What to See in England
By Gordon Home

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Public Domain Books

Penn’s Chapel At Thakeham, Sussex

=How to get there.=–Train from Victoria or London Bridge. L.B. and S.C. Railway. =Nearest Station.=–Billingshurst (3 miles from Thakeham). =Distance from London.=–44 miles. =Average Time.=–1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours.

                     1st      2nd      3rd
=Fares.=–Single   7s. 2d.  4s. 8d.  3s. 6-1/2d.
          Return  11s. 5d.  8s. 2d.  7s. 1d.

=Accommodation Obtainable.=–None at Thakeham. “King’s Arms" at Billingshurst.

The little chapel where the great William Penn used to worship when he lived at the old mansion of Warminghurst is so entirely buried in the country that one must make careful inquiries in order to find one’s way to it from Billingshurst. When one reaches the cottage at last, one finds a gate right across the road, for beyond it the lane gradually deteriorates to a mere grassy track between hedges. Locally this Thakeham meeting-house is known as the “Blue Idol,” a name not altogether explained when one discovers that for a long period the interior of the chapel had blue-washed walls.

As one may see from the drawing given here, it is an exceedingly quaint old building, the portion shown being used as a meeting-house, the other half being a cottage occupied by the family who act as caretakers. The cream-washed walls are broken up by the richly mellowed half-timber work, and above is the roof of grey green Horsham slabs splashed over with bright orange lichen.

Inside there are the very old oaken settles as well as less ancient ones. The timber framing shows on the walls and roof, here, as on the exterior, and the general quaintness of the place is enhanced by the old stone-flagged floor. Of William Penn’s house at Warminghurst no traces whatever remain, but this only helps to increase the interest in the little chapel which has remained entirely unaltered for over two centuries. Penn, who bought the house in 1682, probably chose its site on account of its remoteness, for those were the days when their meetings were at any moment liable to interruption–when the members of the congregation met together knowing well that discovery meant imprisonment. In the quaint little meeting-house it is easy to feel the spirit of the Quakers, and one may almost imagine that one hears outside the rumble of the wheels of the heavy ox-waggon in which Penn drove over from Warminghurst Place.


Where William Penn used to worship.]


Preface  •  Ham House and Petersham  •  Walton-On-Thames (scold’s Bridle)  •  Harrow  •  Holwood House, Keston  •  Chigwell, Essex  •  Waltham Abbey and Cross  •  Downe  •  Epsom: Its Races and Its Salts  •  Epping Forest  •  Hampton Court  •  Rye House, Broxbourne  •  Hatfield House, Herts  •  Runnymead, the Signing of Magna Charta  •  The Oldest Brass in England  •  St. Albans  •  Stoke Poges Church, Bucks  •  Windsor  •  Jordans and William Penn  •  Knole House and Sevenoaks  •  Greenstead Church  •  Chalfont St. Giles  •  Westerham  •  Guildford, Surrey  •  Gad’s Hill  •  Ightham Mote, Kent  •  Penshurst  •  St. Michael’s Mount and Marazion  •  Rochester Cathedral  •  Tunbridge Wells  •  The Quintain Post At Offham and Malling Abbey  •  Eversley  •  Farnham, Surrey  •  Hindhead, Surrey  •  Shottermill  •  Penn’s Chapel At Thakeham, Sussex  •  Chawton the Home of Jane Austen  •  Selborne  •  Elstow  •  Lewes, Sussex  •  Bodiam Castle, Sussex  •  Colchester, Essex  •  Layer Marney  •  Battle Abbey  •  Cambridge  •  Arundel Castle  •  Olney, Bucks  •  Wantage and the Country of Alfred the Great  •  Canterbury and Its Cathedral  •  Reculvers  •  Oxford  •  Midhurst  •  Pevensey Castle  •  Savernake Forest  •  Ely Cathedral  •  St. Ives, Huntingdonshire  •  Winchelsea and Rye  •  Blenheim Palace  •  Peterborough Cathedral and Crowland  •  Peterborough  •  Southampton  •  Helmingham Hall  •  Stonehenge, Wiltshire  •  Netley Abbey  •  Salisbury and Its Cathedral  •  Sandwich, Kent  •  New Forest, Hampshire  •  Osborne House  •  Carisbrooke Castle  •  Lutterworth  •  Compton Wynyates  •  Kenilworth Castle  •  Belvoir Castle  •  Bath  •  Boston and the Pilgrim Fathers  •  Warwick  •  Gloucester and Its Cathedral  •  Norfolk Broads  •  Norwich Cathedral  •  Lichfield  •  Sherborne and Its Abbey Church  •  Newark  •  Wells and Its Cathedral  •  Stratford-On-Avon  •  Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk  •  Lulworth Cove, Dorsetshire  •  Corfe Castle  •  Lincoln and Its Cathedral  •  Somerset, the Birthplace of Tennyson  •  Glastonbury Abbey  •  Walsingham, Norfolk  •  Cheddar Caves, Cheddar, Somerset  •  Newstead Abbey  •  The Wessex of Thomas Hardy’s Romances  •  Tintern Abbey  •  Chesterfield, Derbyshire  •  Dukeries  •  Haddon Hall, Derbyshire  •  The Isle of Athelney, and Sedgemoor  •  Raglan Castle  •  Dovedale  •  Wellington and the Wrekin, Shropshire  •  Wroxeter and the Roman City of Uriconium, Salop  •  Buildwas Abbey, Shropshire  •  Ludlow and Its Castle  •  Shrewsbury  •  Buxton and the Peak District  •  Tewkesbury  •  Exeter and Its Cathedral  •  Market Drayton, Salop  •  Chester  •  Exmoor  •  Knutsford  •  Torr Steps On the Barle, Somerset  •  Cleeve Abbey, Somerset  •  Hawarden  •  York Minster  •  Coxwold, Yorkshire  •  Llangollen and Valle Crucis Abbey  •  Knaresborough, Dripping Well  •  Fountains Abbey  •  Ripon Cathedral  •  Dartmoor  •  Haworth  •  Rievaulx Abbey  •  Brixham, Devon  •  Conway Castle  •  The Doone Valley, Exmoor  •  Llandovery, South Wales  •  Dartmouth, Devon  •  Richmond, Yorkshire  •  Tintagel  •  Whitby  •  Carnarvon Castle  •  Plymouth  •  Durham and Its Cathedral  •  Raby Castle, Durham  •  Snowdon  •  Harlech Castle  •  Grasmere and Rydal Mount  •  The Lake District  •  St. Davids Cathedral  •  Furness Abbey, Lancashire  •  Monkwearmouth, Near Jarrow  •  The Isle of Man  •  Brantwood  •  Fowey  •  Hexham and Hadrian’s Wall  •  The Lake District  •  Keswick  •  Alnwick Castle  •  Lanercost Priory, Cumberland  •  Lanercost Priory and Stepping-Stones.]  •  St. Ives, Cornwall  •  Bamborough Castle, Northumberland

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What to see in England;: A guide to places of historic interest, natural beauty or literary association,
By Gordon Home
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