Hawkshead – Colthouse Quaker Meeting House
Location : Hawkshead
Ordnance Survey – SD 359982
The hamlet of Colthouse near Hawkshead, has one of the oldest Quaker Meeting Houses in the “Birthplace of Quakerism”, built in 1688. It is well preserved and maintained, amd set in its own walled gated grounds.
The Quakers were once strongly in evidence about this area and could not have failed to have had some influence on William Wordsworth’s formative years, as he went to school at Hawkshead.
Quaker meetings consist of a period of silent contemplation. Colthouse Friends Meeting House being rural, is ideal for this, as there are no intrusions apart from latecomers.
There is modernisation with toilets and a kitchen, giving refreshments afterwards. The 2 seater earth closet has been retained. A separate Quaker burial ground is nearby, which pre-dates this building. The land was bought in 1688, and the meeting house was erected in the same year. A year after it was built, Quakers were no longer persecuted when the Act of Tolerance allowed Quakers to meet, and not be in a “steeplehouse”.
Sources: Donald A Rooksby The Man in Leather Breeches, A People to be Gathered, And Sometime Upon the Hills.
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