Friends Meeting House

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1176261
Date first listed:
25-Jan-1951
Date of most recent amendment:
07-Sep-2018
Statutory Address:
Quaker Meeting House, High Street, Wellington, Somerset, TA21 8RA

Map

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Location

Statutory Address:
Quaker Meeting House, High Street, Wellington, Somerset, TA21 8RA

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:
Somerset
District:
Somerset West and Taunton (District Authority)
Parish:
Wellington
National Grid Reference:
ST1399320660

Summary

Friends Meeting House, built 1845. Some very minor late-C20/early-C21 alterations.

Reasons for Designation

The Friends Meeting House, Wellington, which dates from 1845, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* it is a functional, yet distinctive building of Classical design which responds particularly well to the constraints of its site; * the well-conceived interior has a particularly high survival of mid-C19 fittings including ministers’ stand, perimeter benches, shuttered partition, panelling and gas lamps; * the building is very well preserved.

Historic interest:

* for its association with a number of Wellington’s prominent Quaker families during the C19, including the Fox family, notable cloth manufacturers.

Group value:

* it forms a good group with other listed buildings on the High Street.

History

Wellington was an important Quaker centre in the C18 and C19, with several prominent families including the Foxes who were notable local cloth manufacturers. The Friends Meeting House was built around 1845 on the site of an earlier meeting house of 1694 which had been rebuilt or extensively repaired in 1800. The building accounts from 1843-1844 record that the architect of the new building was Francis Fox, a Quaker railway engineer from Teignmouth, the mason was George Thorne and the carpenter was Richard Blackmore. The building is set back from the street front, tucked away behind shop premises, and is accessed by a passageway. To the rear is a burial ground which is reached from a covered passage to the side of the building. A timber classroom was erected to the rear of the meeting house in 1953, and in 2008 the burial ground opened to the public as a peace garden.

Details

Friends Meeting House, built 1845. Some very minor late-C20/early-C21 alterations.

MATERIALS: It is constructed of buff and red bricks, with dressings of brick, under a pitched roof clad in natural slate.

PLAN: The building is rectangular on plan and comprises large and small meeting rooms, with a first-floor gallery to the former, and ancillary rooms, including a kitchen and toilet facilities to the front of the building.

EXTERIOR: The meeting house fronts onto a narrow courtyard reached from the High Street by a passage. It is a two-storey building which faces north-west, with a stone plinth to the front and brick plinth to the side and rear. The front elevation has a central entrance with a pair of panelled doors beneath a pedimented timber canopy carried on decorative brackets, with a lamp over the doorway. The entrance is flanked by two segmental-headed openings with six-over-six small-paned timber sash windows and small windows beyond. At first-floor level are three matching segmental-headed sash windows and above this are a simple moulded stone cornice and a central oculus. The gable is pedimented. The side elevations contain no openings, and the north-east elevation has painted brickwork. The rear (south-east) elevation has two timber, top-hung casement windows and, to the left, is a segmental-headed doorway which is thought to have been added around 1900. There is an oculus in the apex of the gable.

INTERIOR: The large and small meeting rooms are adjacent to each other, with an L-shaped gallery over the small meeting room and entrance lobby. Three of the walls of the large meeting room have a tall panelled timber dado and plain plastered walls above this, while the fourth (north-west) side has a panelled screen broken by pilasters which contains vertical sliding shutters that open onto the small meeting room. On the opposite side of the room is a ministers’ stand with a panelled front, and there are perimeter benches to the other walls. Above the screen and continuing on the north side is a gallery with a panelled front. The gallery retains the original, unfixed benches and gas-light fittings. There is a moulded plaster cornice and the ceiling has a central ventilator roundel with acanthus ornament. From the entrance vestibule a timber panelled archway leads through to a small lobby containing the gallery staircase. This has a shaped, curving handrail and stick balusters. The small meeting room beyond the lobby has a blocked fireplace and a dado rail. There are also some late-C20 fitted cupboards. The joinery elsewhere includes six-panelled doors; several of which are modern replacements. A simple wooden ladder at gallery level provides access to the king-post roof.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
269988
Legacy System:
LBS

Sources

Websites
Quaker Meeting Houses Heritage Project: Meeting House, Wellington, accessed 27 April 2018 from http://heritage.quaker.org.uk/
Other
Architectural History Practice, March 2017, Quaker Meeting Houses in Great Britain. National Overview Report

Legal

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 10 Aug 2003
Reference: IOE01/11218/14
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Terry Abbiss. Source Historic England Archive
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