Chichester Friends Meeting House, 611 Meetinghouse Road, Boothwyn, Delaware County, PA
Significance: Chichester Meeting House is a well-preserved and unusual example of eighteenth-century Quaker meeting-house architecture in the Delaware Valley. Erected between 1769 and 1771, the building follows a plan with few contemporary counterparts. Most extant American meeting-house designs of the period place the main entrance(s) and elevated seating area known as the facing bench on the long walls. At Chichester, both features are located in the gable ends. Again rejecting convention, Chichester's designers partitioned the building in such a way as to exclude the facing bench from one of the two meeting rooms. This layout may reflect the influence of local domestic architecture. It may as easily represent an interpretation of English meeting-house design or testify to the relative status of Chichester's men's and women's meetings for business. In any case, the building's configuration deserves further study. Chichester Meeting House also exhibits distinctive features of a smaller scale. These include: a decorative water table that highlights corners and doors, a corner fireplace, an early iron stove, and a secondary, waist-high partition door. Outside, a combined barn and horse shed is an interesting variant of once-common amenity on Delaware Valley meeting-house sites. The land on which these buildings stand has belonged to Friends for over three centuries. For two hundred and forty years, Chichester Meeting House has accommodated their religious worship.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N819
Survey number: HABS PA-6225
Building/structure dates: 1769- 1771 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1861 Subsequent Work