In the sparsely populated land between Plenmeller and Coanwood Commons, on the edge of Garbutt Hill is a burn which flows north to feed the southern Tyne. Across a stone bridge which leads to Burn House, tucked into a fold in the land is The Friends’ Meeting House. Wandering these lost lanes on a motorcycle, it is surprising what you find. According to the Historic Chapels Trust, “Coanwood Friends’ Meeting House was built in 1760 not far from Hadrian’s Wall. The almost unaltered interior is a rare and eloquent survival of historic Quaker layout and it powerfully evokes the silence of Quaker worship in this remote place, where the only sound is usually the wind and, in winter, the fast-moving burn nearby”.
I first found the chapel in April but did not venture inside, just assuming the door would be locked. Earlier this week I returned to its simple, peaceful interior:
A bit like dogs, motorcycles get you talking. A local, removing moss from the nearby stone bridge, was a disappointed owner of a Harley. The conversation moved from bikes to Chapels and the equally interesting, if more ornate, ancient Church at Beltingham set in the centre of the tiny village. This is where I will head next.