Dorchester Quakers Today
A group of about 25 to 30 Quakers attend our regular 10.30 Sunday Meeting for Worship. Our worship is mostly silent and lasts about an hour and ends with thanks from the Clerk. The mid week once a month Meeting lasts for half an hour. There are regular business meetings at which activities are planned and discussed. All members are strongly encouraged to familiarise themselves with Quaker Faith and Practice (currently the red book which can also be accessed online) to inform themselves about the structure and practice of Friends in Britain. The Meeting House has a small well- stocked library and Friends and attenders are encouraged to borrow books to keep learning. Please ask to speak to an Elder of the Meeting if you would like to know more or are considering applying for membership.
We are often known as Friends, our full name being The Religious Society of Friends but most commonly as Quakers (it is a 300 year old nickname that we are happy to use). We believe that each one of us is on our own spiritual journey, we are seekers. We hope to be inspired by our Quaker faith to live better lives in the world. Many Dorchester Quakers get involved in and support campaigns working for Peace, Economic Justice, Equality and Sustainability.
Everyone is welcome.
You don’t need to be a Quaker in membership to attend our Meeting for Worship.
History of Quakers in Dorchester
The first Quaker Meeting House was on the north side of what is now Colliton Street, Dorchester, when that street was known as Pease Lane. It was a cottage, purchased by the Quakers in 1712 for £44.8s.0d and needing some alteration. It had a nearby burial ground where 8 Quakers were buried between 1715 and 1739. The Meeting House was repaired in 1723 and a larger room for meetings created, work that was overseen by William Herbert on behalf of the Quarterly (Regional) Meeting. He was a very diligent Weymouth Quaker.
Numbers must have fallen quite rapidly and Dorchester Meeting closed in 1740 but a small Meeting continued in Charminster. One Quarterly Meeting a year was still held in Dorchester until 1749 but was so poorly attended that it was then moved to Sherborne. Weymouth Meeting struggled on until William Herbert’s death in 1759.
For nearly 200 years there was no Quaker witness in Dorchester and Weymouth until the 1940s, when a small group of Dorchester Quakers began to meet. In 1979 their numbers had grown enough to purchase the present building in Holloway Road, Fordington. It was converted into a Quaker Meeting House, having previously been a busy public house called the Union Arms. The Weymouth Meeting members currently join with Dorchester either in person or on zoom.
To find out more information about Dorchester Quakers email firstname.lastname@example.org or come along on a Sunday morning . For more about Quakers in Britain see the About the Quakers page using the menu above or email www.quaker.org.uk