‘On the day we landed eight hundred died in Petersburg… a very moderate calculation.’

We’re not the first Friends to deal with a pandemic. Clare B Dimyon on Quakers in Russia in 1831

Grave of Daniel Wheeler, Friends Burial Ground, Prospect Park, New York. | Photo: © Clare B Dimyon, NY Quarterly Meeting, 13 July 2019.

In 1902 Jane Edmondson Benson wrote Quaker Pioneers in Russia. It’s a book I’ve enjoyed but I’ve always been confused by its original title: From the Lune to the Neva. I know perfectly well that the Neva is the river of St Petersburg, but I had never known what this ‘Lune’ was.

Last month, avoiding trains for social distancing reasons, I had an ‘OMG’ moment in the car on the way to help my vulnerable mother. On the drive north I saw a sign that I had always missed from the railway: ‘The River Lune’. It turns out that you might even call it the river of 1652 Country, since it meanders just past Firbank Fell.

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