See also

Family of George (junior) WITHY and Lydia HARWOOD

Husband: George (junior) WITHY (1763-1837)
Wife: Lydia HARWOOD (1772-1860)
Children: Hester WITHY (1795-1834)
Edward WITHY (1797-1799)
Rachel WITHY (1799-1840)
George (junior 2) WITHY (1802- )
Mary WITHY (1802-1865)
Samuel WITHY (c. 1804-1827)
William WITHY (1808-1808)
John WITHY (1809-1882)
Edward WITHY (1812-1860)
Lydia WITHY (1814-c. 1851)
Marriage 17 Jun 1794 Bristol Quaker

Husband: George (junior) WITHY


George (junior) WITHY, Quakersfriars Bristol

Name: George (junior) WITHY1,2
Sex: Male
Father: George WITHY (1725- )
Mother: Mary CANWIN (OR IS IT CANVIN?)NEE FOWLER) (1729-1822)
Birth 7 Jul 1763 Bristol, Gloucestershire
Occupation Woollen Draper
Death 30 Sep 1837 (age 74) Melksham

Wife: Lydia HARWOOD


Lydia HARWOOD, 1860, age 88, Edward and Lydia Withy deaths_1860

Name: Lydia HARWOOD
Sex: Female
Father: Edward HARWOOD (1739-1806)
Mother: Mary TANNER (c. 1744-1803)
Birth 4 Feb 1772 Barton Regis
Death 3 Jun 1860 (age 88) Portishead, Somerset

Child 1: Hester WITHY


Spouse: William SIMPSON, hester withy w simpson marriage 1825

Name: Hester WITHY
Sex: Female
Spouse: William SIMPSON (1795-1866)
Birth 25 Apr 1795 Bristol, Gloucester
Death 30 Mar 1834 (age 38) Melksham
Burial 6 Apr 1834 (age 39) Melksham; Quaker cemetery King St, Wiltshire, England

Child 2: Edward WITHY

Name: Edward WITHY
Sex: Male
Birth 26 Jul 1797
Death 1799 (age 1-2)

Child 3: Rachel WITHY


Rachel WITHY, Rachel Tanner death 1840

Name: Rachel WITHY
Sex: Female
Spouse: James TANNER (c. 1791-c. 1826)
Birth 22 Jul 1799 Castle Precincts, Bristol, Gloucester
Death 27 Jan 1840 (age 40) Portishead, Somerset

Child 4: George (junior 2) WITHY


George (junior 2) WITHY, 9 Pierrepont St bath


Spouse: Elizabeth SHIELD, G Withy E Shield marriage 1829

Name: George (junior 2) WITHY
Sex: Male
Spouse: Elizabeth SHIELD (1809- )
Birth 8 Jul 1802 Bristol, Gloucester

Child 5: Mary WITHY

Name: Mary WITHY
Sex: Female
Spouse: Edward (or edmund?) NAISH (c. 1798- )
Birth 9 Feb 1802 Bristol, Gloucester3
Death 1865 (age 62-63)

Child 6: Samuel WITHY

Name: Samuel WITHY
Sex: Male
Birth c. Apr 1804 Bristol, Gloucester
Death 7 Jul 1827 (age 23) Frenchay
Burial 11 Jul 1827 (age 23)
Frenchay R3 584 11

Child 7: William WITHY

Name: William WITHY
Sex: Male
Birth 29 Aug 1808
Death 1808 (age 0)
Burial 3 Sep 1808 (as an infant) Frenchay
Son of George & Lydia of Downend Glos - 1808 3 Sept age - 6 hrs Frenchay 1808 8 29 R3 583 75

Child 8: John WITHY

Name: John WITHY4
Sex: Male
Spouse 1: Mary WRIGHT (1815-1886)
Spouse 2: Mary WRIGHT (1815-1886)
Birth 2 Oct 1809 Mangotsfield, Gloucestershire
Occupation Comercial Clerk
Death 29 Dec 1882 (age 73)

