archives BuildingSouthern Lancaster County Historical Society

Penn Hill Monthly Meeting

Formerly called Little Britain Monthly Meeting

Fulton township, Lancaster County, Pa

From the History of Lancaster County by Dr. Frederick Klein, 1926

Penn Hill Meeting-The Penn Hill meeting was the first to be estallished. Prior to 1749 the Quakers in southern Lancaster were members of the Nottingham Monthly and Particular (or weekly) Meetings, but in that year the Nottingham Monthly Meeting had to consider a request "from Friends, dwellers in Lancaster county, near Cannawingo" that they be permitted to hold meetings in Lancaster county, "both on first and week days." In 1752 Friends "living in and near Little Britain," were given authority to erect a meetinghouse, meeting for the consideration of this matter having been held at the home of James King. The house of worship was duly erected, and in 1758 conveyance of the site, five acres, was made by Michael King to Samuel Boyd, Joshua Brown, Isaac Williams, and Vincent King, "trustees of the Little Britain Friends' Meeting." Eventually a brick building took the place of the original structure. The church became known as Penn Hill, though the official title of the meeting remained as it originally was. William P. King, of Peach Bottom, was superintendent in 1922. In 1792 a tract of land, six acres and thirty-five perches in extent, was conveyed by Henry and Reuben Reynolds, to James Harlan, Henry Reynolds, Jr., and Abner Brown, trustees of the Friends' Meeting at Eastland, Little Britain township, for the purpose of erecting a meetinghouse. A substantial stone structure was raised upon it, and it has been the centre of a strong society of Friends ever since. Robert K. Wood, of Nottingham, is superintendent. Orthodox and Hicksite--In 1827 a division occurred in the Society of Friends, the parts becoming later known as "Orthodox" and "Hicksite." The Hicksite Quakers were in the majority in Little Britain, and therefore held the church property. The Orthodox Friends consequently erected a small brick meetinghouse for themselves. It stood almost on the line between Little Britain and Fulton townships, being on Soapstone Hill in Fulton. It was known as Ballance's Meeting, but never functioned strongly.


"Churches of Today and Yesterday in Southern Lancaster County" by Fellowship of Solanco Churches, Raymond Dunlap, George Herbert, & Richard Yates , Sr. printed 1968

The history of the Religious Society of Friends at Penn Hill goes back to the first Quakers who settled around Philadelphia, and later spread out to the north and west, seeking fertile farm lands as well as water power for their mills. Wherever they went they would return to their meetinghouses for religious worship twice a week-on First Day and Fifth Day (mid-week Meeting). When they had moved so far that this became a burden, they would ask the home Meeting for permission to meet in the homes of members, and later to establish a Meeting for building a meetinghouse. Usually the history of a Meeting is connected closely with the life of one or a few persons. The Little Britain Preparative Meeting, or as it is locally called, "The Penn Hill Meeting," follows this pattern.

James King came from England in 1690, was married in Concord Meeting in 1709, moved to West Nottingham, and in 1735 took out a warrant for 500 acres along the Conowingo. The part which is the Warfel farm he gave to his son Michael, and sometime between 1752 and 1755 a log meetinghouse was built on the corner of it. In 1758 Michael King deeded the 5 acres to the trustees: Samuel Boyd, Joshua Brown, Isaac Williams and Vincent King. Destroyed by fire, that building was replaced in 1764 by a stone meetinghouse. Joshua Brown in 1758 followed James King from Nottingham to 500 acre tract. As a minister, he traveled as far as the Carolinas. It was his son, the same Jeremiah, who in 1823 built the present meet-inghouse, at a cost of $2,053.48, and presented it to the Little Britain Friends because the stone building was too small to accommodate those who came to hear his wife preach. Mercy Shreve Brown had been in failing health. It was hoped that she would be given the strength to preach in the new house but that was not to be. She died October 24, 1823, six days after the new gift was presented.

And so for many years there gathered in this meetinghouse twice weekly in broad brimmed hats and plain bonnets the Browns, the Stubbses, the Haineses, the Kirks, the Smedleys, the Kings and many others who filled the benches on both sides

Present membership is 116 with an average attendance of 25; Sunday School, 56, with an average attendance of 35. Meetings are at 11 : 00 AM.; First Day School at 10: 00 AM

Records Location

5 Rolls of microfilm - one location is Lancaster county Historical Society
Link to examples of the contents of these rolls
Roll 1
Little Britain / Penn Hill Meeting, , Typed marriages from our files.
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