Gwynedd Friends Meeting History

Land Acknowledgement 

“The land upon which we gather is part of the traditional territory of the Lenni- Lenape, called “Lenapehoking.” The Lenape People lived in harmony with one another upon this territory for thousands of years. During the colonial era and early federal period, many were removed west and north, but some also remain... We acknowledge the Lenni-Lenape as the original people of this land and their continuing relationship with their territory. In our acknowledgment of the continued presence of Lenape people in their homeland, we affirm the aspiration of the great Lenape Chief Tamanend, that there be harmony between the indigenous people of this land and the descendants of the immigrants to this land, “as long as the rivers and creeks flow, and the sun, moon, and stars shine.”
From the Nanticoke LennI-Lenape Tribal Nation 

Click here for more about the history of the Lenape peoples in SE Pennsylvania.

Gwynedd Friends History

Gwynedd Meeting was founded in 1699 by Friends who came from Wales the previous year. Meetings for Worship were held in settlers’ homes until a log meetinghouse was built in 1700. A second and more permanent building of stone was completed in 1712. The present meetinghouse was built in 1823. A community room and facilities for First Day (Sunday) School and kitchen were built in 1902 and expanded in 1948. In the late 1990s a large renovation and expansion project provided our community— which includes our active preschool—with ample room for work and play. The existing schoolhouse across the parking lot was built in 1857 and presently houses our kindergarten.

In 1967 the continuing care community of Foulkeways at Gwynedd was built on property left to Gwynedd Meeting in an earlier bequest. Many residents of Foulkeways have since become valued participants in the Meeting community.

Historical Chronology

  • 1698 Company from Northern Wales settles Gwynedd with approximately 100 persons, in November.
  • 1699 Meetings at Gwynedd approved by Philadelphia Monthly Meeting to be joined with Haverford Monthly Meeting as “said people understood not ye English tongue.”
  • 1700 Meeting House built. Only place for Public Worship in Township in 75 years.
  • 1700 or 1701 William Penn visited Gwynedd. Perhaps daughter Letitia accompanied him.
  • 1711 Marriage of John Hanks (ancestor of Abraham Lincoln’s mother) and Sarah Evans.
  • 1712 2nd Meeting House built on same location.
  • 1714 Date of oldest marked gravestone in graveyard.
  • 1714 Gwynedd Monthly Meeting established with Gwynedd and Plymouth Meetings as Preparative Meetings by permission of Radnor Monthly Meeting at Haverford.
  • 1720 Marriage of Squire Boone and Sarah Morgan. 6th child was Daniel Boone.
  • 1721 School listed. 1729 – Marmaduke Pardo Schoolmaster. 1778 – Committee of Education appointed. 1793 – School mentioned in Meeting House.
  • 1777-1778 American Army used Meeting House as a Hospital
  • 1786 Gwynedd Monthly Meeting joins Abington Quarterly Meeting with Abington, Horsham, and Richland Monthly Meetings.
  • 1821 Large carriage sheds (42 carriages and 9 horses) erected. Pipe fence for tying of horses erected later. Sheds, except few for play purposes, torn down in 1947.
  • 1823 3rd (and present) Meeting House built on same location.
  • 1827 Separation within Philadelphia Yearly Meeting; 20 adults and 23 children withdrew from Gwynedd Meeting and set up Orthodox Meeting on Penllyn Pike. Walled graveyard, 15 graves adjoin grounds.
  • 1844-1845 House for Caretaker of Meeting and School built on Meeting grounds.
  • 1857 School House built
  • 1875 Union Lyceum organized. Other Community groups sponsored by Gwynedd Meeting: 1915 – Friends Social Union; 1927 – Gwynedd Association; 1939 – Community Lectures.
  • 1885 First Day School Committee of Gwynedd Monthly Meeting appointed with members from Gwynedd, Plymouth and Norristown Preparative Meetings.
  • 1892 First Joint Session of men and women’s Business Meetings at Gwynedd
  • 1898 Descendants of Edward and Eleanor Foulke, immigrants in 1698, assemble at Gwynedd.
  • 1903 School Building of 1857 sold. Proceeds build frame addition to Meeting House as lunch room for Quarterly Meeting and as classroom for school children.
  • 1914 Post Office moved from Walter H. Jenkins’ home to small building erected for the purpose on Meeting grounds near the Caretaker’s house.
  • 1926 Meeting membership is 123.
  • 1927 Gwynedd Friends School discontinued because of cost of operation
  • 1936 Gwynedd Monthly Meeting reorganized from three Preparative Meetings into three Monthly Meetings: Gwynedd, Norristown, and Plymouth
  • 1940 Meeting membership is 159.
  • 1943 Gwynedd Kindergarten organized
  • 1945 Bequest of Dr. Antrim Foulke farm (part of Cadwallader Evans tract) to Gwynedd Meeting by Charles O. Beaumont in accordance with wishes of his wife, May Foulke Beaumont, granddaughter of Dr. Antrim Foulke
  • 1946 Meeting membership is 194.
  • 1947 New driveway and parking lot built
  • 1948 Addition built to Meeting House; 1903 frame building remodeled
  • 1949 250th anniversary; hemlock tree planted
  • 1951 Meeting membership is 310.
  • 1955 Post Office Building is moved across the road; in 1967 a new post office is erected.
  • 1962 Meeting membership is 449 (highpoint)
  • 1964 Gwynedd Monthly Meeting directs Trustees to lease for 99 years the Beaumont farm (Beaumont House had been sold in 1963), including Lowry House and barn, plus 3 ½ acres purchased by Meeting in 1949, giving access to Sumneytown Pike to Foulkeways, Inc., a Community for Retired Persons.
  • 1966 School House of 1857 is re-purchased and remodeled for First Day School and community use.
  • 1967 Foulkeways, named to honor May Foulke Beaumont, opens for occupancy, with many members of Gwynedd Monthly Meeting involved.
  • 1971 A tree survey identifies 130 trees on Gwynedd property
  • 1982 Meeting membership is 354.
  • 1990 New home for caretaker is built, using prefabricated construction. Original caretaker’s cottage is torn down.
  • 1997-98 1903 addition is torn down and a new addition is constructed. The building is dedicated in June 1998. Renovations are also made to the 1857 School House
  • 1998 Gwynedd Monthly Meeting celebrates the 300th anniversary of its founding.