Bradford Friends Meeting House, Northbrook Road, West Bradford Township, Marshallton, Chester County, PA
1997 Charles E. Peterson Prize, Entry
Significance: Among the oldest extant Friends meeting houses in the Delaware Valley, erected in 1767, Bradford Meeting House's seemingly unconventional design more closely paralleled that of English meeting houses than the emerging American Friends forms. Bradford's design is a melding of English and early colonial-period American meeting house types. Its (original) interior plan was like the typical English meeting house, with a larger apartment and facing bench at one end, partitioned off from a secondary apartment for business meetings. The exterior of Bradford Meeting House, however, resembles the single-celled, three-bay wide, central entry meeting house of the period of early settlement. Bradford is vernacular in design and erected of indigenous rubble stone. The precision stonework and fine galleting, however, are the marks of a highly skilled mason. Bradford Meeting House is also of interest for its peculiar, partitioned rear section. This small section likely was created to enable the building to conform the the size of any meeting thereby facilitating the sense of a close-knit community. The partition could be lower to create a more intimate space for use by the preparative meeting, and raised to accommodate the increased capacity of the monthly meeting. It also may have provided space for committee meetings. Bradford Meeting House is in almost pristine condition. It has received no modern additions or renovations, and is still without central heat, electricity or plumbing.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N430
Survey number: HABS PA-1105
Building/structure dates: 1767 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: ca. 1776 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: ca. 1788 Subsequent Work