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Halifax Quaker Meeting House

Address: Quaker Meeting House Clare Road HALIFAX West Yorkshire HX1 2HX See Map
Meeting Times: Sundays 10.30 am

Location OS grid ref:

Directions: In Halifax town centre. Very easy to find. Ten minutes walk from bus station. Ten minutes uphill walk from Rail station.

Key dates, Start:1652 and end date: 0001

There may be pictures for this place.

Description of the Place:

Their web page:

No modern references found.

History of the place:
Old Halifax meeting house can be found at: SESE0939524861
Sourced Item:

A Quaker meeting house of 1743 with C19 boundary walls.
Reason for Listing
The Friends Meeting House and attached boundary wall are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an early example of a purpose built Meeting House;
* Architectural interest: the shift from a modest, vernacular design to a Classical upgrading demonstrates the growth in the denomination in Halifax during the C19;
* Subsidiary items: the walls demonstrate the expansion of grounds during the mid-late C19, partially due to increased stability following the 1844 Dissenters Chapels Act. History
This Quaker meeting house is thought to have been purpose built in 1743, although the hall may have been adapted from an existing dwelling. The 1st edition 1:10560 Yorkshire OS map of 1854 shows the building as L-shaped in plan, with the west section projecting further to the north. It is labelled as a Friends Meeting House by this time, although the plot is narrower and the burial ground is not separated. By 1894 the extent of the grounds and the footprint is depicted as similar to that which exists today, although a small projection, possibly a porch, sat in the position of the current disabled access ramp. The meeting house will have undergone some renovation between 1854 and 1894, including the reroofing of the range after truncation, the redesign of some windows and the addition of kneelers. There was an L-shaped range of glasshouses abutting the west boundary wall and the west side of the south elevation at this time; this was demolished after 1933. There was also a section of wall connecting the south-east corner of the hall with the projecting wall which remains in-situ. This separated the burial ground to the east of the hall from the remainder of the plot; it was also removed after 1933.

The building was converted for nursery use in 1992. This necessitated the insertion of new partitions throughout, including a new floor to half the width of the hall space. The upper floor of the hall is still in use for Quaker meetings, while the ground floor of the hall and both floors of the west range are let for use by charity organisations.

Materials: Coursed sandstone with ashlar detailing and stone slate roofs.
Plan: Rectangular aligned roughly east-west.
Exterior: A two-storey, two bay range sits to the west with a taller, double-height hall to the east. Both are under gabled stone slate roofs with coped gable ends and kneelers to the east and west. There are ventilation turrets to each section, while the hall incorporates truncated stone gable stacks to either end. There are rusticated ashlar quoins to the south-east and south-west, with flush inserted quoins to the north-west.
The south elevation incorporates scattered windows and two doors with flat-headed openings to the west section. The hall has four tall round-headed windows and one entrance to the left. All openings sit within painted stone squared surrounds. The windows are two-over-two pane horned sashes while the two double doors to the right are panelled. The entrance to the left has been renewed with a modern door and window.
The north elevation has two two-over-two horned sashes within surrounds, as well as a window with no architrave to the ground floor. All sit within the western section; the hall section is blind. There is evidence of former quoins tying the two sections together at the point where the building formerly extended further north.
The east gable end has two round-headed windows with horned sashes. There is a doorway to the left with renewed door, accessed via a ramp. An inserted first floor door sits to the right, accessed via fire escape steps. There is a small wooden door close to the eaves, possibly for ventilation, and evidence of blocked windows with mullions to the ground floor.
The west gable end incorporates two blocked windows.
Interior: The hall ceiling has panelled beams with stepped cornices separating the bays. There is a ceiling rose to each bay. The hall space has been divided in two so that most of the southern half is open to the ceiling, while the northern half has an inserted floor and numerous partitions to the ground floor. The upper sections of the infill are glass so that the fabric of the ceiling has not been disturbed or the views interrupted. Security grates have been attached to the windows.
The western section has been entirely modernised with numerous partitions inserted to both floors. A straight flight modern stair sits to the south. The first floor has retained decorative cornicing which runs the perimeter of the entire floor, suggesting it was once open plan.
There is access between the two first floor areas via a modern door, however there is also a blocked double door to the north. It is therefore possible there was once a gallery of some sort to the hall.
Subsidiary items: A boundary wall runs from the north-east corner of the hall, along the north, east, south and west perimeters of the plot. This has round-headed capstones to the north perimeter and northernmost half of the east perimeter. The capstones to the southern half of the plot are triangular, while those to the west are flat. There is a later building in separate ownership which incorporates a section of the wall to the east; this has led to the removal of cap stones and the addition of later stone walling above perimeter wall height. This building is not included within the list entry. A section of wall with later flat capstones projects west from the eastern perimeter; this terminates at roughly the easternmost extent of the hall. There are two piers with flat cap stones to the west; the gate is renewed. Grave stones (which are included in the listing) dating from 1821-1893 are lined up along the northern perimeter, with some to the north section of the hall’s gable end.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.

