Rest, Relax and Enjoy

Hordle Shakers or Jumpers

30th March 2013 Saturday.

Hey you guys, this post was first posted on Legends back in February, I have added some more info so as not to make it identical to the one on Legends, just in case some of you have read it before so please be patient.

The New Forest Shakers or Walworth Jumpers (also Children of God, Girlingites or Convulsionists) were a new religious movement created by Mary Ann Girling in the 1870s in England. Originally from Suffolk, Girling preached the Second Coming, celibacy, chastity and communal life (a kind of communalism).

Mary Ann GirlingNew Forest Shakers

Mary Ann Girling was both revered and feared and at one point was almost tarred, feathered and burned as a witch. A new book by Southampton author Philip Hoare unravels the odd tale of the New Forest Shakers.

Britain in the 1870’s – Thomas Hardy was busy penning another classic, Alexander Graham Bell was about to dial up his first call, and a bizarre religious sect was setting up camp in the New Forest.

The sect was led by Mary Ann Girling – a self-proclaimed prophet and religious leader who, because of her public shows of religious fervour soon attracted the attention of the national media


In the nineteenth century, one group came to the particular notice of the public when Mary Ann Girling along with 164 followers moved to live in the  New Forest Lodge, Vaggs Lane, in Hordle. Previously the sect has been based in Walworth Road, in East London and claimed that they died with conversion, and were then reborn to eternal life. They met in a rented railway arch where in 1871 ‘nearly 3000 people came to see the excitement caused by the dancing, prophesying and trance utterances of the sect known as the Walworth Jumpers.They were also called the Girlingites or English Shakers.’ 51 In 1873 Mrs Girling had a vision that they should move to the New Forest and, with the help of a wealthy patron, the property in Vaggs Lane was bought, with a small mortgage.However, because the strict rules of the sect prohibited the members from working, the mortgage remained unpaid and ‘on a bitterly cold night of December 1894, in the rain, sleet and snow, 60 flimsily dressed women, 35 men and 45 children were evicted. All the furniture was left along a half mile stretch of Vaggs Lane. It included 3 pianos, 77 beds, boxes of eggs,butter and vegetables valued at about £1,000 and worthless by the end of the night.

In nearby village of Sway there was a large tower being built,(Peterson’s Tower) and some of these people within the sect were employed as part of the work force. The name Shaker’s had been purloined from the American sect ‘Jumpers’ which would have been a more appropriate name, because that is what they did: they jumped. The leader was known as Jump for Glory Jane though her name wasn’t Jane, it was Mary Ann Girling.


The group continued to live in the Hordle area for a further 11 years, leasing fields, or  camping by the roadside, and using an old barn as a chapel. They still maintained that they were immortal, and were severely shaken by the first death in the group. However, Mary Girling’s health was also in decline and, in 1886, she died of cancer. She was buried in Hordle churchyard, amongst her followers, each grave having a yew tree planted at its head. Today nothing remains of the sect except a few yew trees and a small plaque fixed to the church wall, which reads ‘Mary Girling, Leader of the Hordle Shakers, was buried here in 1886.’



My link to this village apart from living in a nearby village was the knowing of and becoming great friends with Robert Isles, (Bob) who was the son of a butchers shop owner, and later became the owner himself. He started to follow us our band, at the time, and later started to roadie for us. But as time went by he showed he could also sing rock and roll and was extrovert enough to put on a good show. So for the next 9 months or so he fronted the band. But only on the heavy rock songs, otherwise the tambourine was his thing.

However he actually lived in the same lane and told us about this story, which his mother told him, at the time we were more into becoming rock stars. So unfortunately I cannot remember any details. One thing I can remember a small group of us did gather at the gate and wall of the same graveyard.. like most of our age just gathered and chatted and moved on.



And time goes on.. read my next post,,’Jump to Glory Jane,,, a story related ghost story….



thank you09

thank you87


March 28, 2013 - Posted by | Personal


  1. What a mad bunch they must have been, and what weird neighbours for the rest of Vaggs Lane! I enjoyed learning about them, though. Thanks for writing this, Gerry.