Child 9: Edward WITHY


Edward WITHY, Annie_Treadgold_family


Spouse: Sarah ATREE, Sarah atree

Name: Edward WITHY
Sex: Male
Spouse: Sarah ATREE (1810-1897)
Birth 6 Mar 1812 Downend, Bristol, Gloucestershire
Occupation Woollen Draper & tailor
Death 31 May 1860 (age 48)

Child 10: Lydia WITHY


Lydia WITHY, 1851, age 37, Lydia and samuel withy deaths 1851

Name: Lydia WITHY
Sex: Female
Birth 18 Mar 1814
Death c. 9 Jun 1851 (age 37) Bourton, Claverham

Note on Husband: George (junior) WITHY

Marriage witnesses: Woollen drapers of George. Bride d Edward/Mary at Quakers Friars Bristol


At the time of Rachel's marriage (1826), is shown as living at Downend,



GEORGE WITHY (1763 – 1837)

A Testimony of Wiltshire Monthly Meeting concerning our deceased friend, George Withy, who died at Melksham, the 30th day of the ninth month, 1837, and was interred in the Friends' burial ground at the Friars, Bristol, the 6th of tenth month, aged seventy-four years; a minister forty-nine years. (Note that in the 1950s, when the Quakers moved out, the bodies were removed to Greenbank cemetery)

We desire to bow in humble submission to the will of our heavenly Father, in having removed from the church militant this our beloved and honoured friend; and while we seek not to exalt the man, we would magnify the sufficiency of that grace which enabled him, during a long series of years, to maintain an unshaken testimony to the truth, and by his Christian example, and deep experience in spiritual things, to edify those amongst whom his lot was cast.

George Withy was born in Bristol, the 7th of seventh month, 1763, of parents not of our religious Society. When about eleven years of age, he was taken from school, and worked at his father's business; by which he was introduced into company that weakened those religious impressions, with which his mind at this early season was visited, and he entered deeply into many of the vanities and vices of youth. In reference to this period of his life he writes: "I often felt the secret convictions of something within, that I was convinced would, if fully obeyed, have led me into the paths of virtue; yet I did violence thereto, and often eluded the gentle intimations of God's Holy Spirit, thus striving with me." About the same time he also remarks: "I found that I had a corrupt heart, from which no good fruit could be produced, and that I never could be brought to the enjoyment of the peace of God's children; but as my evil heart became renewed, by the operation of the one saving baptism, of which John's was a figure, even the baptism ol Him, whose fan is in his hand, and who alone can thoroughly purge the floor of the sinner's heart, and purify it from the defilements of our fallen nature."

He frequented for some time the meetings of various religious denominations; but felt that however painful to his natural inclination, he must endure the cross and endeavour to despise the shame, and openly avow to the world his belief in the principles professed by the people called Quakers.

In his twenty-second year, he was admitted a member of our religious Society, and first appeared as a minister, when about twenty-five years of age. In the year 1794, he married and settled in his native city, where he continued till 1805, when he removed his family into the compass of Frenchay meeting. In 1828, he became a member of this meeting, and resided at Melksham the remainder of his life.

In the relation of husband and parent he was affectionate and exemplary, diligent in his attendance of meetings for worship and discipline, and carefully encouraged, both by example and precept, the frequent reading of the Holy Scriptures. He often visited those to whom he thought he could suitably administer either reproof or encouragement, and was a useful and efficient member of civil society. In his intercourse with persona not in profession with us, though he faithfully supported our peculiar principles, his zeal was so tempered with charity that he was beloved and respected by those who did not unite in his religious views.

For some time after his first appearance in the ministry, his offerings were not frequent; but he was favoured to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; and thus became eminently qualified to advocate the cause of righteousness on the earth. He was clear and sound in doctrine, very careful not to exceed the openings of the Spirit of Truth; and while he rebuked, with a just severity, the lukewarm and indifferent, and earnestly incited all to greater diligence, he was often the means of conveying much comfort and refreshment to the humble and drooping mind.

