Skip to main content

"The White Quakers Dublin, 1842-1858"

Identifier: HC.MC-975-07-136

Scope and Contents

This collection is comprised of the single volume excercise book, in which is a copy of an essay entitled "The White Quakers of Dublin, 1842-1848" by Ernest H. Bennis. The essay focuses on Joshua Jacob, an Irish Quaker who began his own branch of Quakerism, called the "White Quakers."


  • Creation: Undated.


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical Note

Ernest H. Bennis (1869-1956), a birthright member of Limerick Monthly Meeting, was an amateur Irish Quaker historian. The eldest child of Joseph Fisher Bennis, a grocer, and Emilia Frances Carrol, he married Helen Margaret Pike, a member of Limerick Monthly Meeting, in 1901. The couple had at least one child, Emilie Bennis (b. 1908). Bennis died in Limerick, Ireland, in 1956.

Joshua Jacob (ca. 1802–1877), founder of the White Quakers, was born at Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland, and was educated at Joseph Tatham's school in Leeds and later in Ballitore, County Kildare. Having been apprenticed to Adam Calvert, Jacob established himself in 1830 as a grocer in Dublin, and his shop, the Golden Teapot, became famous for its fine tea. In 1829, he married Sarah Fayle and they had three sons. A birthright member of the Society of Friends, he criticized the comforts of Quaker life, and in 1838 he was disowned by that body. Assisted by Abigail Beale of Irishtown, near Mountmellick, Queen's County, he formed a society of his own, which gained adherents in Dublin, Clonmel, Waterford, and Mountmellick. In 1842, he and his followers began to practise a communal holding of goods. They also appeared in loose, unbleached woollen garments, a costume previously adopted in 1762 by John Woolman. The new society, commonly called ‘White Quakers’, held the first of what became yearly meetings in Dublin on May 1, 1843. During these years Jacob issued many (undated) pamphlets and Some Account of the Progress of the Truth as it is in Jesus, a publication which appeared at intervals in 1843.

When a bequest of £9000 was used by Jacob for the benefit of his community, he was taken to court and it was held in 1844 that he had misappropriated money to which others were entitled. On his rejection of the judgment he was imprisoned for two years, and the community's property was seized and put up for auction. From prison, he issued anathemas against the Irish lord chancellor E. B. Sugden and Edward Litton, master of the Irish court of chancery. After Jacob's release on grounds of ill health in 1846, the White Quakers were active in food distribution during the great famine, but in 1848, the movement disintegrated. The next year Jacob established a community at Newlands, Clondalkin, County Dublin, formerly the residence of Arthur Wolfe, Viscount Kilwarden. Its members lived in common, abstaining from meat, and using bruised corn instead of flour. On this community's dissolution, Jacob went into business again at Celbridge, County Kildare. Since 1842 he had lived apart from his wife, who could no longer share his religious views. On her death he married and adopted the religion of a poor Roman Catholic, Catherine Devine, raising six children in that faith. He died in Wales on February 15, 1877, and was buried at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, in a plot purchased many years previously for the White Quakers.

Source: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


0.0080 linear ft. (1 volume)

Language of Materials



"The White Quakers of Dublin, 1842-1848," an essay by Ernest H. Bennis, focuses on Joshua Jacob, an Irish Quaker who began his own branch of Quakerism, called the "White Quakers."



Related Materials

HC.MC.1189 Howard Haines Brinton and Anna Shipley Cox Brinton papers

Processing Information

Processed by Kara Flynn; completed March, 2016.

"The White Quakers Dublin, 1842-1858," undated
Kara Flynn
March, 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting or requesting repoductions from Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library

370 Lancaster Ave
Haverford PA 19041 USA US