Logo   Great Friends Meeting House, Newport
The congregation, founded in 1657, is the oldest of the Society of Friends in the United States.


Newport's Great Friends Meeting House (or Quaker Meetinghouse), at the corner of Marlborough and Farewell Streets (Map of Newport), was built in 1699, but was greatly modified in the early 1700s and again in the early 1800s.

The Society of Friends ("Quakers") grew out of the teachings of George Fox, an English dissenter from the faiths of the day. Fox preached that the "inner light" of divinity was present in all humans, and that a "plain" style of living was the most seemly.

In 1657 the faith arrived from England in Newport, and began to find adherents. Within a few years it had won many converts, and the simple living, pacifism, and honesty in business dealings of its adherents were a major factor in Newport society.

In 1672 a Quaker was elected as governor of Rhode Island, and Quakerism was part of the liberal, tolerant, openness of the Rhode Island colony.

The Newport Yearly Meeting, the Quaker population's most important annual congress, was held in the Great Friends Meeting House, and was the largest Yearly Meeting in the New World up to 1720, when that of Philadelphia exceeded it.

Modified in 1705, 1727, 1809, 1857 and 1867, it fell into disrepair in the mid-20th century, but has now been returned to the appearance it had in the early 1800s. It is owned and maintained by the Newport Historical Society.

Great Friends Meeting House
30 Farewell Street at Marlborough Street
Newport RI 02840
Tel: 401-846-0813

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Great Friends Meetinghouse, Newport RI

Great Friends Meetinghouse, Newport RI.



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