Our dear friend's time was much devoted to the service of his great Master, in proclaiming the glad tidings of the gospel, both at home and abroad, on which account he visited most, if not all, the meetings of Friends in England and Wales; was four times in Ireland; once in Scotland; in 1821 and 1822 paid an extensive visit in North America. He was at times engaged in the arduous service of visiting families: nor were his labours of love confined to our own Society, but his mind was often drawn towards professors of other denominations, and he was frequently engaged in holding meetings with them.

The low state of religion amongst us in many places often greatly discouraged him; yet on his return from one of his journeys, he remarks, that "although 'death is come up into our windows, and is entered into our palaces;' although the spirit of the world hath desolated many heretofore pleasant spots, yet I do fully believe in the unmerited mercy of the God of our fathers, and that, as a people, we shall yet eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord our God that hath dealt wondrously with us."

His fervent gospel labours were continued as long as bodily strength permitted him to exercise his gift, and the retrospect thereof was often a source of peaceful satisfaction to his mind, yet accompanied with humbling views of himself, as an instrument, which is thus feelingly alluded to in the following short extract taken from his memorandums. "In the review of my labours in the gospel, I only feel as an unprofitable servant, and have nothing to trust to or lean upon but the free mercy of God in Christ Jesus. The expressions of the apostle I cordially unite with: 'Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.'"

He continued unshaken in his attachment to the principles he had adopted in early life, as appears by the following remark, made to a friend a short time before his decease: "Should any persons wish to know what my principles are, thou mayest tell them they are in unison with those held by our first Friends; and that from the time of my convincement to the present day, I have never felt the least disposition to waver from them; and the longer 1 live, the more I am convinced that I have not taken up a false rest, nor settled on an unsound foundation." And in a letter of recent date, addressed to a friend, he expresses himself in the following manner: "I remain unmoved in all points of Christian doctrine, as held by our early Friends, and by faithful brethren since their time." And in another: "Should I never again have an opportunity to tell thee, I now do it with great sincerity, that it is my belief that the inward revelation of the will of God to man, by the operation of his Holy Spirit, is the only ground of hope of having our understandings opened availingly to see into the mystery of the redeeming love of God, in and through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is only by a submission to this inwardly revealed will, that we can perceive and feel the advantage and efficacy of the sacrifice of our dear Redeemer, on Calvary's mount, where I believe he tasted death for every man; and when he bowed his holy head and said, ' It is finished,' every human soul was placed in a salvable condition."

From about the 70th year of his age the health of our valuable friend began perceptibly to decline, and as his infirmities increased he was subjected to great bodily suffering; but being able continually to believe in the love of God to his soul, he could adopt the language of filial submission, " Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him." The progress of infirmity had been very gradual until the 20th of seventh month, 1837, when an attack of diarrhoea greatly reduced his remaining strength. His conduct under affliction was very instructive; and when unable to leave his house, he was still a preacher of righteousness, by his patient endurance of pain and sickness, his great humility, and his many lively expressions of piety and resignation. At one time he remarked, " I have not language to express the consolations I feel: death has lost his sting; thanks be to God which giveth me the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." Again, he said, "My prospects are all cheerful; I have not a cloud in my path."

After alluding to the pleasure of the society of his family connections, he said, "It is hard to part from them, but to be present with the Lord is far better. 1 have great joy and peace in believing that I shall be saved, through the adorable mercy of God in Christ Jesus my Saviour." Afterwards, being in great pain, he acknowledged that in his sufferings he had abundant consolation; and this expression often dwelt on his lips, and filled his heart with holy triumph," The eternal God is my refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

Such was the peaceful tranquillity, the unclouded assurance, the holy joy, with which this our dear friend awaited the final close. On sixth day, the 29th of ninth month, on taking leave of a relation, he said," Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for the Lord is with me, his rod and his staff they comfort me." This was the last expression indicative of his state of mind. At a quarter before 12 o'clock, on the following day, he quietly departed; and is, we fully believe, through Divine mercy, united to those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Signed, in and on behalf of Wiltshire Monthly Meeting, held at Melksham, the 21st day of second month, 1838.. [Here follow the signatures of men and women Friends.]

