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East Sandwich Preparative Meeting

Sandwich meetinghouse on Spring Hill in East Sandwich is home of the oldest Quaker meeting in America. It was gathered here on 13 April, 1657. This was the site of some of the first Quarterly meetings in America, in 1680. Because of the hundreds of Friends who came to these, we built a "Great Meetinghouse". The present great meetinghouse is two and a half stories high, a very plain shingled building.

Originally the hall seated several hundred worshipers on the ground floor and balconies, now closed. Today, worship is held in about a quarter of the original space, separated by the huge wooden partitions that are moved by a huge winch.

A look into the left half of the building, that is used for meeting with its wood stove.

This meetinghouse was prefabricated on the Kennebec River in Maine, a big Quaker outpost, in 1810, and shipped into Cape Cod Bay, unloaded in the creek north of the site on Spring Hill, and reassembled at the top of the hill according to the matching numbers on the timbers.

Parts of the original carriage sheds remain on either side of the meetinghouse. Two ancient burial grounds contain the unmarked remains of the founders of the meeting in 1657. The oldest stone behind the meeting is Rose Jennings, dated 1720, probably too fancy for Quakers of the time.

The original privies behind the meeting were the only toilets until 1992 when the new community house was connected to water supply. Previously all water came from a generous perennial spring southwest of the meetinghouse.

The building was the center of a wider Quaker village, which included a popular Quaker school, and the ancient seventeenth homesteads of the Quaker pioneers of the Wing and Hoxie families, which are open to the public in the summer.

Historic Facts

View Kathleen Wooten slide show of pictures of our Meeting

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