The Nook, The Barn, and burial ground walls at Airton Quaker Meeting House


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Airton, North Yorkshire


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Statutory Address:
Airton, North Yorkshire

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

North Yorkshire
Craven (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:


Early C18 cottage with C19 and late-C20 alterations. The Warden's cottage for the late C17/early C18 Quaker Meeting House. Former stable and hayloft of early C18 date with alterations in the second half of C18, major alterations in the mid-C19, mid-C20 and 2011, burial ground walls and small shed of C18/C19 date.

Reasons for Designation

The cottage known as The Nook, attached to the Quaker Meeting House, early C18 with C19 and late-C20 alterations, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* as a simple cottage reflecting local vernacular building traditions and built to house a warden for the Quaker meeting house to which it is attached.

Historic interest:

* said to have been added to the Quaker meeting house in the early C18 by Alice Ellis, who together with her husband commemorated their purchase of the meeting house from the Lambert family in 1700 with a plaque bearing their initials and the date over the meeting house doorway.

Group value:

* the cottage (The Nook) and subsidiary items of former stables and hayloft (The Barn), burial ground walls and small shed have an historic, spatial and functional group value with the meeting house.


Airton Quaker Meeting House is located in Malhamdale at the east end of the triangular village green and stands on land originally owned by Major General John Lambert (1619-1684) whose family home was at nearby Calton. Lambert was a historically important commander who led the New Model Army in Scotland; the Lamberts were sympathetic to local Quakers and provided protection from persecution.

There is no known documentary evidence to definitively date the construction of the meeting house, which is built in the local traditional vernacular style. Considerable work is known to have taken place on the building in the 1690s and the overall character of the building is now consistent with this date. The work was funded by William Ellis, a Quaker linen weaver, and his wife, Alice, who built their home and weaving workshops on the opposite side of the road to the meeting house. Ellis had moved to Airton in around 1679 and founded his own linen hand-loom weaving business. He later commenced a second career as a travelling preacher, visiting east Yorkshire in 1686, the south of England around 1690, Ireland in 1694 and visited Friends in North America in 1697, returning home in 1699. He and Alice bought the building for £31 in 1700 from Lambert’s son, also called John; the door lintel inscription W E A 1700 probably records the purchase.

In 1710 the recently widowed Alice Ellis is said to have replaced a small stable against the south-west gable wall of the meeting house with a two-storey warden’s cottage with a chimney stack to the former gable wall of the meeting house. The cottage may incorporate stonework from the earlier stable in its outer walls. A separate range was built to the south providing a new stable with a hayloft. Probably in the second half of the C18 the new stable was extended and joined to the cottage by the addition of a cart shed, which abuts the quoined corner of the cottage. In the mid-C19 the stable and hayloft was raised to a full two storeys with a new roof. Probably at the same time the hayloft was extended over the cart shed to abut the cottage. In the late C19 the building became known as The Barn.

In the early- to mid-C19 a porch was added to the cottage; a coal house was built against the porch in the C19.

A large C19 chimney breast in the cottage was substantially rebuilt in about 1970.

The burial ground is enclosed by walls, which are shown on the 1:10560 Ordnance Survey map, surveyed in 1849 to 1850, published in 1853, with a small separate shed to the north-east of the building. There were minor alterations to the walls in the 1:10560 OS map surveyed in 1893, published in 1896, which shows the walls in their present layout, with the exception of the straight wall running between the north-east end of the meeting house and the shed. That wall has since been removed, leaving the curved wall previously on its north side. The walls and the shed were repaired in 2011.

During the Second World War two evacuee families from Liverpool were accommodated in the meeting house for a period, sleeping in the meeting room and using the ground floor of the barn as a kitchen and sitting room (the first floor being unsafe by this time). After the war the barn was re-roofed and a new first floor installed using oak beams which may have originally been part of its roof structure; these were removed during an extensive refurbishment in 2011 when it was discovered that the beams had rotted. During much of the second half of the C20 the barn was used as a hostel for young Quakers and other youth groups.

