Conanicut Friends Meeting

The Conanicut Friends Meeting was established by the Newport Quaker Monthly Meeting in 1684.  The original meetinghouse was considerably north of the present meetinghouse, which lies 100 yards south of the windmill on Windmill Hill. The current meetinghouse is a simple rectangular building, built at the same time as the windmill in 1787 and shingled in a manner similar to the larger structure. 
 
At the begining of the 19th century, the Quaker community in Jamestown became too small to sustain the meeting and the building fell into disuse.  Around 1910, a number of Philadelphia Quakers, who came to Jamestown for the summer, reopened the meetinghouse.  Since that time it has been open for Sunday worship every summer.

Preservation as an Historic Building

The meetinghouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and in 1976-1977, with matching funds from the Rhode Island Preservation Society, the Conanicut Meeting repaired the building.  Further restoration was completed in 1997 with a grant from the Champlin Foundations. In September that year, title to the meetinghouse was transferred to the Jamestown Historical Society, with the provision that the meetinghouse would be open to the Conanicut Meeting for worship during the summers.

Open

The meetinghouse is open on Sunday mornings at 10:30 from May to October for Quaker worship and by appointment at any other time for tours.  Feel free to walk the grounds unless a meeting for worship is in session. 
 
For a tour of the interior, please contact the Jamestown Historical Society.
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Browse through time

  • 1786
  • 1910
  • 1972
  • 1997
New Meetinghouse for the Conanicut Friends
The Monthly Meeting in Newport agrees that a new Quaker meetinghouse is needed since the old one has been destroyed during the British occupation.  The Conanicut Friends promise to raise the money for material and to do the labor themselves.  The building is built the following year.
Philadelphia Quakers Revive the Conanicut Meeting
Quaker membership drops sharply in the 19th century.   Early in the new century, Philadelphia Quakers who come to Jamestown for the summer reopen the meetinghouse.  It is open for Sunday worship every summer since.
Meetinghouse Placed on the National Register of Historic Places
JHS Takes Responsibility for the Historic Building
Title to the meetinghouse is transferred to the Jamestown Historical Society.   The society agrees that the meetinghouse will be open to the Conanicut Meeting for worship.