ROOKHOW 

QUAKER MEETING HOUSE, BUNKBARN & WOODLAND

ABOUT ROOKHOW

Rookhow is a registered Quaker charity. The charity's objects are to further the general religious and charitable purposes of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain. For us this means continuing to maintain and restore Rookhow as a place for Quakers to meet and worship, as well as opening it as a wonderful venue for the public benefit. By staying here you'll be helping to contribute to that vision.


Rookhow is managed by a group of trustees, mainly Quakers, and employs a part-time Development Manager, a cleaner and a Finance Officer.


Rookhow was built in 1725 for the 'scattered communities of the Society of Friends'. As well as being a meeting place for Quakers over the last 300 years, its Bunkbarn (converted from the original stables) provides simple and affordable accommodation for groups. You don't have to be a Quaker to stay here: it's for everyone!


Rookhow Bunkbarn was the first ever member of the Independent Hostels Association when it opened over 30 years ago.


Rookhow comprises 3 buildings: BUNKBARN (former stables), QUAKER MEETING HOUSE (big white house) & GIG BARN (outside undercover seating area). The simple yurt in the woods is available for hire with the bunkbarn (no separate bookings).


"I love Rookhow. There are no phones and there's a big wood, yummy food and nice people. There is tarpaulin where you can make dens. I love the big meeting house, I just like its bigness." (L, aged 10)


"The Meeting House is just a wonderful place and the attached woodland is simply magical. Overall a special environment which feels very much part of our Quaker roots and a perfect place for families with children and young people." (Friend from Wales)


"Its simple provision reminds us how little we need of material and technological embellishments to our lives. And how a deep, connection with our natural world can be more deeply achieved with much, much less." (Bunkbarn guest)


OPEN TO ALL

History

Rookhow is a Grade II* listed site, historically significant as an early Quaker Meeting House, with 1725 spice cupboard, 'plank and muntin' wooden paneling, stone floors, huge doorways and a key the size of a trowel! It was built for Quakers from surrounding local meetings to gather for business and worship. Quakerism was still in its infancy, but numbers were growing and they needed somewhere larger to meet together. 

Land was purchased and Rookhow and its accommodation was built with a Meeting Room large enough to hold 150 people. Quakers would arrive to Rookhow on horseback or in gigs, the gig barn now being used as an outdoor covered seating area.

Current work

Rookhow Quaker Meeting House is currently undergoing renovation work but part of it is still open for use. We've engaged a local conservation builder Stephen Grindrod from Roots of Nature Building to renovate and insulate the Meeting House stone floor, install an air source heat pump (with Dalliam Heating), add hemp loft insulation and make the Meeting House more accessible with a wider side entrance and accessible toilet and shower. This has been made possible by grants for local and national trusts, including Lakeland Disability Support and the Lake District Foundation's Low Carbon scheme and by individual donations. 

Listed building consent and planning permission has been granted by the Lake District National Park for this work and a bat license by Natural England.

In the longer term we aim to convert the upstairs to either further self-catering accommodation or a long term let.

WHO AND WHAT ARE QUAKERS?

Quakers are a worldwide community of people who believe that everyone can have a deep and direct experience of God/ the Light/ Spirit. There are many forms of Quakerism and many diverse people find a home amongst Quakers.  


Quakers gather together in deep silence as a community to listen to the ‘still small voice’ within each of us. Sometimes from the deep silence, someone may feel moved to speak. We call this Meeting for Worship.


Our experience of the Spirit leads us to value truth and integrity at the core of our lives. This in turn moves us to strive for a life of simplicity and sustainability, equality and working for peace in ourselves and the world.


Quakers don’t have creeds or statements of belief. Rather we try to live our values in the everyday. For example from the starting point that all people are equal, we work hard against racism, exploitation and modern day slavery. It was our commitment to equality that led us to be one of the first religious groups in the world, to recognise the needs of the LGBT community to celebrate a marriage in a spiritual setting.


Quakerism is a way of life. We are quietly radical.


Rookhow is a special place, a place of worship and of peace. We ask guests and visitors to respect this space.




QUAKER MEETINGS

Quakers have been gathering to worship at Rookhow for the last 300 years and it is still used as an active place of worship once a month.


A short Quaker Meeting for Worship is held on the 1st Wednesday of every month at 7.30pm and also on Good Friday at 11am. In 2019 there were 80 Quakers from the surrounding area and beyond at the Good Friday Meeting. Everyone is welcome to attend.


We're also holding a weekly Zoom Epilogue with a reading or poem and a short period of reflection on Monday evenings at 9pm. All welcome (see meet-with-us page)


Weekends for local Quaker families are held at Rookhow each March, June and November. These include people from the 3 local Area Meetings: Swarthmoor, Kendal & Sedbergh and Lancashire Central & North. 


All 3 local Area Quaker Meetings are involved in the management and support of Rookhow, which is seen as a meeting place for Quakers of all ages as well as an opportunity to share our valuable resource with the whole community. 


Charitable support

Rookhow is grateful to the following grant making trusts for supporting Rookhow's development:


Hadfield Trust Dulverton Trust Fund (through Cumbria Community Foundation) and Frieda Scott Trust for contributing to the restoration of the Friends Community Room and kitchen 


Sawell Family Fund (national Quaker charity) for measured drawings and surveys & The BYM Meeting Houses Fund for initial restoration work.


Colton Parish Council for funding the commissioning of a new wooden carved sign for Rookhow by 2 local young woodcrafters, Kez and Jack.


Rusland Valley Community Trust for contributing to paying for our bat survey.


The Inlight Trust for initial funding towards the bat survey, French drain and for our ongoing development work. 


Cumbria Community Foundation (CCF) Covid-19 Response Fund for our weekly online Zoom cafe.


Eric Wright Charitable Trust & Crofton Trust (through CCF) which has just donated some money towards the renovation of our yurt and composting toilet. 


Roselands Trust Fund (through CCF) for a grant towards making the Meeting House accessible to community groups. 


Historic England Emergency Heritage at Risk Covid response fund for renovations to the Meeting House floor and chimney rebuild.


Southall Trust for a contribution to accessibility and outdoor provision. 


All Churches TrustLakeland Disability Support and Beatrice Laing Trust for our plans to install an accessible toilet and ambulant shower in the Meeting House and make the entrance and access in the building more accessible.  


Lake District Foundation and Baywind Energy Community Trust for the hemp loft insulation and air source heat pump.