- 1708-1850 (Creation)
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This Meeting had direct powers of supervision over the monthly meetings and the extent of its authority was defined by the Yearly Meeting in London in 1743: 'When a quarterly meeting hath come to a judgement respecting any difference relative to any monthly meeting belonging to it, and notified the same in writing to such monthly meeting, the said monthly meeting ought to submit to the judgement of the quarterly meeting; but if such monthly meeting shall not be satisfied therewith, then the monthly meeting may appeal to the Yearly Meeting against the judgement and determination of the quarterly meeting' (Yearly Meeting in Norwich. Minute Book 1694-1794. SF 219). The quarterly meeting decided what particular meetings should be held and when any monthly meetings should be amalgamated; a minute of the Quarterly Meeting of Norfolk and Norwich, 30 September 1719 stated: 'This meeting considering the State of Yarmouth Meeting, and finding that it is joyned with no Monthly Meeting in this County, neither are the friends of that Place sufficient for to be a Monthly Meeting of themselves: John Manning, Gregory Springall, and John Gurney Junr. are therefore desired to consider ... what Monthly Meeting is most pro per for them to be a branch of ...' (Yearly Meeting Minutes. 2nd edition 1802. Minute of 1743. SF 222) and in December of that year the Friends of Yarmouth Meeting informed the Quarterly Meeting 'That they are desirous to be joyned with Norwich Monthly Meeting...' (Norfolk and Norwich Quarterly Meeting. Minute Book 1708/9-1726/7. SF 1). Furthermore, no monthly meeting could be divided without the consent of the Quarterly Meeting. (Yearly Meeting Minutes, 2nd edition 1802. Minute of 1715. SF 222).
Many charities and estates were administered by the quarterly meeting: the Norfolk and Norwich Quarterly Meeting administered, amongst others, the Buckingham Trust, which was composed of considerable estates around King's Lynn and was intended for the benefit of the poor. Until 1850 the Quarterly Meeting supervised the Monthly and particular meeting in Norfolk in the care of their poor and similar supervisory powers were held by other Quarterly Meetings. ('The Society of Friends and the treatment of its poor'. M.F.Lloyd Pritchard. Friends' Historical Journal 1947 and 1948).
The quarterly meeting was composed of representative from each monthly meeting. The monthly meetings sent in reports concerning attendance at the regular holding of meetings, financial matters, the building or closing of meeting houses as well as more particular reports concerning individual members or individual problems. Attempts were made by the quarterly meeting to insure that a high standard was maintained in all aspects of the organisation of its constituent meetings.
Until 1850, there was a Quarterly Meeting of Norfolk and Norwich but from 1851 this was amalgamated with the Quarterly Meeting of Cambridge and Huntingdon. This uniting of the two meetings gave rise to certain problems, particularly in the administration of charities, and it appears that bequests and gifts administered by the Quarterly Meeting before 1850 for charitable purposes, continued to be confined to persons and places within the compass of the original Quarterly Meeting, i.e., either Norfolk and Norwich or Cambridge and Huntingdon.
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