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Friends Meeting House, Stourbridge

You could have driven past it a thousand times and never knew it was there, but it's right alongside the busy ring road, a little haven of peace, it's the Quakers Friends Meeting House, just yards from the Enville Street exit. Read on for more information about this lovely old building:

The Meeting House is almost unique in the Black Country as a building over 300 years old which retains its original use in virtually unaltered premises on land measured and defined in a 313-year-old lease. On 8 October, 1689, Ambrose Crowley, who had leased the land to Friends (also called Quakers) for a peppercorn rent, certified with a group of fellow Quakers “that the houses and buildings following are set apart for public worship viz newly erected edifice in Stourbridge containing three bays within a certain yard walled in”. This yard, now an attractive garden, was originally the burying ground for the Meeting. Three hundred years later to the day, the Revd Brian Crowley, a descendant of Ambrose, planted a tree in the garden and was presented with 300 peppercorns for the (probably) outstanding rent.

The Quakers friends Meeting House, Stourbridge

Since 1689 the Meeting for Worship has been held in this Grade II Listed Building, which has recently been restored with great care for the original materials and character. The interior is plain and simple in the Quaker tradition. The original wall panels and a fixed bench running round the meeting room are still in place. At the west end is a raised bench where the Elders once sat, facing the rest of the meeting. Today the moveable benches (of Victorian date) are arranged in a circle in which everyone is equal.

Above the east end of the room is a gallery with folding doors to close it off when it is not needed. The present library was originally the entrance; the present entrance hall, common room and children’s room are modern additions. The building is disablement-friendly and adaptable; it is sometimes used during the week by local groups as well as Quakers, and every summer it accommodates a group of young international volunteers working with disabled children.

The Friends Meeting House is set
in a beautiful walled garden

Quaker Meeting for Worship is at 10 am every Sunday and everyone is welcome including children.
The Meeting House is normally closed on weekdays, and anyone wishing to visit should telephone James Bradbury (01562 730381) or Diana Lampen (01384 377518) to see if arrangements can be made. Local organisations wondering if they could use the building for meetings should contact Diana.

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Beams in the roof of the Friends Meeting House

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