A Brief History of Quakers in Swansea

Quakers have been part of Swansea life for over 360 years. John Ap John, one of the first Welsh Quakers, came to the town in 1655 to spread the new ideas of the 'inner light' developed by Quaker founder George Fox, who also visited Swansea in 1657.

Friends met from 1656 in the house of William Bevan who, in 1692, gave the Meeting what was to be the site of their first meeting house and burial ground. This was located on High Street, near the later High Street railway station. It is likely that the first meeting house was an existing house which was adapted. It burnt down in 1720 and was rebuilt. but by 1798, it was deemed inconvenient and a new meeting house was erected on the other side of the burial ground in 1808-09.

It was replaced in 1876 by a new, larger meeting house which was able to cater for the whole range of activities including bible classes and adult school. Its construction cost £1,200. This was followed by extensions in 1899, 1909 and 1929. The meeting house was destroyed by bombing in 1940-43. In 1960, the site was sold and redeveloped with a Post Office.

In 1967 Pagefield House had been part of the Swansea estate sale of R.J. Nicholls and was purchased by the family of local estate agent and prominent Quakers, Jno. Oliver Watkins and opened as a meeting house in 1968. The detached, Victorian house, built in 1858 as the only, surviving dwelling of its type, was designated as a Grade II listed building.