History in Structure

Preston Patrick Quaker Meeting House with attached caretaker's house and associated gighouse/stable/schoolroom and burial ground walls

A Grade II Listed Building in Preston Patrick, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.2497 / 54°14'58"N

Longitude: -2.7042 / 2°42'15"W

OS Eastings: 354212

OS Northings: 484009

OS Grid: SD542840

Mapcode National: GBR 9MK9.BC

Mapcode Global: WH839.FFJY

Plus Code: 9C6V67XW+V8

Entry Name: Preston Patrick Quaker Meeting House with attached caretaker's house and associated gighouse/stable/schoolroom and burial ground walls

Listing Date: 8 May 2019

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1461436

ID on this website: 101461436

Location: Preston Patrick, Westmorland and Furness, Cumbria, LA7

County: Cumbria

District: South Lakeland

Civil Parish: Preston Patrick

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Tagged with: Architectural structure


Quaker Meeting House, 1869; attached caretakers cottage and detached stable, gig house and school room, 1870s; and burial ground walls.


Quaker Meeting House, 1869; attached caretakers cottage and detached stable, gig house and school room, 1870s; and burial ground walls.

MATERIALS: the meeting house is of local limestone rubble, rendered with stone dressings; it has Westmorland graduated slate roofs, a metal ventilator and cast-iron rain water goods. The attached cottage is built of snecked limestone under a slate roof. The former gighouse, stable and school room is of limestone rubble with stone dressings, under a slate roof.

PLAN: the buildings occupy a rectangular plot bounded by stone boundary walls. The meeting house is oriented east to west at the north end of the plot, with an attached cottage at right-angles to the east end. It faces onto a large, largely level burial ground that slopes up to the south, in the south-east corner of which, and facing the road, is a combined stable, gig house and school room.

EXTERIOR: the full-height meeting house has a rendered plinth and a pitched roof with a ventilator. The three-bay main south elevation has a pair of segmental-headed windows and a gabled porch with plain barge boards and a round-headed window; all windows have two-pane sliding sash frames with margin glazing. The main entrance is in the east porch wall, which is fitted with a six-panelled door with strap hinges. There is a small mid-C20 lean-to extension to the left of the porch. The left return has a pair of small ground-floor windows and a window lighting the former gallery. The rear elevation has three windows similar to those of the front elevation. Attached at a right-angle to the east elevation of the meeting house is a two-bay, two-storey house with quoins and plain barge boards beneath a pitched roof. Its main east elevation has a central, gabled porch, flanked to either side by a four-pane window with a pair of half-dormer windows to the first floor. The left return has a similar four-pane window to each floor, and the right return has an attached lean-to extension with a window to the ground floor right. The tall, detached former gighouse, stable and school room has two storeys with prominent quoins beneath a half-hipped roof. The main west elevation has a former central, rectangular, external stair turret, also quoined, with a pyramidal roof, and a narrow rectangular window to each face. To the left is an enlarged double opening that retains original long and short quoins to the right side, probably forming the original gighouse entrance, and set to the right is a second tall entrance. To the first floor there is a pair of rectangular windows with modern casement frames. There are similar window openings with similar frames to the first floor left return and rear elevation; the right return is blind.

INTERIOR: the meeting house porch has a stone-flagged floor and a stone stair that rises to the former gallery. Six-panel doors open from the porch into the main meeting room and into the smaller meeting room. The main meeting room has a pine-boarded floor and a pine tongue-and-grooved dado to the north and south walls, the latter with plainly painted plaster above and cast-iron ventilators. There is a ministers' stand at the east end, with C18 panelling to the wall behind, and a front rail of turned balusters, both thought to be reused from the first meeting house. The west wall has late-C17 wainscot panelling below vertically sliding pine shutters with a central opening (to the smaller meeting room) fitted with double three-panel doors with ornate hinges. The small ground-floor meeting room (now a kitchen) has a blocked segmental-headed fireplace to the west wall and C20 kitchen fittings. Unfixed furnishings include a C18 table and C19 benches. The former first-floor gallery (now enclosed to form a small room) is entered through a six-panel door, and has a chimney breast, a small panelled cupboard and exposed triple purlins. The gighouse retains a cobbled floor and has whitewashed rubble walls. The remainder of this building has been converted to offices and has a modern interior throughout. The former caretaker’s house was not inspected internally.

SUBSIDIARY ITEMS: the plot is enclosed by low stone walls with alternating flat and regularly-spaced upright coping stones; there are curved walls to the front with tapering rectangular stone gate piers.


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; 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 1,000 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 member’s houses, barns, and other secular premises followed. Persecution of non-Conformists proliferated in the period, with Quakers suffering disproportionately. The Quaker Act of 1662, and the Conventicle Act of 1664, forbade their meetings, though 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, and that at Hertford, 1670, is the oldest to be purpose built. The Act of Toleration, passed in 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.

During the Victorian period, meeting houses were built in a wider variety of architectural styles than previously. Architects played an increasingly important role in their design and construction and fewer meeting houses were built according to local vernacular traditions. This increase in stylistic eclecticism reflects both a wider national move away from the vernacular in the wake of industrialisation, and the raising of the architect’s professional status. Several Victorian interiors have survived with original fittings; they generally continue established traditions, with panelled dados, raised stands, moveable benches and panelled moveable screens.

Preston Patrick is at the heart of the country known as '1652 country', and on 16 June 1652 George Fox preached to a group known as the Westmorland Seekers in a chapel there. This group, of which eight were from the village, played a pivotal role in early Quakerism in the north of England. In 1689 Thomas Cann bought a plot of land on the lane at the south end of the village for £6 from William Lord Montgomery. A meeting house was erected on the plot by 1691, and a burial ground opened; records suggest that the earliest burial dates from 1685, and that several of the Westmorland Seekers were buried here. This late-C17 meeting house closed in 1833 due to a decline in members.

After a revival, a new meeting house was rebuilt on the same site in 1869 at a cost of £232. The new building occupies the same foot print as the first building, and it is thought that the external walls and some joinery from the first meeting house were retained. The new meeting house consisted of a main meeting room with a smaller women's meeting room to the west and a first floor gallery. In the 1870s an attached caretaker's cottage was constructed along with a stable, gig house and a first floor Sunday school classroom in an adjacent, detached building. In the 1960s the west end of the meeting house was used as a hostel for overnight accommodation, when a purpose-built extension for a shower and WCs was added, and a kitchen created in the former women's meeting room.

Reasons for Listing

Quaker Meeting House, Preston Patrick of 1869 with late-C17 origins, an attached caretaker's house and associated gighouse/stable/school of the 1870s and the burial ground walls are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* a good example of a Victorian purpose-built meeting house with an attached cottage that illustrates the characteristic simplicity and modesty of Quaker buildings;
* an intact meeting house that retains its original simple plan-form and a suite of C19 fixtures and fittings;
* joinery from the late-C17 meeting house is re-used in the C19 building including a ministers' stand and various panelling including a C17 timber partition;
* the survival of a detached later-C19 gighouse/stable/school and burial ground walls completes this attractive rural ensemble and enhances the overall interest.

Historic interest:

* associated with George Fox and early Quakerism in rural Cumbria, illustrating the growing confidence and resources of Quakers in this region.

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