Read and approved in the Quarterly Meeting for Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, held at Melksham, the 27th of the third month, 1838, and signed on its behalf.

Our late honest plain-spoken friend, George Withy, related the following anecdote whilst in this country: On a certain time as he was travelling alone in Wales, where he was paying a religious visit, he felt a sudden impression that it would be right in him to turn round and go directly home. It was about mid-day, or shortly after, for he had attended a meeting in the morning, and was on his way to another to be held in the afternoon. On receiving this apparent direction to forsake the work to which he had previously felt bound, he paused, and endeavoured to weigh the matter in his own mind, looking for the pointings of Truth. The result of his secret breathing for right guidance was a strong impression of duty, to " (Jo home, and that quickly." He obeyed, and by travelling all night reached his residence in the morning. He found that at the time the call to return home was felt by him, a niece of his was drowned, and his wife had a family of children to care for, his presence and assistance on the occasion seemed indispensable.

These rebukes were not so severely pungent as that delivered by our quick-witted friend, George Withy, when in this land. The anecdote is told on the authority of a Friend, a member of the meeting where it took place, and present at the time the incident occurred. It was in the afternoon, and some assembled were remarkably heavy and drowsy. After sitting sometime, George arose, and whilst his countenance was clothed with much seriousness, said, "It came into my mind to say, that if Friends would bring their pillows with them when they come to meeting, they could sleep more comfortably! “

From: A series of tracts on religious and moral subjects, Volume 3 (1885) by the Tract Association of Friends (Philadelphia, Pa.) - The Duty and Efficacy of True Prayer - GEORGE WITHY

GEORGE WITHY was the son of an ale-house keeper in Bristol, England, who was a dissipated man, but his wife was a religious woman and much concerned for the welfare of her children. Thomas Carrington, a minister of the Society of Friends, from Pennsylvania, while on a religious visit to England, felt a concern to visit the ale-house keepers of Bristol.

Among others was the father of George Withy; the latter being 13 years of age, was engaged in carrying round the ale to his father's customers, and having a remarkably sweet voice, he was often asked to sing. The exposure to which he was subjected was cause of great concern to his pious mother, which she had expressed to Thomas Carrington. Before the interview closed, George Withy came in. T. C. looked attentively at him for a while, then placing his hand on his head, remarked to his mother - thou need feel no concern for the lad, for he will be met in a narrow place, he will become convinced of the principles of the Society of which I am a member, and will have to visit my native land in the love of the Gospel. George mentally resolved he would never become a Quaker, never become a minister, and he would certainly never visit America. "

In reference to this period of his life, he writes: "I often felt the secret convictions of something within that I was convinced would, if fully obeyed, have led me into the paths of virtue; yet I did violence thereto, and often eluded the gentle intimations of God's Holy Spirit thus striving with me. I found that I had a corrupt heart, from which no good fruit could be produced, and that I never could be brought to the enjoyment of the peace of God's children, but as my evil heart became renewed by the operation of the one saving baptism of which John's was a figure." He frequented for some time the meetings of various religious denominations. At length he had an alarming attack of sickness, during which he was waited upon by his anxious mother, whose exercises on his account were very great. He was indeed met in a narrow place, and became convinced of the principles of Friends. While relating this circumstance to Thomas Evans, he said: " When I left my sick room, I appeared in the garb thou now see'st me in."

