Saturday, 11 July 2009


Quaker meeting house, JordansLast week I was talking with someone about a town in Poland, which he described as "very nice, but there's no reason for anyone to visit". He left me curious to go and have a look.

In a slightly different vein, we live about 12 miles away from Jordans, which is well known for the 17th century Quaker meeting house. Before it was built meetings were held in Jordans farm. In 1687 the "Declaration of Indulgence" allowed the friends to build a meeting house, and the building we see today was erected in six weeks.

By 1915 there was a fear that surrounding land would be sold to a speculative builder, and to preserve the Quaker heritage, a Village Estate was established at Jordans to support a community of craftsmen based on Christian principles.

Jordans Village Industries laid out the village in 1919, and began building using its own industries to produce the materials, but in 1923 it was forced to go into liquidation. The community never achieved the scale of the original plans, but development has continued and Jordans Village Ltd now owns and rents out some of the flats, cottages, and houses. Other property in the village is privately owned, but contributes to communal amenities.

The village was only partially mapped on OSM, and I was curious to take a look at a 20th century village that was created to preserve 17th century heritage.

Pevsner seems to like the place, though he comments that the architect preferred style over convenience. As best as I could tell by riding around it seems very pleasant indeed.

The Meeting house is an important historical building, and well worth a visit for that. There's no real reason to go and see the village, though - and I suspect that it's all the better as a result.

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