Friends have been continuously meeting for worship in Shrewsbury since 1665 when a group of Friends came from Rhode Island and Long Island to establish a settlement at Shrewsbury. Shrewsbury Meeting was New Jersey's first Friends Meeting and is New Jersey's oldest rural religious congregation. The early meetings for worship took place in the homes of members. The first meetinghouse was built in 1672 and was visited that same year by George Fox, the founder of Quakerism. It was a single room wood structure located about a mile east of the current meetinghouse in what is now Little Silver.
Friends have built two meetinghouses on the current property, purchased from John Lippincott in 1689. The current meetinghouse was constructed in 1816. It is of wood timber frame construction. The walls are filled with brick, mostly likely salvaged from its burned out predecessor. The meetinghouse is of the two-cell form, affording women and men equal space for their meetings for business. The movable panels of the wall separating the two sections were closed for meetings for business and left open for worship and other functions. This was the classic Quaker meetinghouse design established in 1768 at Buckingham Meetinghouse, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
In 1940, the Historic American Building Survey (HABS) did a comprehensive engineering and architectural study of Shrewsbury Meetinghouse and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Library of Congress has scanned images of the study in their "Built in America" collection under the title "Friends Meetinghouse, Sycamore Avenue, Shrewsbury, Monmouth County, NJ". We have scaled down copies of a few of the images in pictures.
Shrewsbury Meetinghouse remains essentially original except for the roof and the interior of the east room that was severely damaged by a 1968 fire. The room was remodeled to provide a fellowship hall, kitchen and restrooms.
Submitted by Alan on