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West Jersey Quaker Meetings


Rancocas Meeting - front

Rancocas Friends’ Meeting House stands on the north side of the village’s main street just east of the Bridge Street intersection. County surveyors first laid out the road in front of the meeting house in 1771, a year before the meeting’s construction (A-47). But the meeting itself is much older, having been spawned by the Burlington Meeting in 1681, and “to be held at ye house of Tho : Harding both first days and fourth days and to begin on both days at ye 11th hour.” In 1703, this local Quaker body erected a rude log building at the site of the Rancocas Friends’ Burial Ground, located on the east side of Bridge Street as you descend towards the Rancocas Creek. The meeting was originally known as the Northampton Meeting, named for the township which hosted it. Notable original settlers, including Dr. Daniel Wills, were founding members of the Rancocas Meeting and some of these stalwart pioneers are buried in the old cemetery. Upon the Hicksite schism, which occurred between 1826 and 1828, the local Hicksites retained the brick meeting house, forcing the Orthodox Friends to find other accommodations. For a time, the Orthodox worshiped in the room over the blacksmith shop on Bridge Street. Subsequently, the Hicksites invited the Orthodox to occupy the eastern end of the brick meeting, which offer the Orthodox Quakers gratefully accepted. The Hicksites erected a frame wall to divide the meeting room into two spaces. This meeting house remains in active use today.


Rancocas Meeting - date on west gable

Constructed in 1772, as signified by the patterned brick design work in the gable, this venerable brick meeting house has stood the test of time. The building has been modified over time, with the addition of a heating plant at some point in the nineteenth or twentieth century. John Woolman, the famous Friend, was born in Rancocas. Some people would like to associate him with the current Rancocas Meeting, but according to George DeCou, Woolman departed “for England on May 1, 1772, never to return, [and] he never saw it.”


Rancocas Meeting - rear

A rear view of the meeting house showing the brick leanto shed addition for the heating equipment and the attendant chimney.






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