Farfield Quaker Meeting House

Built on land donated to Quakers by on a 5,000 year lease, Farfield is one of the oldest Quaker meeting houses. The 1689 Act of Toleration was an important step on the road to religious freedom that we today take for granted.  Farfield Meeting House was built that same year by Quakers who had previously had to worship in secret. This small and deliberately modest building is therefore an important monument on the road to freedom of belief and religious diversity.

"A lovely peaceful place, and a warm welcome"

Farfield visitors' book

What's on

We don't have any events planned here at the moment, but we're open to visitors.

Visit

We invite visitors to leave a donation. Historic Chapels Trust is a charity with no endowment. To support our work click here

You can download a short guide to Farfield Friends' Meeting House here.

Directions

The meeting house is on the Dales Way where it crosses the B6168 Ilkley road. Please take care as sight lines are poor. The Dales Way Association organises events and lists accommodation.

There is parking for two cars only. Please park so as not to block access to our neighbours' houses.

Nearest rail station Ilkley (5 miles). The 74 bus operated by Pride of the Dales from Ilkley Station to Bolton Abbey Station passes the meeting house - ask the driver to let you off at Farfield.

In the Area

The picturesque Bolton Abbey, a 12th century Augustinian Abbey in a beautiful Wharfedale setting is two miles from the meeting house. Ilkley is an attractive spa town nearby. Bettys Tea Rooms are the most celebrated of the town's many cafes. Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway is a volunteer run steam railway 5 miles from the meeting house, offering a great day out for all the family

two miles west of Addingham on the B6160 Bolton Abbey Road
near Ilkley
LS29 0RQ
United Kingdom

The meeting house is usually left unlocked during daylight hours. For groups please contact HCT to be sure of access.

Enquiry

Would you like to visit or use this chapel for an event?

Farfield Meeting House was built in 1689 on land given by local landowner Anthony Myers and the date is over the door. Until that year Quaker worship was illegal and Quakers often met in the open air so they could deny they were a meeting for worship. Even so, two Quakers in London were imprisoned in 1670 for an open air meeting there and in Oxfordshire a wealthy Quaker was sentenced to prison for building a small stone meeting house rather like Farfield.

The first step towards religious freedom that we today take for granted was the Act of Toleration of 1689, when nonconformist worship was to a limited extent decriminalised. It seems likely that the local Quaker meeting around Addingham was well established in a clandestine way and they lost no time in building a stone meeting house at Farfield as soon as it was legal to do so.

Farfield Meeting House is a modest building of stone with mullioned windows. The roof is supported by a single king post truss and the floor stone flagged. Apart from benches, the only fitting is the oak stand from where the elected leaders of the meeting started and closed meetings. Quakers at that time adopted dress, manners and lifestyles of calculated simplicity, so the meeting house is in line with this - it has a 'Quakerly' character.

The meeting house has a small burial-ground where most of the burials are un-marked, as was then Quaker practice. However, there is also a row of five table-tombs commemorating the Myers family. It is not known whether they became Quakers, but as benefactors they must have been sympathetic at least. Table tombs are rare exceptionally rare in a Quaker burial ground as this style of memorial was associated with grand - even royal - burials and therefore usually an anathema to Quakers.

You can download a short guide to Farfield Friends' Meeting House here.

"Wood was generally left untreated, since varnish and polish were counted as vanity. Nor were there cushions, a practice that, happily, is not now regarded as essential."

~ David Brett, The Plain Style, Cambridge, 2004

Farfield was the first project undertaken by Historic Chapels Trust.  A small but important building the Quakers has ceased worship there in 1890s and the building was in agricultural use before serving as an artists studio in the 1950s and 60s. 

Historic Chapels Trust restored the stonework of the walls and roof. We promoted an agreement to have the Dales Way diverted a few yards so that it now directly passes the Meeting House and walkers also have a safer road-crossing point.  Today most visitors come by foot, discovering the Meeting House as a small surprise. Today it is listed Grade II*.

An interpretation panel on the rear wall facing the Dales Way gives the history of the site.

HCT's custodianship of Farfield Meeting House is informed by a Conservation Statement which can be downloaded here.

This small Meeting House is not available to hire but welcomes visits throughout the year. You may picnic in the small burial ground, but we ask you please to take any rubbish away with you.

Enquiry

Would you like to visit or use this chapel for an event?