History of Adel Quaker Meeting

Adel-HistoryAdel Meeting House and Burial Ground, 19th century

The land on which Adel Quaker Meeting House now stands was given by Hannah Baker in 1868 for Quaker burials. The first burial took place in the same year. All gravestones in the burial ground conform to the same simple style. The Meeting House was built soon afterwards and used for funerals.

Hannah Baker died in 1871 and is buried in the far corner (top left as you walk along the drive from the Meeting House), just outside the main burial ground.

Old gravestones were brought from Camp Lane Court, and laid face down at the far end of the site. As these became mossy and slippery, they were covered with tarmac in the area which is now a car park (at the far end and to the right of the drive).

You might also see the grave of Godfrey Wicksteed, who learned his marine skills on sailing ships as a conscientious objector in the first world war. He became a master mariner, and was first mate on the replica voyage of the Mayflower in 1970, which commemorated the voyage of the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620. In 1930, meeting for worship was held at the Meeting House once a month. By 1938 permission was given to a small group of Quakers to start a weekly meeting on Sunday mornings. By 1940 there was an independent preparative meeting at Adel (a meeting which can hold its own business meetings, and is more or less self‑regulating). The first Sunday school was also established in 1940.

After the second world war, the Friends Extension Committee gave £738 towards the building of the Community Centre, which was officially opened in December 1947.

In 1964 a rose bed (in the lawn behind the meeting house) was created as a memorial bed for the scattering of ashes. The roses have now been replaced by small shrubs. In 1983 two seats were placed near the memorial bed in loving memory of three Adel friends. A resident warden, Marian Wilbye, with help from her family, created a wonderful cottage garden during her 22 years' service to the meeting.

Among the gravestones you may notice the names of Jean Philippe and Lucile lnebnit, originally from Switzerland. Jean lnebnit, inspired by the constructive peacemaking of Pierre Ceresole and the Service Civil International, developed a British branch of the movement called the International Voluntary Service for Peace (IVSP), which organised work camps to promote peace and reconciliation, and after the second world war undertook relief work in Germany. The organisation is still active today as the International Voluntary Service (IVS). There are two war graves in the Burial Ground. Allan Cox died on 13th of the 6th month 1915 aged 17 years (grave no. 312, row VII) and Haydn Derek Ryder died on 11th of the 11th month 1943 aged 21 years (grave no. 475, row X). These graves are liable to inspection by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission every four or five years. The stones are to be kept in good order and to remain in situ for all time and the grass around them to be neatly cut.

The names of all those buried were recorded in a large book (now in the Brotherton Library Archives), as well as on the gravestones, and a plan of the site was drawn up. The book is still in use. The plan became too frail for handling and is now also held in the Archives in the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds.

All names have been recorded by Trevor Briggs on the genuki genealogy website Adel Friends Burial Ground