History of Lewes Quaker meeting

The present meeting house dates from 1784 when it was built on an unused part of what was the Quaker burial ground. Quakers had been meeting in Lewes since 1655 but their old meeting house was proving unsuitable; they spent £229.43 on the new building.

During the nineteenth century some alterations were made to extend the meeting room and attach a cottage for the warden. Then in 1978 a further extension was built providing the children’s room and new warden’s flat. Care was taken to make the new building match the old part.

Quakers in Lewes are now looking at how to make the building more accessible and sustainable for future generations.

Quaker meetings have been held in the town of Lewes since 1655, at first in private houses. The first meeting house was replaced by the present one in 1784. It is a timber-framed building covered in front with mathematical tiles. The simple interior has wooden panelling and an upper gallery. In the main meeting room, original 18th century benches are still in use.

The modern part of the building (at the right when looking from the road) has a kitchen, library, children’s room and a flat above, where Resident Friends live.

Our beautiful garden includes simple gravestones of early Friends buried on the site, although in fact these gravestones were moved during building works in the 1970s so do not mark the actual location of the graves any longer.

To read more about the history of the Quakers in Lewes, click on the attached document below. This will take you to David Hitchin’s entire History of Lewes Quaker meeting.