James Nayler, quaker

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Marginal Mennonite Society

On this date in 1660 (Oct. 21st), James Nayler died. His birth date is not certain, but was probably around 1616. James was a traveling #Quaker preacher, and a mystic. A charismatic individual with many followers. Also an early opponent of the slave trade. In 1656, Nayler mounted a donkey and rode into the English town of Bristol, as a reenactment of Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem. The authorities promptly threw him in jail and charged him with blasphemy. He barely escaped execution. He was whipped through the streets of London, had the letter “B” branded on his forehead, and his tongue was pierced with a hot iron. After this he was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment at hard labor. Nayler is a controversial character in Quaker history. It should be noted that other Quakers of the time were engaged in similarly provocative activities (disrupting church services, going naked in public, etc.). Born in Ardsley, Yorkshire, England. Died in Kings Ripton, Cambridgeshire, England. Buried in the Kings Ripton Friends’ Burial Ground.


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