The early Quakers denounced the clergy and social elite but how did that affect Friends' relationships with others? Drawing upon the insights of sociologists and anthropologists, this lively and original study sets out to discover the social consequences of religious belief. Why did the sectappoint its own midwives to attend Quaker women during confinement? Was animosity to Quakerism so great that Friends were excluded from involvement in parish life? And to what extent were the remarkably high literacy rates of Quakers attributable to the Quaker faith or wider social forces? Using a wide range of primary source material, this study demonstrates that Quakers were not the marginal and isolated people which contemporaries and historians often portrayed. Indeed the sect had a profound impact not only upon members but more widely by encouraging a greater tolerance ofdiversity in early modern society.