Frenchay Quaker Meeting House

picture of Frenchay Quaker Meeting House

Meeting time: Sunday Meeting for Worship: 10.30 - 11.30am. Children’s class: 10.30 - 11.30am on the 1st and 3rd Sundays in the month. Children attend the first 15 minutes of Meeting for Worship.
Address: Beckspool Road, Frenchay, Bristol BS16 1NT (opposite Village Hall) MAP

Telephone: Clerk: Roger Angerson Tel: 0117-956 9490. Resident Friend: Helen Watts Tel: 0117 956 7337

Location

Bus No 4 from Broad Quay, Bristol City Centre, to Beckspool Road. Then a 10 minute walk. Parking on grass verge nearby.

The Meeting Today

About 18 adults and five children attend Meeting for Worship on Sundays. We welcome visitors whom we hope will be able to stay to join us for coffee after Meeting for Worship.

Frenchay Quaker Meeting has a programme of social events as well as its spiritual life, based upon the meeting for worship each Sunday.

The meeting house is used by many local groups; Frenchay Horticultural Society, Frenchay Model Railway Club, a circle dance group and a tai chi class. Rooms are let on a weekly basis to two Alcoholics Anonymous groups and for counselling sessions. The Frenchay Tuckett Society, a local history group, meets regularly and the Avon Local History and Archaeology group has recently moved out of Bristol to hold committee meetings in the meeting house. South Gloucestershire Council’s Walking to Health project uses the building as a base for its walks in the area. The meeting is always pleased to let its facilities which were recently used as a venue for a golden wedding celebration and by a local group which held a strawberry tea to thank its volunteers. The meeting runs a thriving recycling project.

The venue, with its unique atmosphere, is ideal for meetings, conferences and seminars. The building has level access to the ground floor meeting room, garden and toilets and there is a stairlift to the first floor meeting room and kitchen. A Resident Friend/Warden lives on site and is the first point of contact.

History of the Meeting

Friends (Quakers) have worshipped in the area since the middle of the seventeenth century, first meeting in private houses. In 1673, a Meeting House at Frenchay was completed near the site of the present one. A caretaker’s cottage was added at the back of the Meeting House in the mid18th century.

Hannah Rogers, who lived in Home Farm next door, now the site of Frenchay Lodge Cottage, gave a portion of her land for a burial ground to be added to the Meeting House. The oldest grave stone is that of Mary Gaynor, 1756.

The current meeting house is a listed building dated 1809. Since then Quaker meetings for worship have been held in the building which stands facing Frenchay Common. The new building consisted of the present room where Meeting for Worship is held, and the space upstairs, now the kitchen area. A small corridor gave access to the road and the burial ground. Five years later, responding to a request from the women of the Meeting, an extension was built to the front, providing a meeting room above and stabling below, and the corridor was extended. The interior wood panelling and screen is of Archangel red pine imported from the Baltic through the City Docks.

A notable local Quaker in the eighteenth century was Anthony Purver, schoolmaster and Clerk to the Meeting. He was friendly with John Wesley and undertook the formidable task of translating the Bible; a copy of this translation can be seen in the glass case in the library. Quaker merchants who lived in the area included Joseph Storrs Fry. Another noted Frenchay Quaker family was the Tucketts, who gave the field opposite the Meeting House, in a corner of which the Village Hall now stands, for the people of Frenchay.

In 1996/97, the exterior of the Meeting House was extensively refurbished at which time layers of paint were removed and the walls treated with lime wash similar to the original.