Taking Stock survey of Quaker Meeting Houses
Quaker meeting houses are distinctive and often attractive historic buildings, as well as being an important part of Nonconformist history. AHP was commissioned to undertake a national survey of Quaker meeting houses for the Religious Society of Friends, part-funded by Historic England under the Taking Stock programme. The methodology was refined following a pilot survey of meeting houses in the East of England, which was conducted in the summer of 2014. Local Quaker volunteers recorded the current condition, use, management and vulnerability of meeting houses and attached burial grounds. AHP visited all 345 meeting houses, assessed their significance and produced individual and regional reports that will inform the Quakers' management of their buildings. The project (also known as 'the Quaker Meeting Houses Heritage Project') covered England, Wales, Scotland and the Channel Islands.
You can read more about the project in the 2016 edition of the Historic Churches magazine.
Our reports have been deposited with the relevant heritage bodies and also with the relevant Historic Environment Records. Extracts from our reports on individual meeting houses in England and Scotland can also be found in the Grey Literature Library of the Archaeology Data Service. (Please note that reports are constantly being added to the ADS website.)
We are grateful to David M. Butler for his kind permission to reproduce his drawings from The Quaker Meeting Houses of Britain (1999); and to Mark Sessions for his kind permission to reproduce drawings and photos by his grandfather, the architect Hubert Lidbetter.
Photo on this page: Long Sutton Friends' Meeting House, Somerset, a Grade II*-listed building of 1717
Our homepage picture depicts the Blue Idol Meeting House, a Grade II*-listed former farmhouse of c.1580 which was acquired by a group of Quakers in the early 1690s and adapted for use as a meeting house. It was extended in 1934-5 by Hubert Lidbetter. The meeting house is notable for its strong associations with the origins of Quakerism and in particular with William Penn, Quaker leader and founder of Pennsylvania.