualrly a Friends meeting promoted by his father at 24 Faubourg du Roule
  • 1842 dispossed of his businesses to take up farming in England
  • 1843 & 1844 went on religious missions to the south of France
  • Studied farming with Thomas Bayes at Kimberley, Norfolk
  • 23rd December 1846 married Catherine Doubell. Catherine was the daughter of George & Elizabeth Doubell of Reigate.
  • 1846-51 managed Bregsells Farm near Dorking, Surrey
  • 1851-4 superintending Hall Farm, near Moate, co. Westmeath, Ireland
  • 23rd November 1851 spoke for the first time in a Friends' meeting at Clonmel
  • 1853 published An Epistle of Love and Caution. This was critical of the growing influence of Joseph John Gurney's evangelical views
  • 1854 took over a wood-turning mill at Cockermouth, Cumbria
  • April 1860 issued a manuscript circular letter suggesting the assembling of conferences. These conference were held approximately three times a year between 1862 and 1869
  • 1864 moved to Fritchley, Derbyshire where he took over a bobbin mill
  • 1868 travelled to America with other Quakers to confer with the groups of primitive Friends known as 'smaller bodies'. They returned with the idea of separation from the London yearly meeting
  • January 1870 a general meeting was held at Fritchley and then twice a year thereafter. The members of this were known as the Fritchley Friends or Wilburites. John was clerk of the meeting and its leading light.
  • 27th December 1883 John died at Fritchley. He was buried on the 29th December in the Quaker burial ground at Toadhole Furnace, near Alfreton, Derbyshire.