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Extract of the Bowes Wrightsons
Information sourced from the Longstaffs of Teesdale & Weardale
P.396 - (cxcvii.) Appendix XIII. - Wills of Dixon and Railton.
Thomas Railton, whose early life the author gives " in his
own words," but does not mention the source from which he obtained them:-
" I was born on the 30th of the sixth month, 1671 [i.e., 30 August 1671], at Bowes in the north part of Yorkshire, and educated in the way of the Church of England. In the year 1685, being about 14 years of age, and then a scholar with Richard Wharton, priest of the parish and teacher of a free school in Bowes it providentially happened that by the invitation of Francis Wrightson ( one called a Quaker), at whose house a meeting was kept about 2 miles from the place of my abode, my mother went to meeting there, and took me to ride before her; at which meeting there were two ministers, namely, John Bowron and George Rook, the latter then living in Cumberland, but since in Ireland, being come to visit Friends thereaways, by whose powerful Ministry and lively prayer it pleased God to open my heart and to see the vanity of this present world, of which, for my short time, I had had some share. . . . Now after I was joined with those people, the word of God more powerfully wrought in me, and shewed me that I was to alter the course of my conversation, that was, to leave the corrupt life and to shun evil company; forasmuch as I was bowed before the Lord, and had given up my name to serve Him, I then saw I must walk in the narrow way, and leave the vain compliments, the putting off the hat, and bowing the knee to man, etc. Upon which I was soon taken notice of, and complaint made to my mother of my neglecting to conform to these things, by the priest, my then master, who was moved at my behaviour, and, I suppose, intended at that time to use the rod, and having made preparation, called me to him, and said, "I heard today that thou wentest to Mr Bounskell, and didst not put off thy hat and bid good-morrow,' adding, 'What is thy reason for so doing?- whether is it pride or religion?' Upon which I told him it was not pride. 'Then,' said he, ' it must be religion; and if so, thou must not be whipped,' and so laid down the rod. ' But,' said he, ' if for religion, let me know why thou refusedst, and give me some precedent.' So I told him I had been reading in the Revelations, and there I found that an angel shewed John many things, and that John said, ' When I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship the angel that shewed me those things; but the angel said, " See thou do it not, for I am of thy fellow-servants, and of thy brethren the prophets, and them which keep the sayings of this book : worship God. " ' And for this, I told him, I refused to do it unto men. But he endeavoured to persuade me that what he requested of me was no more than a civil respect between man and man, and from thence he thought I might the better conform to it; and to make me the more willing to believe it was no worship, but respect, he turned me to the place of the children of Heth and of Abraham bowing to each other, and also proceeded to shew me something of the like kind among the children of Israel in the time of Moses and Joshua. But all these were to no purpose, for my eyes were open to see a more glorious dispensation than that of Moses, yea, or the prophets; for though they were good men, and that by the Spirit of Christ in them they did foretell the coming of Christ and of his sufferings, yet they did not live to see those things come to pass which they had spoken of: so that he had no force in his argument to make me use those things, which might be used among the fathers, and also after the law. And since the New Testament is silent, and gives no account of either Christ or his apostles being in the practice of bowing, I did not see why either knee or hat should be expected of me; for as for the latter I have no account at all, therefore I stood to my principal and kept to the light. . . . I had a quiet day. . . . after this, whether for the grief he was in . . . . or from the