Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A Few Friends Houses

Quakers have long been known for their unpretentious, simple attitude to religion, life and design. Their meeting houses reflect this. Rather than erecting grand chapels, most Quaker places of worship live up to their name, being more similar to houses.

Many old Quaker meeting houses are converted or adapted cottages, barns, farmhouses, reflecting their origins simply as meetings in a convenient location. Purpose built ones usually have far more in common with local house design than contemporary churches which were more influenced by fashion and prestige. They often stand in gardens, and usually have very simple interiors. Vernacular materials, simple woodwork, white walls and plain glass. As with many church groups, attendances are falling and meeting houses are closing. Some of the oldest meetings are in tiny villages whose small congregations cannot support an old building anymore.

The lack of ornamentation, and often diminutive size, make them incredibly powerful places. And incredibly friendly. They tend to be overlooked in favour of grander or more historic Anglican or sometime Catholic churches, but are very rewarding buildings to visit. Below is a selection of interesting meeting houses.

For many hundreds of great photos of Quaker Meeting Houses can be seen at

Coldhouse, Cumbria

Come-To-Good, Cornwall

 Disley, Cheshire

 Hertford, Hertforshire

 Jordans, Buckinghamshire

 Lewes, Sussex

 Wellingborough, Northamptonshire

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