There has been a plot of land with the Meeting House at 39 High Street since the earliest days of Quakerism. Originally a burial ground – some three hundred Friends are buried there – it is now a garden enjoyed for its peace and tranquillity by Friends and the wider community. Some years ago it was felt that the garden had become uncared for and was refurbished to make it more accessible, enjoyable for children, and easier to use by those visiting the community café. Also to make its history more available for visitors.
Thanks to grants from The Henry VIII Endowed Trust and others they have been able to make the garden accessible by wheel chair from Castle Lane, with a new path replacing the old one. Apart from providing greater access to the garden this makes it easier for wheel chair users to use the quiet Castle Lane for parking or being dropped off, a much more difficult process on the narrow and busy High Street at the front of the property.
They have a children’s meeting and have installed a playhouse and a raised bed which will provide fun and enjoyment for them without spoiling the tranquil nature of the garden.
The Quaker community café is much used and enjoyed by visitors and members of the local community. They have been able to extend this facility by providing a pergola at the top of the garden, enabling café users and others to enjoy their refreshment in greater comfort.
They have also installed an arbour in a shaded part of the garden and this provides a place for contemplation or quiet conversation.
The garden is open to the public from 8am to 8pm or sunset on Monday to Saturday and, with suitable signage, they have been able to make this more obvious to passers-by. There will also be suitable signs to explain the historical nature of the site. The two remaining head stones have been repositioned so that they too can tell their story.
A grant of £3,000 was awarded by The King Henry VIII Endowed Trust, Warwick.