THE RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS (QUAKERS) – Marazion Meeting House
Friends Meeting House, Beacon Road, Marazion TR17 0HF
OS Grid Ref: SW 51849 30701
Website: www.swquakers.org.uk/meetings/cornwall/marazion Web Editor: Nancy Thompson
Marazion Quaker Meeting House is the oldest Quaker Meeting House in Cornwall. It is a Grade II* listed building erected in 1688/89 on the site of an earlier burial ground, shortly before the Act of Toleration came into force. The meeting house largely retains its original planform, and some original and historic furnishings and fittings. It has exceptional historical value. It was altered in 1742 and c.1880 and extended in 1961-62 and 2007.
Marazion Local Meeting has strong associations with George Fox, who visited the town in 1655, just before his imprisonment in Launceston gaol. It was in Marazion that he wrote his Epistle to the Seven Parishes. From 1679 the local members of his newly founded denomination met in the house of John Taylor, who in 1687 donated the site for the present meeting house. Entertaining accounts of Fox’s travails with mayors at Marazion and St Ives can be found in a book by Kenneth H. Southall ed., Our Quaker Heritage Early Meeting Houses built prior to 1720 and in use to-day (1974, rep 1984), pp.39-41. Interestingly the meeting house deeds for Marazion were dated 5.IX 1688 and the 1st meeting held the next day. In 1800-41 meetings alternated between Marazion and Penzance and then were discontinued at Marazion until 1918 when they resumed.
It is a small building with high aesthetic value, having been built in the vernacular tradition which conveys the Quaker testimony of simplicity. The most elaborate items are the ministers’ and elders’ stand and the historic sash windows. The modern extension, providing kitchen and disabled toilet facilities, is relatively unobtrusive. A recent quinquennial report carried out by Scott & Co, Chartered Conservation Surveyors, highlighted a number of urgent repairs along with recommendations for improving the building’s sustainability.
The Meeting House exists today, as it has for the past 332 years, in order to present the opportunity to take part in Quaker worship to all who wish to do so. From this worship there arises the inspiration for many different kinds of social action locally, nationally and internationally and many opportunities for individual and corporate spiritual growth.
Our achievements have been to set an example of Christian discipleship within the local and wider community, aiding the initiatives that need to flourish in the creation of a peaceful and caring society founded on the equality of all humanity, regardless of gender, beliefs and social background.
In 1960 our meeting was held twice each month with an attendance of eight to ten. By 1990 our Meeting House was becoming too small for the worshipping group and it was decided to form a new meeting in Penzance which flourishes along with Marazion in providing a Quaker witness in West Cornwall.