    Comment by Trish | March 31, 2013 | Reply

    • Glad you enjoyed Trish,, and there is more to follow,,, thank you 😉

      Comment by cobbies69 | March 31, 2013 | Reply

  2. This is fascinating.

    Comment by jmgoyder | March 31, 2013 | Reply

    • Thank you Jules and always welcome,,there is more to come..;)

      Comment by cobbies69 | March 31, 2013 | Reply

  3. I think I took away even more with this posting of your forest tale. I wonder how the members did reconcile the death of their leader and the fact that what she preached did not come to be. As prof with her own death.

    Its a fabulous story My kind Sir, and an amazing piece of history that you are connected with. I look forward to the takes being continually told by you.

    Comment by Barefoot Baroness | March 31, 2013 | Reply

    • Thank you my lady,, I have been quite fascinated myself realising lately how close I lived to all this,, and now recording for all to read,, well the half a dozen…;) honoured as always 😉

      Comment by cobbies69 | April 1, 2013 | Reply

      • I think you and your folk tales being documented is the key thing. Now that the are in your won words, with your personal history are the kinds of things in our lives which should go down with the rest of history.
        thank you My Kind Sir for continuing.. your tales always a great read. ~

        Comment by Barefoot Baroness | April 1, 2013

    • Thank you my lady for your continued support and encouragement,, 😉

      Comment by cobbies69 | April 2, 2013 | Reply

  4. Very entertaining story, Gerry. A butcher who plays heavy rock and the tambourine. Now I’ve heard everything. 🙂

    Comment by adinparadise | April 1, 2013 | Reply

    • Thank you but how does a hairdresser playing bass and a horse jockey singer and is a good Elvis Presley imitator.. Oh yes and a semi pro footballer playing guitar (rhythm) smiling now thank you…;)

      Comment by cobbies69 | April 1, 2013 | Reply

  5. I enjoyed this the second time round!

    Comment by colonialist | April 1, 2013 | Reply

    • Thank you for that, a little more added with a leading off for my next post.. thanks for your support…:)

      Comment by cobbies69 | April 1, 2013 | Reply

  6. I was going to say, “So much for her claim of immortality,” but she still might be lingering in those forests doing her shaking bit. Neat story, as always–made better by the way you tell it. 🙂

    Comment by Lorna's Voice | April 1, 2013 | Reply

    • Lorna you honour me thank you and read my follow on post soon, she could still be jumping!!! 😉

      Comment by cobbies69 | April 1, 2013 | Reply

  7. @Gerry, very interesting to know who Anna Girling 😛

    Comment by campanulladellaanna | April 1, 2013 | Reply

    • Hee hee! smiling Della,, I knew what you meant but thank you anyway.. always welcome and honoured..;)

      Comment by cobbies69 | April 1, 2013 | Reply

  8. Hahahha … not Anna, but Ann Girling. 🙂

    Comment by campanulladellaanna | April 1, 2013 | Reply

  9. This is a stand out post with fun stuff I love to read on.Thanks for liking my I think I will hit a random post and see what other tidbit facts you have on here.

    Comment by blueribbonfair | April 2, 2013 | Reply

    • Thank you very and enjoyed my visit,, please feel welcome and I hope you enjoy what you find,, and please come back.. there is much more Forest tales to comes..:)

      Comment by cobbies69 | April 2, 2013 | Reply

  10. […] commented on Dennis Aubrey’s blog about Romanesque churches in France, and a blog by Cobbies69, a bloke who lives in New Forest, England, and writes about sixties music and about the history of […]

    Pingback by Marianne’s Photo Challenge: Multicoloured | Sounds like wish | April 2, 2013 | Reply

    • Thank you for the pingback and mention… very thoughtful 🙂

      Comment by cobbies69 | April 3, 2013 | Reply

  11. This was very interesting…funny how obsessed people can become of immortality. We’re all going to die someday, darn it, why can’t people just accept that and live life with meaning? Just me ranting a bit there 😉 Anyways, lovely story and looking forward to the next installment…

    Comment by My Tropical Home | April 4, 2013 | Reply

    • It has always been the of people and life,, people cannot accept what they do not understand… as always welcome and appreciated ,, thank you 😉 watch for the next post

      Comment by cobbies69 | April 5, 2013 | Reply

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