John Evatt of Castle Donington - Blacksmith and Quaker in the mid 17th Century

Specific Details

John Evatt Marriage
The Quaker records show that in 1660 John Evatt of Castle Donington married Dorothy Fox
John Evatt Prisoner
A search on Evatt in google e-books revealed that in 1660, John Evatt was one of 25 Quakers being held prisoner in Leicester Jail. The first two pictures above show a copy of the letter they wrote complaining of poor treatment.
John Evatt - in Dunwoody and Hood Genealogy
Another search of google e-books revealed a Genealogy of Dunwoody and Hood Families. This covers a period in late 17th Century Castle Donington and John Evatt is mentioned as one who was punished for holding a Quaker meeting at his house in the year 1679. The pictures above show the details of the goods confiscated as payment of the fine.
Children of John Evatt and Dorothy Fox
From the Quaker records we have Hannah born in 1661, James born in 1662, John born in 1663, Elisabeth born in 1666, Joseph born in 1668, Benjamin born in 1670 and Dorothy born in 1673. Benjamin was our forefather.
John Evatt and Dorothy Fox Deaths
John Evatt died in 1683. Dorothy Fox died in 1689. That is assuming that the burial records relate to the parents and not the children.

Historic Context

Quaker beginnings
The Quaker movement began in the mid 17th Century and was one of many dissenting bodies arising around the time of the Civil War. Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660. He favoured religious tolerance but the attempts he made to formalise this were resisted by Parliament. The Act of Uniformity, passed in 1662, required all clergy and schoolmasters to subscribe to the Book of Common Prayer. Ministers who refused to assent were subject to the Great Ejection and some 2000 were deprived of their livings. Nonconformists who refused to attend the Church of England's worship and attempted to conduct their own religious services were subject to fines and imprisonment. Charles made a Declaration of Indulgence in 1672 but was forced to withdraw it in 1673. Meanwhile the Quaker Act of 1662 required people to swear an oath of allegience to the king, which Quakers did not do out of religious conviction. Charles died in 1685, converting to Catholicism on his death bed. His brother, James became king but was Catholic so his daughter Mary and her husband, William of Orange wer brought to the throne in 1688. In 1689 they passed the Toleration Act. This gave freedom of worship to Protestant Non Conformists but not to Catholics. All through these years Quakers had continued to openly hold their meetings and were willing to be punished for doing what they believed was right. Wiki History of the Quakers
George Fox 1624-1691
George Fox was one of the main founders of the Quaker movement. He wrote in his journal that at the age of 19 'At the command of God on the 9th day of the 7th month 1643 I left my relatives.' Through his life he travelled all over the British Isles, the Low Countries and Germany and even to the West Indies and North America. He was from Drayton-in-the-Clay (now known as Fenny Drayton) in Leicestershire, but there is no evidence that he was related to the Dorothy Fox who married John Evatt!
Edward Mugilston
This web page about the history of Swanningtonrefers to Edward Mugilston at whose house John and Dorothy got married. Click on Village Religion on the bottom left of the page.