He was received into membership about the 22nd year of his age, and first appeared as a minister in his 25th year. After his marriage he and his wife settled several miles from Bristol, and were in the practice of regularly attending the meeting twice in the week, and having no conveyance were obliged to walk, which they continued to do, until they had six children old enough to walk with them; never omitting a meeting except in case of sickness, and always taking the children along with them.

He removed in the year 1805, to reside within the compass of Frenchay Meeting. Some years after this, feeling a religious concern to visit America, which he long resisted, reasoning that he could not leave his dependent family and aged mother, who was then about 87 years old, he was brought to a state of submission by a remarkable circumstance. As he was lying on his bed one afternoon with closed eyes, under a feeling of deep distress on account of this prospect, it appeared to him that two men entered the room, each carrying a stool, such as are used at funerals, and set them at the foot of his bed, they then left the room. Soon afterward they returned bringing in a coffin, which they placed on the stools. Observing a plate on the lid, he read the inscription: GEORGE WITHY, DIED 9TH MO. 30TH, 1822, AGED 59 YEARS. This increased his distress, when he heard in his mental ear the language: "If thou wilt be faithful and yield to my requiring, thy family shall be cared for in thy absence, and I will add fifteen years to thy life, and thou shalt return to close thy mother's eyes in death."

At one time when travelling alone, paying a religious visit in Wales, having been at a meeting in the morning and was going to another to be held in the afternoon; as he was riding along, he felt a sudden impression that it would be right to turn around and go directly home. So unexpected and sudden an impression caused some hesitation, and he stopped and weighed the thing in the best manner he could. The result was that he must go home, and as quickly as he could. He did so, and travelled all night, reaching home in the morning. Here he found that his niece had been drowned about the time that the impression was made on his mind. His wife had the care of their children, and his presence and assistance were almost indispensable.

The visit to America was performed in 1821-2, and while in this country, George Withy frequently had Thomas Evans for his travelling companion. One day G. W. seemed thoughtful, and was evidently passing through religious exercise. He informed T. Evans that this was the day that he had seen on the plate on the coffin should be the date of his death. He feared that he had not been sufficiently faithful, and that his death therefore, would really occur. This, however, did not prove to be the case. Thomas Evans privately made a note of this date at the time, and on hearing of George Withy's death, which occurred in England, he found on referring to the note, that it was exactly fifteen years afterward, to a day.

G. W. and T. E. visited Washington during the sessions of Congress, and G. W. wishing to hold a public meeting, T. E. consulted some persons of prominence, who encouraged it and proposed to have it announced by hand bills, which were accordingly posted in different parts of the city.

On their way to attend the meeting, the Friends observed a large number of vehicles collected in the neighbourhood of the Capitol, the sight of which almost overwhelmed George Withy, who remarked to his companion that he feared he had made a mistake; the latter encouraged him to believe that this was not so. On arriving at the door of the House of Representatives, so large a crowd had assembled, that way had to be made through it for them to reach the seats it was intended they should occupy.

On a stand before them were a bible and a glass of water, which, at their request, were removed. For, while he highly prized the Holy Scriptures, he felt that his dependence in the ministry of the gospel must be immediately upon the Lord alone.

After sitting some time in silence, George Withy arose with the text: "For ye see your calling, brethren: how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are; That no flesh should glory in His presence." Upon this he enlarged in a remarkable manner, the audience being much impressed and affected. Old men with white hair, and women dressed as dowagers, were equally broken under his baptizing ministry, the tears streaming down their faces, so that, to use the language of Thomas Evans : "The floor was literally strewed with tears, and it was one of the most remarkable meetings I had ever attended."

After the meeting, the people crowded up to speak to G, W., expressing their satisfaction and approval of the sentiments delivered. As he was descending the steps of the Capitol, a Presbyterian minister embraced him, saying: "My dear brother, you have preached the Gospel this day."

Upon returning to his native land, he found the promise verified: his family had been eared for, and his mother was dill living. She deceased soon after, being about 90 years of age.

