Local News

Friends Meeting House earns Grade I listing

Thursday 16 May 2019

The Friends Meeting House in Railway Street has had its listed building status upgraded to Grade I.

Built in 1670, the Quaker meeting house is the oldest in the world and has been in continuous use for 350 years.

The building is one of 17 Quaker houses to have their listing upgraded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport on the advice of Historic England.

The meeting room is virtually unchjanged since its construction and is lined with timber panelling, whilst the roof is supported by a single oak column.

The British Listed Buildings website details its history:

Quaker preacher first came to Hertford in 1655, and services were held in private houses, until 1669 the decision was taken to build, at a cost of £243 12s 0d. George Fox visited the building at least 3 times. It possibly sustained damage in 1683 and was repaired. In 1717 sash windows were installed, but were replaced in 1731 by casement windows,with the lower openings bricked up. In 1981 comprehensive repairs costing £72,000 took place, entailing insertion of a steel corset to take the weight of the roof and tie back the walls. Charles Lamb wrote 'A Quakers' Meeting' one of the 'Essays of Elia' after visiting the Hertford Meeting House in early C19.

The Quakers, or Religeous Society of Friends, were founded in the mid-17th century and based on the belief that it was possible to have a direct experience of Christ without ordained clergy. Quaker worship features no sermons, singing or led prayers.

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