In the 1660s both women married and both became Quakers. Jane's husband, Oliver Sansom, was convinced before their wedding and they became Friends together. Joan on the other hand had been married to Richard Vokins of West Challow for some time before her convincement and she did not rest until she had brought her husband and children with her into the Quaker fold.
|The White Horse at Uffington|
This was the period of the Wilkinson-Story separation when John Wilkinson and John Story spoke out against the formation of women's meetings and in favour of meeting safely behind closed doors rather than publicly. The Vale of the White Horse was much troubled by this Quaker heresy and Joan Vokins spoke out strongly against it. On one occasion she even turned back from a foreign missionary journey in order to make sure that her home meeting did not give way to persuasion from local supporters of Wilkinson and Story.
Although she was the mother of six children and had far from robust health Joan Vokins travelled in the ministry far and frequently.In 1680 she sailed to America, arriving in New York in May. She visited Long Island, Rhode Island, Boston, East and West Jersey and Pennsylvania. Hoping to return to England she went back to New York to find a passage but found herself suddenly called to visit Barbados. As she tells it, on the way to Barbados 'the Lord put it into my heart to visit Friends in the leeward islands' and the boat was driven there against the captain's will. Trying again to go to Barbados she felt another call to visit Nevis and the boat duly changed direction of its own volition! When eventually Joan reached Barbados she found many Quakers who had been transported from England and she held meetings for them sometimes two or three times a day.
|Charney Manor, Charney Bassett|
Quakerism still flourishes in the Vale of the White Horse and Joan is remembered in her home village at Charney Manor, now a Quaker retreat centre, where a room is named after her.