Jordans, Friends' Meeting House
Jordans, Friends' Meeting House
Perhaps the most famous of all Quaker Meeting Houses, Jordans was built in 1688. It is a simple two-storey brick building beneath a hipped roof, containing a cottage for a caretaker, with stables behind.
The interior is as plain and functional as the exterior; a reflection of Quaker values. The interior is divided by a wooden screen rising the full height of the building, with shutters in the screen that opens into the meeting room.

Outside the Meeting House is a burial ground, containing a headstone to William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania in America, and his two wives. The headstone is not original, it was erected in 1862 in the approximate location of Penn's original grave site. Nearby is a monument to Thomas Elwood, a friend of John Milton, who found Milton's Cottage in Chalfont St Giles for the poet.

In the days before religious toleration became at least somewhat more normal, dissenters such as Quakers were not allowed to build gathering places, so they met at each others' houses. One such gathering place was Jordans Farm, owned by Thomas Russell. In 1671 Thomas's grandson, William sold a small plot of land to Thomas Elwood to create a burial ground.

In 1687 Charles II proclaimed the Declaration of Indulgence, prohibiting overt persecution of Quakers. Jordans and over 100 other locations immediately applied for permission to build a new meeting house. A 4-acre plot beside the burial ground was purchased in early 1688, and by September the Meeting House was complete and ready to receive worshippers.