Airton Meeting House is Grade II* listed!

Heritage England have recently conducted a review of the listing of the Meeting House in the light of research carried out since the status of the building was last considered in 2008.  The findings of this report set the building in the context of the early history of the Quaker movement, acknowledging the presence of Quakers in Airton as early as the late 1650s.  The report concludes ‘that the building is of more than special interest in the national context and fully merits an upgrade to Grade II*’.

The revised listing applies to the Meeting House, attached archway and external stone bench running opposite to and alongside the length of the building.  The Nook, Barn and boundary walls to the burial ground including the outbuilding are together listed at Grade II.  Further information concerning the listing may be viewed in the search pages of the Heritage England website.

The Meeting House closed for the time being

It was with great regret  in March of this year that we closed the Meeting House to visitors in response to the need to contain the present Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic.  This remains the situation regardless of the recent easing of lockdown regulations, as we do not yet feel there is sufficient certainty that the risk of transmission can be adequately managed.  However, if you’re passing and would like to spend time in this special tranquil atmosphere, you can still access the grounds.  There is also a window display summarising the history of the building to view.  In order to help prevent spread of the virus, we ask visitors not not try the handle of the Meeting House door, which is locked.

Live streamed silent meetings

Although we can’t meet in person for now, from Sunday 5th April we’ll be streaming a weekly half-hour silent reflection from the Meeting House – a space for anyone to gather in spirit.  Join us on Facebook from 6pm.

Photo: Laurel Phillipson

Sheep’s wool bench cushions make a comeback!

The lockdown has been an opportunity for our ever-popular sheep’s wool bench mats to be renewed.  Former clerk and historian of our buildings, Laurel Phillipson, is working hard to reweave the mats using a peg loom.

The mats were first woven in 2004-5 by Laurel and others, then added to by former Resident Friend Floe Shakespeare, from a mixture of white and brown wool donated from local farms and smallholdings.  They’ve served us well for 15 years and although by no means historical, they add a certain rustic charm to the Meeting House that never fails to impress!

‘A year in poems’

This year we’re inviting past visitors and guests as well as local residents and friends to submit original poems for us to add to our website and display on our notice boards.  Each month, a poem with be selected from those submitted.  Poems could be about life in Malhamdale, its history, the wonderful Yorkshire Dales landscape, the natural world, or something you find in the beauty and tranquillity of Airton Friends Meeting House.  They could be reflective, funny or inspiring.  You don’t need to have written before, and submissions from people of all ages and backgrounds are welcome!  See ‘A year in poems’ on this site for further details.

Search the library

Quakers are a literary lot, and one of the most interesting resources at a Meeting House is often the library.  Airton Friends’ library is no exception, containing books on a wide variety of topics built around a core of history, biography, spirituality and ethics – with a few volumes on lighter and more general subjects as well as books for children.  The library is currently in the process of being re-catalogued and the listings so far can be searched online.  Follow the link and then sort the data (selecting from row 9 downwards) by title, author, date or any of the columns in the spreadsheet.