Sourced Item:
The Greens became Quakers when George Fox preached at Hightown in 1652, and one, John, was imprisoned in York because he refused to take oaths and died there in 1676. There is still an interesting group of Quaker graves, known as The Sepulchre, in Hare Park Lane dated 1665, 1684 and 1697. There was less persecution after the Toleration Act of 1689 and a Quaker meeting house was built in what is now known as Quaker Lane, in 1699. It is now a private residence. Quaker Lane is a quiet little backwater springing from the busy Halifax Road and ending at Westgate in Cleckheaton. Once a cart track, its dirt road went past Quaker House, a row of old stone cottages and a meadow, where it split. The left hand part still has the terrace of stone-built houses called romantically Oriental Terrace, linked with a large house further down once called Oriental House. These were built from monies invested in the Orient. To the right of the fork is a public bridleway winding past King George V playing fields, abundant with blackberries in Autumn and used more and more by horse and rider. The house which attracts most attention is Clough House, which is in Halifax Road just above Quaker Lane. This is also a 17th century house. It was occupied by Rev Patrick Bronte from 1812 to 1815 with his new wife Maria. Here the two daughters who died as children were born. He was the curate at Hartshead church and had lodged at Thornbush Farm near the end of Miry Lane before this. He was at Clough House when the croppers banded together to try to destroy the cropping machines being installed in the large mills. They called themselves Luddites, and met at the Shears inn in Halifax Road to plan the attack. The Shears inn was built in 1773.
Sourced Item:
William Dewsbury is attributed with settling the Meeting in Halifax after preaching there in the early 1650s. The earliest local sufferings recorded by Besse were in January 1661, when Nathaniel Crowther and John Howker were amongst those imprisoned in York Castle for refusing to take the oath of allegiance. Halifax Meeting is first recorded in 1669 as part of the newly formed Brighouse Monthly Meeting. It included Friends in neighbouring Rishworth (or Rushworth), and its leading members were Abraham Hodgson, Robert Colme, Joshua Smith, Edward Haley, Henry Dyson and Abraham Wadsworth. Halifax Friends were amongst those who suffered distraint of goods under the Conventicle Act in the early 1670s and again, and much more severely, in 1683, for absence from the national worship. Five Friends lost livestock, household goods and crops to the total value of £196. The first Meeting House and burial ground were purchased in 1696 and lay outside the town, at Harwood Wells, Skircoat (also known as Highroad Wells). 'The most persistent and intractable case of tythe evasion ever to come before QM [Quarterly Meeting]' is how Pearson Thistlethwaite describes the Halifax Modus case. Suspicious payments by local Friends were first queried in 1701 and judged to be a composition in lieu of tithes. But it took over a century, with many investigations into the peculiar local circumstances, before the matter was finally settled. In 1723, a Meeting House was opened in Rishworth and an independent Preparative Meeting formed. This was discontinued in 1802 and local Friends returned to Halifax. The Meeting re-located to a site in Clare Road, in the centre of Halifax in 1743, where a new Meeting House was built. This had been extended by 1851, and was superseded by a smaller house in the same road in 1990. The Preparative Meeting was discontinued in 1996, but meetings for worship continue. The Meeting has always been a constituent of Brighouse Monthly Meeting.

Burial ground - The Sepulchre, Hare park LaneDeveloped1665
High Road Wells/Harwood Wells, Skircoat Brought (Quaker Lane???)1696
Clare RoadPurpose Built1743
Clare RoadRenovated about1851
High Road Wells/Harwood Wells, Skircoat Sold1920
Clare RoadGlasshouse extension demolished1933
Clare RoadListed1982
Clare RoadSold1990
32 Clare RoadBrought1991
Clare RoadConverted to nursery use1992

(Please note that any un-titled image could be of any Quaker meeting in the north of England)

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