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List Entry Summary

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


List entry Number: 1268759



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

County: Hertfordshire

District: East Hertfordshire

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Hertford

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II*

Date first listed: 10-Feb-1950

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: LBS

UID: 461474

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Building

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


TL3212NE 817-1/17/191

HERTFORD, RAILWAY STREET (South side), Friends Meeting House



Friends Meeting House. Dated 1670, with C18 alterations. Red brick, irregular bond generally single stretcher course between courses of alternate headers and stretchers; old tiled roofs. EXTERIOR: single storey; open meeting room with west gallery. Front (north) elevation has two 3-light wood casement windows with leaded glazing below segmental header arches, 1 window in lower part of each gable; four 2-light casements on ground floor, that at left originally a doorway, and remainder originally larger mullion and transom windows, but with lower lights removed and brick infilled early C18. Door at right with 2-light fanlight and moulded architrave to frame. Rear (south) elevation has similar door to front, at left, 2 mullion and transom casement windows and at right a 2-light window, originally a fanlight above the now blocked doorway below. Twin gables with moulded brick copings facing the street (north elevation), and main gabled roof at rear with 1 small leaded casement gabled dormer at left. Large brick chimneystack, with projecting band, offset above external chimneybreast on rear right (west) flank. INTERIOR: entrance hall in west bay below gallery, with moveable shutters in panelled partition. Main meeting room has central octagonal oak column and braces supporting roof structure above. Pine benches, with raised elders' stand at east - plain bench ends and plank and panel backs, newels with ball finials, panelled dado behind rear row. Red brick fireplace with wood bressumer at rear below gallery, opened up 1970, with 'George Fox's Chair' alongside. Newel stair to right of rear door - square post with tongue moulding and ball on pedestal finial, close string with cut profiled splats and chamfered handrail. Gallery has 2 compartments with plastered front with removable panelled shutters above, some with carved initials and early C18 dates; simple plank doors with strap hinges. HISTORICAL NOTE: the Hertford Friends Meeting House is believed to be the oldest purpose-built meeting house to have been in continuous use for worship throughout its existence. A Quaker preacher first came to Hertford in 1655, and services were held in private houses, until 1669 the decision was taken to build, at a cost of £243 12s 0d. George Fox visited the building at least 3 times. It possibly sustained damage in 1683 and was repaired. In 1717 sash windows were installed, but were replaced in 1731 by casement windows, with the lower openings bricked up. In 1981 comprehensive repairs costing £72,000 took place, entailing insertion of a steel corset to take the weight of the roof and tie back the walls. Charles Lamb wrote 'A Quakers' Meeting' one of the 'Essays of Elia' after visiting the Hertford Meeting House in early C19. (East Herts Archaeological Society Newsletter: 3: Hertford: 1949-1953; The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: Hertfordshire: Harmondsworth: 1977-: 186; Page FM: History of Hertford: Hertford: 1993-: 94-7; Green L: Hertford's Past in pictures: Ware: 1993-: 122; Rowe Dr V: The First Hertford Quakers: 1970-; Hertfordshire Countryside: Clymo HJ: A Hertford Tricentenary: 1970-: 26-7).

Listing NGR: TL3281212705

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Green, L, Hertfords Past in Pictures, (1993), 122
Page, F M, History of Hertford, (1993), 94-97
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, (1977), 186
Rowe, Dr V , The First Hertford Quakers, (1970)
'East Hertfordshire Archaeological Society Newsletter' in East Hertfordshire Archaeological Society Newsletter, (1949-1953)
'Hertfordshire Countryside' in Hertfordshire Countryside, (1970), 26-27

National Grid Reference: TL 32812 12705


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End of official listing