All Quiet on the North Bucks Front
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Friends with Books

Old Friends meeting house  Woburn Sands

The Monday Photo

This is an old Quaker Meeting House, built in 1901 on Hardwick Road, Woburn Sands. It's right on the edge of North Bucks.

The Quakers, formally named The Religious Society of Friends, began in the mid 17th Century. They first met in the parish of Woburn Sands, then called Hogstye End, from around 1659.

In 1674 the local Friends were able to buy the small cottage with a garden which once stood on this site, clubbing together to pay the £135 asking price. They began using it the following year.

The garden would be used as a graveyard; it’s still there today, though there is no public access.

The cottage was used as a Meeting House almost continously until its last Meeting on Sunday 19th May 1901. The next morning, demolition began, to make way for the present building which they finished late that year.

A stone tablet in the front wall says:

“Friends Meetings have been held in this Parish from about the year 1659.
The Burial Ground was purchased 1674.
Hogsty End Meeting House stood here 1675 – 1901.
This Meeting House was opened 12 Month 8, 1901.”

12 Month 8 is the Quaker name for 8th December, and was a Sunday, or as they called it, 1st Day.

Friends Meetings were held here until 1947. The building, owned by The Friends Trust Ltd (a Quaker charity) leased the building to the library service the next year and it remained the Woburn Sands Library until it moved to a new address, The Institute in Woburn Sands High Street.

In 2015 the building became a day nursery. Part of the grounds are fenced off to provide an outdoor playground, but a gate in the fence allows access to the graveyard. From what I could see through the hedge it’s well kept.

The photo shows the front porch and, in the foreground, names scratched into the brickwork. One name has the year; 1990. I’d guess they are all in their mid 40s now, with children of their own. You can also just see, in chalk, the words “Cake sale” and below an arrow strangely pointing diagonally down to the ground.

There’s evidence of history everywhere you look.

I used a Sony A6000 and zoom lens for this photo.

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