Much of the material for one place studies comes from primary and secondary sources. Increasingly these are scanned and available online but there is still something special about seeing the original documents. Equally there is something about walking around the area of study, imagining what it was like in different ages when buildings were absent and others still standing. Artefacts are another means of connecting with a place and the people who lived there before. Usually artefacts are seen in museums but it was a privilege this weekend to see some in the context in which they were originally used.

This weekend was the heritage open day weekend when a large number of historical buildings are open to the public and display some aspects of their heritage. Yesterday I visited the Crawshawbooth Quaker Meeting House, opened in 1716. Prior to this the Quakers met in a private house on Chapel Hill and their burial ground is still there.

The Crawshawbooth Meeting House is virtually unchanged since is opened but of particular interest to me were three artefacts brought there from the old place of meeting. They were therefore older than the meeting house itself and were used during or after Quaker worship in the Springhill area in the late C17 and early C18. They are described in the history of the Meeting House.

The table

Tables, altars and pulpits do not feature in Quaker worship and this table was probably used for refreshments after the meeting. The cross bars are grooved from centuries of feet resting on them.

quaker table thumbnail

The candle holder
Obviously there were no electric lights when the Meeting House was opened and this candle holder was brought from the original meeting place. I don’t think the candles are original...

quaker candlestick thumbnail

The pitcher

Friends travelled a considerable distance on foot or horseback to the Meeting House and this pitcher, said to be C16, contained wither water or wheat beer for their refreshment. It seems that they all shared a common cup. Its use now is solely ornamental, and to prop up the C21 ‘fire exit’ notice.

quaker pitcher thumbnail