Michael Ahern , writing in the Cork Historical and Archaeological Journal has an article called “The Quakers of Youghal” which details the various families from the outset to the 20th century. Initially two English women preached at the Market Square in Youghal ( today near the Post Office there would have been a Cross and north of it was North Cross Lane which still exists). The two brave ladies were Elizabeth Fletcher and Elizabeth Smith. Some of the soldiers who hear them became interested – in particular Captain James Sicklemore and Lieutenant Robert Sandham.
Sandham married a local girl, Deborah Baker. both officers got land at Fermoy but Sandham sold his and returned to Youghal where he lived on the Main Street and his house was used as the first Meeting House.
The authorities were not happy and posted sentries on the door to prevent men entering the premises for a “meeting”. At that stage some Quakers left the town – six men and women and nine children were given money to help them leave.
William Penn mentions concern about him and tries to meet with him.
We also hear of him going into St. Mary’s Collegiate Church to harangue the congregation. They clearly did not appreciate his intervention, he was manhandled out of the church and physically abused by the congregation with both sticks and stones. Deborah Sandham was equally unwelcome when she went into St. Mary ‘s and also the church of the Independents ( Chapel Lane) and Robert Sandham was jailed in 1661 for refusing to serve on a jury, and his horse taken from him.
The Quakers kept reasonably detailed records of births, marriages and deaths. For those who are interested there are microfilm copies of the registers available. Nearest to Youghal is the Cork County Archive Centre in Blackpool, Cork. There is a good, easy to navigate website which details what is available – Minute books, Registers etc.
The records go back to 1671 for births, marriages and deaths. There are occasional comments about people being disunited or disowned.
Francis Malone, of Youghal, “took to wife” Ann Hillary of Waterford in 1756. For some reason he was “disowned” and disappears from the records. Ann however “remained” in the system and later died in Waterford.
Looking through the records you see many, very short lives as infant mortality was a significant feature of life then – even for wealthy families like the Harveys.
The Quaker method of writing dates is different to what is normally used elsewhere in Ireland – it is in the format Month – Day – Year ( just as was accepted in the United States).