|Business Meeting Dates||Events||Notices: Article By Tony Fitt|
Meeting for Worship: Sundays at 10.30am.
Children’s Meeting first and third Sundays at 10.30am all welcome
Getting there: Meeting House is 100 metres up Beacon Road, which joins main road by the Godolphin Arms Hotel. Bus: No 17 or 2 to Marazion Square. No parking at the Meeting House, (except for Disabled Badge Holders). Nearest Car Park on seaward side of main road. Charity car park at West End of village.
Contact: Laura Martin (Clerk)
Alethea Wigzell (Assistant Clerk)
|Business Meeting Dates top|
|First Sunday in each month at 12.00|
|Article by Tony Fitt top|
Marazion Quaker Meeting House – A local History Project
The simple stone built meeting house at the top of Beacon Road is the oldest public building in Marazion and it is still in regular use.
How it came to be there is a remarkable story.
George Fox, one of the Quaker founding fathers, travelled throughout Britain and arrived on horseback in Marazion one evening in 1656. The Mayor was rather suspicious of upcountry foreigners, particularly those who were rumoured to believe that all men were equal in the sight of God. As if this was not enough, Fox had a reputation for not raising his hat to anyone, so the Mayor felt obliged to take action!
He gathered all the aldermen and then sent the constables to summon George Fox to come before them at the town hall. Fox declined, saying he did not see why travellers should be troubled at their inn. The constables went away but were soon back again. Fox asked them if they had a warrant and one of them plucked the heavy ceremonial mace from under his cloak and waved it under his nose. In the end Fox sent his companion, Edward Pyot, to see the Mayor and everyone calmed down.
The peace did not last for long because the next morning Fox was arrested in St Ives for having written a pamphlet which had offended a magistrate and the local clergy who also thought that Fox’s hair was too long! The upshot of all this was that Fox was taken by a detachment of soldiers to Launceston Castle and imprisoned in Doomsdale Dungeon, ‘a nasty stinking place’.
That should be the end of the story, but the townspeople of Launceston came to listen to Fox and Quakerism soon spread throughout Cornwall. In 1671 Quakers decided to hold their simple service at the house of John Taylour in Marazion .
Meanwhile Quakers were not allowed to bury their dead in a public cemetery because of local opposition, so they had their own burial ground at Brea, between St. Just and Sennen. This was a long way to take a corpse from Marazion, so John Taylour gave the piece of land at the top of Beacon Lane for use as a burial ground.
William Roberts was the first to be buried there in 1682. Quakerism was still illegal at this time, and another Mayor of Marazion, Thomas Hill, seized possessions from several local Quakers.
In 1688 there were sufficient Quakers in Marazion for them to be able to pledge enough money to build the present Meeting House. It was completed one year before the Act of Toleration made it legal to do so, so perhaps the people of Marazion had become less hostile to the new worshippers by then.
The Meeting House then settled down to 200 years of much less eventful progress, but in the 19th Century, the rise of Methodism led to a decline in our numbers. With less use and less maintenance the roof gave way in 1879 but a thoughtful legacy from Devon arrived just in time to restore the roof. Meetings were held every other week during the 1930s and 1940s but in 1962 the gas lamps were replaced by electricity and a kitchen cum Children’s Room and toilets were added.
This led to Marazion Playgroup using our meeting house and garden in the 1970s which was a delight for everyone. The number of local Quakers has increased and by the 1990s our meeting had grown so much that we sent some Quakers off to Penzance to reopen the worship there.
Local Quakers still hold their simple Meeting for Worship in Marazion every Sunday at 10.30 and all are welcome to join us. Some of the members live in Marazion itself, but others come from as far afield as St. Ives, St. Just, Hayle and the Lizard. Once a year we are joined by others from all over Cornwall for an Area Meeting at Marazion which fills the meeting house and spills over into the garden.