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48Quaker History The Friends Meeting House. By Hubert Lidbetter. Foreword by Sir Albert E. Richardson. York, England: William Sessions, Limited, The Ebor Press. 196I. xvi, 84 pages. 53/—in London; $7.50 in U.S.A. This slender volume, artistically conceived as to format, type, and illustration , is expressive of the purpose of the book — "an historical survey of the places of worship of the Society of Friends ... to the present day." Possibly the announced scope is too ambitious to be encompassed in so few words, about fifty-three pages of text, but the half-tone "plates" and many beautiful line-drawings adequately express the form and character of Friends' meetinghouses built in England during the first century of Quakerism , of which "there still remain at least a hundred buildings."1 Irish and Scottosh meetinghouses are summarized in two and a half pages of text, three and a half pages of illustrations. Moreover, three and a half pages of text, four pages of half-tones and one and a half pages of line drawings are devoted to American meetinghouses, which, the author graciously concedes , "rival their English counterparts in antiquity, numbers and interest." The fourteen chapters of text may be characterized as historical, structural , and advisory. Through it all runs the delightful thread of personal whimsy, as when the author refers three times to the stand (ministers' gallery ) of the Blue Idol as "detrimental to the comfort of the users" (opp. p. 25), as "of peculiarly uncomfortable design" (p. 27), and as "An outstanding example of this discomfort" (p. 30). Nevertheless, American Friends seldom decline an invitation to "sit where William Penn sat!" It will surprise many Americans to read (p. 6) of "George Fox's Pulpit " being located "near Pardshaw in Cumberland." Fox certainly preached from Pardshaw Crag and our author is perhaps following a local tradition, but we have it on the authority of Braithwaite (Beginnings of Quakerism, p. 84) and of a modern English Quaker historian that the well-known George Fox's Pulpit is certainly the one on Firbank Fell on the Westmorland side of the Lune valley, near Sedbergh. "One awkward piece of planning, appended [on p. 60] because it runs contrary to all rules" has been identified by the reviewer from photographs and sketches he made in 1949. This Bridport (Dorset) meetinghouse (1697) shares with the adjoining almshouses the courtyard which imparts "considerable charm" to the whole complex, which, H. Godwin Arnold notes, has been "badly altered" at some date not specified. The caption on plate lxxii and related text on page 52 require ex1 H. Godwin Arnold, "Early Meeting Houses," Transactions, Early Monument Society, New Series, VIII (I960), 91. Book Reviews49 planation. Beyond the scope of the photograph, at the left, is a brick building , erected in 1857, with the two front entrances of the traditional American meetinghouse, now used as a museum. It is connected by a colonnade with the Springfield Memorial Meetinghouse (1927) near High Point, N. C. The beautiful portico with slender wood columns characteristic of American "Georgian" imparts its style to the much smaller chapel at the right, built in 1948 to accommodate small weddings, funerals, and various meetings. The only plans of American meetinghouses are those of Merion (1695) and of Radnor (1718) on page 77. Both are in the "Welsh Barony" of Pennsylvania and each was built in two parts; documentary evidence as to dates of construction is scanty and inconclusive. On the Merion plan our author designates the larger area as "First Building" and the smaller as "Extension." This seems to follow a vague statement in a paper presented at the Bi-Centennial Celebration (1895), but further analysis of the available evidence over the past twenty years seems to point to the smaller area (perhaps with attic schoolroom) as being the earlier. The larger area would then have been provided when the growing settlement required it, and the wooden partition between the two parts was useful to separate the two business meetings of men and women Friends. If there are errors of fact or interpretation, the frustration of the reader is more than counterbalanced by gratitude toward the distinguished architect who has compiled so much and...


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