For some years previous to his decease he was much afflicted with painful disease, and toward the last his sufferings were often excruciating. Yet through the power of divine grace, he was preserved in patient resignation to the will of the Lord, and though deprived of nearly all power of voluntary motion, yet such was the peaceful tranquillity and holy joy which covered his spirits, that he could say, it was the happiest period of his life, and that he would not willingly exchange situations with those in perfect health. At one time he remarked: “I have not language to express the consolations I feel. Death has lost his sting. 'Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.'" Again he said: "My prospect is all cheerful; I have not a cloud on my path." On the 30th of Ninth month, 1837, he quietly departed, aged 74 years; a minister of the Gospel 49 years.


Quakersa Friars - History: The oldest buildings in the group are survivals of the Dominican Friary founded in 1227 and give the “Friars” part of the name. In 1570 the Guild of Cutlers, or Smiths, took over the Friars Dormitory, and Bakers’ Hall, originally the friars guest hall, became the guildhall of the Bakers. In 1696 the Society of Friends or “Quakers” bought the friars’ cemetery and in 1746 built the Meeting House (largely rebuilt in 1869) adjoining the two guildhalls. These three buildings now form the historic group along with the early 19th Century cottage and Mid-Georgian Meeting House. In 1956 the City bought the buildings and those that surrounded them were demolished. The former Meeting House was converted to house the Central Registry Office (1960) and

Bakers and New Halls were restored and used for a permanent public planning exhibition (1963). Cutlers Hall was restored in 1968.


When the first Friends, or Quakers as they became known, arrived in Bristol in 1654/6, they held their meetings in the “great orchard at the Friars”.


The buildings were acquired by Quaker Dennis Hollister, who was an MP for Somerset under Cromwell and his Parliamentarians.


In 1670, the dissenters built a Meeting House at the Friars, but in 1681 it was wrecked by “Quaker basher” Sheriff Knight and his cohorts and they were prevented


from using it.



Many of the congregation were even thrown into prison.


But in 1686, the keys for the “greate meeting house at the Fryers” were returned, and 10 years later, William Penn – the founder of Pennsylvania – married Hannah Callowhill, Hollister’s granddaughter, there.


“A nearby burial ground – in all probability the friars’ original one, where the old toilets and nearby car park used to be – was used by the Quakers from 1700 onwards,”


explains Bob.


“In the 1950s, when the Quakers moved out, the bodies were removed


to Greenbank cemetery.


“A second Meeting House, the one that’s recently been renovated, was built in the 1740s.”


In 1845, the Cutlers’ and Bakers’ halls were purchased by the Quakers for use as a Sunday school, and later in the century a new hall was added for a week-day school.


In 1936, both buildings, still housing schools, were “listed” as being of great historical value.


During World War II, Quakers Friars was used by War Relief Services, the Bristol Council For Refugees and the Bureau for Advice to Conscientious Objectors.


It also became a meeting place for Bristol Pacifists’ Co-ordination Committee, the local Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Depot for Bristol Central Fire Guards, an air raid wardens’ post and an air raid reception hostel, storing equipment and clothing.


At the end of the war in 1945, Quakers Friars, by some miracle, was still standing.


But after plans for the redevelopment of Broadmead had been revealed, the Quakers decided to move out.


In 1956, the Corporation acquired the whole group of buildings and four years later the historic Meeting House became home to the city’s register office.


In 1962, a new Meeting House was built on the site of an old Quaker burial ground in River Street, St Jude’s, which is where the Friends meet today.

Note on Wife: Lydia HARWOOD

In 1841 census, WITHY, Lydia age 65, Born 1776, living at: Flax Bourton, Long Ashton, Bedminster, Somerset


In 1851 Census living with Son at 9, Pierrepont St, Saint James, Bath as "Widow Annuitant"


1"Quaker Connections".
2Ibid. Source: [S5] Quaker Connections

3"Birth records".
4Barbara & David Withy 1999