Christian Army and the Society of Friends (Quakers)

Bricked up door of the meeting house as it is now
You can clearly see where the door used to be

Opposite the Methodist Chapel is a pitched roof building which was the Bank Street Christian Army Meeting House. In the late 1800’s the building had a single up stairs window and a door o the ground floor. If you look carefully you will see where the door used to be, between two ground floor windows which have been added at a later date. It was in the upper rooms the Christian Army held their meetings and Sunday school.
I can find no record of the Christian Army as an organisation but in Emily Wardman’s ‘Wetherby – Its People & Customs’ published in 1938 there is a picture of the Christian Army Meeting House, in Back Street, which is now known as Bank Street. She says ‘very little is known about this community’, and she was told about it by a friend in the town who remembers going to Sunday School in that building 50 years previously.

Also in Wetherby and District Historical Society – Pocket Images of Wetherby, there is a photograph dated 1916 titled “The Christian Army Meeting House in Bank Street”

The picture below is clearly post 1948 but gives a good indication of the original building.

Old picture showing the door as it was

The Society of Friends (Quaker) In George Stead’s ‘Whatever the Wetherby’, he tells us that the building was used as the Friends Meeting House when the Quakers held meetings there in 1689 alongside those in Tadcaster and Tockwith. Meetings were held regularly in the ground floor room, which had a platform, no longer in existence.
In the 1600’s a young man named George Fox was dissatisfied with the teachings of the Church of England and non-conformists. He rethought methods of worship and beliefs saying every one had a direct relationship with God and did not need Priests and a hierarchy to intercede for them. He travelled around England, preaching and teaching with the aim of converting new adherents to his faith. The central theme of his Gospel message was that God was in every one and they believed in Peace and Justice. In 1650, Fox was brought before the magistrates Gervase Bennet and Nathaniel Barton, on a charge of religious blasphemy. According to George Fox’s autobiography, Bennet “was the first that called us Quakers, because I bade them tremble at the word of the Lord”. The term Quakers stuck.

Thank you to Michael Hare for providing this information

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