A 17th century Quaker Meeting House just outside Addingham has been protected for future generations thanked to a £40,000 renovation project.

Farfield Meeting House on Bolton Road, Addingham is a beautiful building which is still almost exactly as it was when it was built in 1689. In 2018, it was included in the list of the ten most historically significant Faith and Belief places in a list compiled by Historic England. This recognition inspired the small group who look after the building, the Friends of Farfield Meeting, to consider the future.

Led by Barbara Henderson, they organised an appeal to carry out work necessary to ensure the survival of the Meeting House. The Appeal Leaflet was included in The Friend, the national weekly Quaker magazine. It was also distributed in the local community and sent to grant funding trusts. Within eight months £40,000 had been raised thanks to the amazing generosity of local people, Quaker individuals and local meetings and various trusts. The amount donated is recognition of how much the Meeting House is valued and loved by everyone.

Keith Appleyard has been a member of the Friends of Farfield Meeting House for a great many years. He is also is an architect with considerable specialist experience in the renovation of listed buildings. His former firm, where his son is now a partner, has renovated the Great Barn at Bolton Abbey which received an RIBA Conservation Award.

The focus at Farfield was to reduce the damp in order to preserve the structure and the original timber work. The work included re-laying the stone flooring on a new fixed concrete floor and damp proof membrane, completing the secure re-roofing with a new breathable membrane, composite pegs and air gaps to prevent deterioration, and the refurbishment of the internal fixed benches and panels to prevent further woodworm damage. Much of the timber work had crumbled at the back due to this infestation and the trapped moisture. There were cracks at two corners of the building because the walls were not bonded. They have now been tied and repaired. The building should now last for many future generations. Other external work is needed and will be carried out if more money is donated.

A spokesman for the Friends of Farfield Meeting House said: “The contractors, R. N. Wooler & Co., Keighley, have worked skilfully to ensure that the inside of the building has retained its unique quality of a building that has remained virtually untouched for 330 years. Hundreds of visitors from all over Britain and countries from all over the world such as from Canada, USA, Australia, Africa and New Zealand, visit Farfield every year, often stopping off as they walk the Dales Way. 432 of the many visitors from 1st January to the closure for the work in October wrote in the Visitors Book. Their comments bear witness to the appreciation and awe felt by people experiencing this wonderful building, for example: ‘A wonderful sense of history and peace’.