Picturesque traditional meeting house, with no attached burial ground.

Architectural interest

The building, listed Grade II and within Wallingford Conservation Area, lies in the garden of 13 Castle Street, to the east of the Saxon town.  It is built in a traditional meeting house style in brick with a flint plinth and a hipped roof.  In 1964, 1983 and 1999 renovations to the building were carried out and in 2016 the garden and courtyard were redesigned.

Historical development

Land was acquired in 1722 and the Meeting House constructed in 1724. Meetings were discontinued in 1852 and a move to demolish the building was proposed. Fortunately it was rescued by a Quaker banker from Banbury.  Subsequently it was used, first by the Plymouth Brethren, then in 1916 as a Temperance Hall. In 1924 the Quaker meeting recommenced and has continued to the present day. The building was restored at this time, but remained largely unaltered. One member of the group was Dorothy Glazier, who with her husband started The Woodcraft Group at Braziers Park.

Context and Setting

Wallingford Meeting House is not visible from the road because it is in the garden of No 13 Castle Street (a Victorian cottage). In order to access the building you need to pass through two sets of double doors , one at each end of the passage running alongside the cottage and then cross a courtyard. The position acted to safeguard the Quakers from hostility ‘although the keyless back door served as an emergency exit’ (Callow 2019). The plot is orientated east to west with the front of the meeting house facing east. The garden is c 300 m2 and is on sandy soil (Northmoor Sand and Gravel Member, BGS). The garden is bounded by brick walls on the north, south and west edges.  All the walls are laid in Flemish bond, with a semi-circular brick coping on the north wall and flat bricks on the south wall. The garden now contains two garden buildings built within the last 15-20 years.

The Garden

There are two garden areas to this Meeting House.  The first, a courtyard garden in front of the meeting house and the second, lawn and shrubs, at the rear of the meeting house which also contains various temporary buildings.

The courtyard has beds set around a gravel and paving stone floor, with a bench alongside the north wall, surrounded by the bedding and a table and chairs on the paving in the courtyard. The border at the base of the rear of the caretaker’s cottage has a large variegated Eunonymus trained up the wall, with lavender, rose and stinking iris underneath.  In the semi-circular bed at the east end of the north bed are two wall  trained roses one pink and one yellow, with a pittosporum, lemon balm, Nepeta, hebe and mahonia beneath. The bench is nestled between a fern and some lemon balm. Against the east front of the meeting house and the north brick wall are three pittosporum, a Sarcococca and some lilies.  The border against the south wall has a large climbing hydrangea, a smooth hydrangea, a rose, lily of the valley, euphorbia, fern and Heuchera.

The front door of the meeting house is framed by potted acers each side and a rhododendron. Access to the rear garden is either directly through the meeting house and up a small slope to the lawn or via a passageway along the south wall. This garden is approximately half grass with a stepping stone path leading to the out-buildings, one of which was built as a children’s room and the other has been used by Waterside Therapy for many years. There are further sheds at the rear of the garden for storage purposes.  A small metal table with three chairs sits on the lawn close to the rear of the meeting house.

Two borders flank the rear exit of the meeting house and they are filled with shrubs and self sown annuals and perennials. On the south side, in a near circular bed is a large deutzia and in the long border along the north wall is an olive tree, Syringa and a fig.  A rampant climbing yellow rose dominates the middle of the border and is surrounded by pyracantha and a large viburnum tree.  

On the opposite side of the garden against the south wall is a well established Garrya, variegated dogwood and a full grown hazel. Framing the ‘children’s room’ outbuilding is a spindle bush and Forthsythia. To the south side of the ‘therapy’ building is a well grown honeysuckle, which has climbed a holly tree.

Unusually there is no attached burial ground although the Meeting was guardian to six 19th century headstones relocated from Warborough, when that Meeting house was pulled down, but these were returned in the 1990s.  However Butler (1995) does note that the garden was referred to as a burial ground in 1903.  The garden does have two modern memorials – the bench, pictured on the left and a modest name plaque in one of the borders. Callow (2019) records that a John Phelps who lived in the cottage in the 1920s grew vegetables and used the Meeting House for storage and sales. 

Plans have been submitted for approval to the Council, at the time of recording, to remove the temporary buildings in the rear garden, build an extension with kitchen, toilets and a meeting room and to subdivide the plot to create independent dwelling for No 13.

At present the two gardens are very different in character and feel – the courtyard open, modern and bright, with the rear garden feeling more secluded, private and calm.


Wallingford Friends Meeting House, 13 Castle Street, Wallingford, OX10 8DL

District Council

South Oxfordshire

Grid Ref

SU 60703 89624

Sources of Information

Butler, D. M. The Quaker Meeting House of Britain, 1995. Kendal: Quaker Tapestry Scheme


British Geological Survey https://geologyviewer.bgs.ac.uk/?_ga=2.134414257.1335489539.1717793864-525716388.1717793864

(Accessed June 2024)

Historic England (1988) Wallingford Quaker Meeting House with Attached Burial Ground Wall

List Entry Number: 1059622 [Online]. Available at: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1059622 (Accessed January 2024)

Heritage Quakers (2016) Friends Meeting House,Wallingford [Online]. Available at: 

https://heritage.quaker.org.uk/files/Wallingford LM.pdf (Accessed January 2024)

Callow, M. (2019) Quakers in Wallingford from 18th Century to the present day [Online]. Available at  https://midthamesquakers.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/Quakers-in-Wallingford-history.pdf (accessed January 2004)

Exploring Braziers Park, Annabella Pollen researcher at the University of Brighton  . . . . https://www.braziers.org.uk/2016/04/28/exploring-the-braziers-park-archive/


Many thanks to the Friends of Wallingford Meeting House for their welcome and their help in answering questions and queries.

South Oxfordshire Gardens