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Rancocas Friends Meeting

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The Rancocas Friends Meeting began with Quaker settlers who sailed on the Kent from England in 1677. The first settlers landed in Burlington. They built homes and established the Friends burying grounds in the area north of the Rancocas river in 1680. The earliest burial recorded was in 1687.

The current Meetinghouse was built in 1772. Dr. Daniel Wills, a Quaker pioneer, was instrumental in establishing Rancocas Monthly Meeting. In 1681, the first Meeting For Worship was held in the home of Thomas Harding. This home was located on the banks of the Rancocas, approximately a half mile west of the burying grounds. The holdings of Meetings in Quaker homes continued until 1703 when the first meeting house was built at the north end of the burying grounds. Traditionally this building was of log construction (see model above). It had a hard clay floor and a single window with four panes of bull's eye glass. Foot stoves or warm bricks or stones were brought in the winter by each family. Services were held there until 1772 when the present meeting house in the Village of Rancocas was built. Meetings for Worship have been held continuously by the Rancocas Friends since the erection of the first meeting house.


The Hicksite Quakers, the "liberal" party of the Quakers, was headed by Elias Hicks. The Hicksite Quakers, because of a change of views, seceded from the conservative or orthodox portion of the Society of Friends in the United States, in 1827. The Meetinghouse was split in two so that both groups could meet.

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