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Meeting House and Attached Stable

A Grade I Listed Building in Brant Broughton, Lincolnshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.0774 / 53°4'38"N

Longitude: -0.6333 / 0°37'59"W

OS Eastings: 491654

OS Northings: 354220

OS Grid: SK916542

Mapcode National: GBR DN6.2QB

Mapcode Global: WHGJQ.7XP6

Plus Code: 9C5X39G8+WM

Entry Name: Meeting House and Attached Stable

Listing Date: 17 June 1986

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1061898

English Heritage Legacy ID: 192403

Location: Brant Broughton and Stragglethorpe, North Kesteven, Lincolnshire, LN5

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Brant Broughton and Stragglethorpe

Built-Up Area: Brant Broughton

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Brant Broughton St Helen

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln

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Carlton le Moorland

Summary


Former C17 barn, cottage and stable, converted to a Quaker Meeting House in about 1701. C18, C19, C20 and C21 alterations.

Description

Former C17 barn, cottage and stable, converted to a Quaker Meeting House in about 1701. C18, C19, C20 and C21 alterations.

MATERIALS: built of brick, with some re-facing in coursed Ancaster stone. It has brick chimney stacks. The pitched roof of the meeting house is covered in pantiles, with the overhanging lower courses supported on wrought iron poles; decorative iron brackets support the guttering. The hipped roof of the former stable is also covered in pantiles. The windows and doors are of painted timber with timber lintels.

PLAN: the meeting house is rectangular on plan and orientated on a roughly north to south alignment, set at right-angles to the road. The main meeting room is at the north end with the lobby and former women’s business meeting room at the south end. To the north end of the meeting house is the former stable block, separated from the meeting house by a covered passageway.

EXTERIOR: the principal (east) elevation is of coursed Ancaster stone. At the left-hand end are two doorways with C18 six-panel doors. Over the right-hand door is a circular stone plaque with the letters RTS (for Thomas and Sarah Robinson) and the date 1701. There are two early C18 timber cross windows with timber shutters at the right-hand end. Beneath the window to the far right is a mounting block of red brick with stone capping, and an iron post to the top step.

The south gable end wall, which incorporates a stone sundial of uncertain date, and the rear (west) wall both have lower courses of coursed stone, with upper courses of red brick laid in Flemish and garden wall bonds. To the right-hand end of the rear wall is a three-light C17 window with leaded lights, beneath a segmental head; above is a raking dormer. To the left the stonework continues up to the eaves and incorporates a timber cross window.

The former stable block is of red brick with a tiled roof which is hipped on the street elevation (north); two windows have been inserted to this side.

INTERIOR: the main meeting room has dado height timber panelling and perimeter bench seating, with a dais at the north end; the Elders' bench is fixed into the front of the dais. The walls and ceiling are plastered, and the two tie beams of the roof trusses are exposed beneath the ceiling. At the south end is a full-height, painted, panelled timber screen, with hinged shutters to both the lower and upper levels; to the centre of the screen is a two plank door with applied panelling. The lobby at the south end has a panelled dado of painted timber with a fixed bench to the west wall. To the south wall is a fireplace with an C18 cast-iron hob grate, a fireproof closet dated 1828 to the right, and a cupboard and a door to the staircase to the left, both with strap hinges and a wooden latch. There are also C18 hat hooks. The winder staircase leads to the former women’s business meeting room above, which retains a small hob-grate. In this room the timber screen abuts the tie beam of the closed roof truss above, which contains a small plank door giving access to the loft.

The former stable retains fixed chains for the tying up of horses and collar and tie-beam roof trusses.

History

The Quaker movement emerged out of a period of religious and political turmoil in the mid-C17. Its main protagonist, George Fox, openly rejected traditional religious doctrine, instead promoting the theory that all people could have a direct relationship with God, without dependence on sermonising ministers, nor the necessity of consecrated places of worship. Fox, originally from Leicestershire, claimed the Holy Spirit was within each person, and from 1647 travelled the country as an itinerant preacher. 1652 was pivotal in his campaign and after a vision on Pendle Hill, Lancashire, Fox was moved to visit Firbank Fell, Cumbria, where he delivered a rousing, three-hour speech to an assembly of 1000 people, and recruited numerous converts. The Quakers, formally named the Religious Society of Friends, was thus established.

Fox asserted that no one place was holier than another, and in their early days, the new congregations often met for silent worship at outdoor locations; the use of members’ houses, barns, and other secular premises followed. Persecution of Nonconformists proliferated in the period, with Quakers suffering disproportionately. The Quaker Act of 1662 and the Conventicle Act of 1664 forbade their meetings, although they continued in defiance, and a number of meeting houses date from this early period. Broad Campden, Gloucestershire, came into Quaker use in 1663 and is the earliest meeting house in Britain, although it was out of use from 1871 to 1961. The meeting house at Hertford, East Hertfordshire, constructed in 1670, is the oldest to be purpose built. The Act of Toleration of 1689, was one of several steps towards freedom of worship outside the established church, and thereafter meeting houses began to make their mark on the landscape.

In 1665 a London Quaker named Thomas Robinson purchased land in Brant Broughton and built a house in the village. He initially attended the meeting at Beckingham, approximately 2.5 miles to the west, but by 1678 he was holding a meeting in his own house, which became licensed for religious meetings in 1689. In 1701 Robinson gave his thatched, three-bay barn, with a small stable at the north end, to the Friends. This was made official by an indenture of 1702, and it is known to have been licensed for worship by 1706. There was a small single-bay, two-storey cottage at the south end of the barn that is thought to have been incorporated into the meeting house between 1701 and 1709, when the brick wall dividing the cottage from the barn was replaced with a timber partition wall. The former cottage was converted to provide a lobby with a women’s business meeting room above. Around this time the building was partly re-faced in stone. The roof, originally thatched, was replaced with pantiles in the C19. The building was repaired in the late C20, and included the re-laying of timber floors.
In about 1776 the stable at the north end of the meeting house was partially rebuilt and extended to the west, and a mounting block added to the east elevation of the meeting house. The stable was adapted to provide ancillary accommodation in the 1950s, and has been refurbished subsequently.

The field to the west and the south of the meeting house, known as Dovecote Close for its inclusion of a stone dovecote (collapsed in the early C20) was given to the Friends in the will of John Scrimshaw, dated 1727. Part of the field was used as a burial ground, and Scrimshaw was subsequently buried there in 1728. The burial ground has been enlarged several times and is made up of a series of several separate spaces, bounded by brick and stone walls. A red brick wall between the main burial ground and a garden behind the meeting house is dated 1860. Some spaces have upright square-headed grave stones; in others the stones are laid flat.

Reasons for Listing

Brant Broughton Quaker Meeting House and attached stable is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* as a well-preserved example of an early C18 Quaker meeting house that incorporates a former stable, and reflects local vernacular building traditions;
* the interior retains its simple form with C18 and C19 fixtures and fittings; the survival of the shuttered openings to the adjoining rooms reflects the congregation’s historic mode of worship.

Historic interest:

* as an example of an early C18 meeting house in a converted C17 barn and cottage.

Group value:

* it has group value with nearby Grade-II listed buildings, including the neighbouring late C18 Corner House at 63 High Street, and the late C18 cottage at 59 High Street.

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