|Drawing of A Neave Brayshaw in 1930|
When he was nearly 10 years old Neave was sent as a boarder to the Quaker school Sidcot in Somerset. He thrived there, excelling academically but also enjoying sports, especially any kind of ball game, and various hobbies. He later recalled that 'there were few flowers in the district - hills and plains - which I could not name at sight'. From Sidcot Neave returned home to study at Owen's College, Manchester where he obtained a London B.A. degree before he was nineteen and then entered a solicitor's office, being destined for the legal profession. He continued his studies and in 1885 was the first to win a Bachelor of Law degree from the new Manchester University.
|Oliver's Mount school Scarborough, now a hotel.|
as a tutor to the younger students at Owens College who were resident at Dalton Hall. He befriended the young men too, playing and watching cricket with them and juggling four or five balls for their amusement. Eventually Neave decided to give up the law in favour of what he felt was a call to teaching. He learned his profession first as an assistant at Oliver's Mount School in Scarborough which had been opened by Thomas Walton, another Quaker. When Neave was there this was a very popular school for the sons of the principal families in the Society of Friends both in England and Ireland. Then, in 1892 when he was 31, Neave became a master at Bootham, the Quaker boy's school in York, and remained there for the next eleven years.
Neave Brayshaw was an inspiring teacher in several subjects, remembered for his reading of poetry and for the earnestness with which he told stories of Quaker history. He also invited groups of the boys, who he referred to as his 'laddies', to take part in archaeological excursions and informal discussions about the life before them. The boys fondly remembered the 'hot toast and potted meat in his room, and the books there, and his kind chatty way'.
|Bootham School in 1880|
While still teaching at Bootham Neave became a leading light in the Young Friends movement which began at the beginning of the 20th century. As Thomas Kennedy says, Neave believed the purpose of the Young Friends Movement was 'not simply to expend excess energy or to make new friends, but to inject renewed life and vigour into meetings for worship, the central spiritual exercise of Quakerism'. He also wanted to encourage a depth of vocal ministry as well as silent worship. This was a noble aim but it has to be said that Neave's vision for Young Friends did not encompass the contribution of girls until the Yorkshire 1905 Committee made a point of ensuring female participation in all its activities. Some female Friends of the period felt that Neave had little use for women in general.
|Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre today|
lecturer there. Although he still inspired those he taught he did not always see eye to eye with his colleagues and only stayed for three years. From 1906 he settled in Scarborough and devoted the rest of his life to the service of the Society of Friends, travelling all over the country visiting meetings, lecturing and attending committees. He actively promoted Woodbrooke and served on the Home Service Council (the forerunner of the present Quaker Life committee). He was also an enthusiastic member of the Sidcot Old Scholars Association, the Friends Historical Society and the Friends Guild of Teachers.
During the 1914-1918 war Neave's convictions on war and peace became gradually stronger until he reached an 'absolutist' viewpoint. He would travel to tribunals to speak for those of his 'laddies' who were trying to register as conscientious objectors, but he refused to withdraw his support from those who felt compelled by conscience to take a different path.
After the war Neave Brayshaw wrote two books which still repay reading today. His knowledge of George Fox and his writings was deep and expressed in The Personality of George Fox first published in 1919. He also wrote a short but very approachable history of the Society, The Quakers, their Story and Message which appeared first in 1921, with editions revised by the author following in 1927 and 1938, and was then reissued into the 1950s.
|Neave Brayshaw at the seaside, possibly in Normandy|
All the burden of organisation fell upon Neave but he was glad to see his 'laddies' growing together. One participant remembered the Sunday evening worship particularly - 'He would quietly and earnestly speak, out of the depth of his own experience, of the things of God. He would remind us of the homes and schools from which we came and to which we owed so much, of the sacrifice made for us by parents and friends, of the need of the world and the call which comes to each of us to leave the world better than we found it. He called us to no impossible task, but to begin with what experience of good we have, to "mind that which is pure within you to guide you to God" and to consecrate ourselves'.
Neave Brayshaw never ceased in his labours to inform Friends about his vision for the Society of Friends and to inspire new generations who he hoped would carry on his work and bring 'healing in the sickness of the world'. At the beginning of 1940, at home in Scarborough, he was struck by a car during the black-out and died from heart failure not long afterwards at the age of 78.