The Pales is a Historic Meeting House, built in 1717, and burial ground with a Warden’s Cottage attached situated in a peaceful hillside setting in Powys close to its border with Herefordshire. It is the oldest Quaker Meeting house in continuous use in Wales. It is of great emotional and spiritual significance to many both within and without the Quaker community.
George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, visited Radnorshire three times, initially in 1657, and encouraged local Quakers in their struggles. Quakerism took a strong hold in Radnorshire from very early times despite the incredible sufferings caused by persecution.
Meetings were held in those days in farmhouses but before long the need for a burial ground became imperative. A quarter of an acre of ground in the hills above Llandegley, was donated in 1673, for this purpose. There has been speculation over the name ‘Pales’.
The first deed assigns it two ‘names’: ‘a burial ground called Roundabout’, and ‘Y Ty ar dir yn y Swydd’ (`the house on the land at the Swydd’). In 1694, a second deed refers to it as ‘one parcell of land or fenced in round about’. This establishes the meaning of Pales as an enclosure.
In the late 1970s Quaker wardens were re-established and the graveyard was restored, the cottage renovated and the Meeting House itself re-thatched. Restoration work has continued, and in the 1990s a new water supply has meant that the Pales is again a perfect venue for workshops, retreats etc. where the natural beauty of the surroundings, and an abiding spiritual atmosphere are valued contributions. Its primary function continues to be, as always, a place of worship at which everyone is welcome.
The Meeting House and adjacent schoolroom can be hired for meetings, workshops or retreats, for those who want to experience a truly uplifting environment.