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The Building of Settle Quaker Meeting House


A small group of early Quaker documents from Settle, North Yorkshire, has recently returned from America. They were taken there in the late 19th century by descendants of the Tatham family of Settle. Their owner, working on her family history, decided they should return to Yorkshire, and has now presented them to Leeds University Library, where they are held as part of the extensive Yorkshire Quaker Archives.

The most fascinating document is the original building accounts for Settle Quaker Meeting House, which was constructed as early as 1678. They are the oldest known such accounts, by almost a century, for any Yorkshire Quaker meeting house. The document shows not only the sums of money contributed by each of the Quaker meetings within the Settle area, but the precise costs of each element of the building work, naming the individuals to whom payment was made. A high proportion of the names mentioned, including Michael Preston, the main contractor, can be identified as local Quakers, which may partly explain the low overall cost of £74 3s. 5d. The document reveals, among other things, the significant contribution made by the leading local Quaker, Samuel Watson, and members of his family.

I have recently published an article on the subject, ‘The Building of Settle Meeting House in 1678’, in the delayed volume 66 (for 2015) of the Journal of the Friends Historical Society.

From → Quaker history

  1. J. Margaret Page permalink

    I was delighted to find your article in the Journal of the Friends Historical about the building of Settle Meeting House. Thanks and thanks too to the Lady who returned the documents.

  2. Is that the Briggflats one?

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