Sheriff Reckless’s House

SHERIFF RECKLESS’ house in Spaniel Row is of paramount interest to the student of Nonconformity, for its story is wrapt up in the history of the Society of Friends, or Quakers as we call them nowadays. George Fox, the founder of the movement, was born at Fenny Drayton, in Leicestershire, in 1624.

The Spirit moved him to wander about the Vale of Belvoir preaching his mystic message to all who would listen. In 1649, the year of King Charles I.’s execution, he came to Nottingham, and felt called upon to interrupt the service in St. Mary’s Church, for which he was cast into prison, which he described as " a nasty, stinking place."

It would have fared ill with him but for the fact that Mistress Reckless, wife of John Reckless, sometime Sheriff of Nottingham, chanced to be in St. Mary’s Church at the time of the uproar, and was so impressed with what Fox said that she managed to get him removed from the prison and placed in a sort of honourable captivity in her own house.

Both she and her husband adopted the Quaker tenets, and Sheriff Reckless himself is known to have preached in Nottingham Marketplace. From these small beginnings have sprung the great work of the Quakers in this neighbourhood.