In 2004 a local Quaker Meeting was reinstated at Airton. In 2011 the interior of the barn was rebuilt. The roofs were repaired in 2016.


Early C18 cottage with C19 and late-C20 alterations. The warden's cottage for the late C17/early C18 Quaker Meeting House. Former stable and hayloft early C18 with alterations in second half of C18, major alterations in mid C19, mid C20 and 2011, burial ground walls and small shed C18/C19.

MATERIALS: sandstone and limestone rubble with stone dressings and stone slate roofs. The rainwater goods are cast-iron.

PLAN: the two-storey cottage (The Nook) is attached to the south-west gable wall of the rectangular meeting house, which is aligned north-east, south-west. The two-storey former stables and hayloft (The Barn), now (2020) hostel accommodation, is set at a right-angle, aligned north-west, south-east and abutting the south-east elevation of the cottage.

EXTERIOR: the cottage is mainly built of sandstone rubble with slobbered pointing, quoins to the outer corners, and a stone slate roof. Above the gable wall of the meeting house there is an ashlar ridge stack with water tabling and an ogee moulded cornice (the cottage's stack).

The north-west elevation has a ragged joint separating the cottage from the meeting house to the left. The ground floor has a two-light mullioned window inserted into the wall on the left-hand side, with a three-light mullioned window above. To the immediate right of the ground-floor window is a projecting, gabled porch of rubblestone with corner quoins and a stone slate roof. The north-west gable elevation has a round-headed lancet window and moulded coping stones with ogee-moulded kneelers. The porch north-east side elevation has a doorway with a stone frame and C19 lintel in a C17 style with a plank and batten door with decorative strap hinges and upright door handle. The south-west side elevation of the porch and the right-hand end of the ground-floor of the cottage are obscured by the later, flat-roofed coal store, which has a rounded outer corner.

The south-west gable elevation has a large, vertical rectangular window to the left-hand side of the ground floor with an ashlar frame and a sash frame. There is a similar window above at first-floor level. To the far right-hand side there is a small casement window with a chamfered ashlar surround and projecting sill. At first-floor level is a horizontal rectangular window with an ashlar frame and sash frame. The coal store is built against the left-hand corner. The former stable and hayloft (The Barn) is built against and over the right-hand corner.

The south-east elevation is not visible, being enclosed within the attached former stable and hayloft building.

INTERIOR: the ground floor of the cottage is of two bays, with a larger main room into which the inner door of the porch opens. The room has two chamfered and stopped longitudinal beams with exposed joists. Against the south-east wall is a boarded-in staircase. There is a large fireplace in the centre of the north-east wall with gritstone chamfered jambs and deep lintel. The back of the fireplace is hollowed out of the wall. A second, smaller room has a chamfered and stopped beam with exposed trusses; the timbers have inscribed markings (possibly incised by a mid-C20 resident with antiquarian interests). The area beneath the stairs is lit by the small ground-floor window. The first floor has two bedrooms, now with a sub-divided bathroom.

SUBSIDIARY ITEMS The former stable and hayloft (known as The Barn) attached to the cottage is built mainly of sandstone rubble, with limestone rubble used to the C19 raised walls, corner quoins and a stone slate roof. The majority of door and window openings date from the modern conversion. The interior was rebuilt in 2011.

The burial ground is enclosed by rubblestone walls. The walls are mainly drystone walls with some parts having slobbered pointing, with coping either of flat stones or large boulders. The south-east side has stone gate piers for a gateway to its centre, now infilled with stone. The north-east side has a small shed at its left-hand end. The shed is built of rubblestone with quoins and a mono-pitch stone slate roof. There is a plank and batten door in the north-west side wall and a horizontal three-light window in its outer, north-east wall.


Books and journals
Phillipson, Laurel , Armstrong, Alison, Hidden in Plain Sight, History & Architecture of the Airton Meeting House, (2017)
Friends Meeting House, Airton, Architectural History Practice, 2016, accessed 11 November 2019 from


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

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