Records of Airton Preparative Meeting of the Society of Friends

Scope and Content

Minutes of Women's Preparative Meeting, 1699-1777 (1 vol.) [H 15]; Burial notes, including for Airton burial ground, 1882-1896 (1 vol.) [SE 12]; Title deeds for Airton Meeting House, 1697-1774 (5 items) [U 8]; Title deeds for Rylstone Meeting House, 1658-1757 (3 items) [U 10]; Lease and release, Gill estate, Airton, 1829 [U 14]; Plans of Airton Meeting House, no date (14 items) [DD 23]; Sundry letters, transcribed on the order of William Ellis of Airton, 1691-1709 (1 bundle) [U 19]; Visitors' book for Airton Meeting House, 1969-1976 (1 vol.) [H 47]; Papers re. Airton, 1841-1842 & 1941-1969 (2 bundles) [SE 75, H 40]

Administrative / Biographical History

This Meeting was settled at Scalehouse, near Skipton-in-Craven, in the early 1650s by the combined efforts of William Dewsbury, Richard Farnsworth, Thomas Stubbs, Miles Halhead and James Nayler. It was recorded in 1665 as a constituent of Skipton Monthly Meeting and again in 1669, when it became part of Settle Monthly Meeting. It drew in a community of Friends from Airton, Cracoe, Eshton, Flashby, Hetton and Rylstone, as well as Scalehouse itself, and two of its members, Richard Scostrop and John Hill, became widely travelled ministers. One of the mainstays of the Meeting was the Watkinson family of Scalehouse. In 1654 George Watkinson was fined and later imprisoned at York with his wife Anne for riding to meeting on a Sunday. The series of general meetings for the North of England which took place near Skipton from 1657 to 1660 and formed the precursor of the Yearly Meeting, were probably held at the Watkinsons' farm. In 1675, a few years after the death of George Watkinson, the Meeting became known as Rylstone. A Meeting House was built at Airton in 1700, financed by William Ellis and situated on his land. He gave the building and its burial ground to the Meeting in 1706. The Meeting flourished during this period and its name changed again to Airton. Another Meeting House was built in Rylstone in 1711, known as Fox House Barn. Both were in use throughout the 18th century, until the number of Friends declined and meetings ceased to be held in Rylstone in 1792. When Settle Monthly Meeting was dissolved in 1853, the Meeting was transferred to Brighouse Monthly Meeting. In 1910 it was reduced to an Allowed Meeting, before being discontinued in 1922. An Allowed Meeting existed for a short period between 1943 and 1948, as part of the re-formed Settle Monthly Meeting.


The records are numbered and arranged according to the system used when they were in Carlton Hill Meeting House

Access Information

The conditions of deposit include a clause requiring written prior permission from a Friend Custodian for access to consult current legal documents and any material less than fifty years old

Acquisition Information

The collection of archives of the Society of Friends formerly held at the Friends Meeting House at Carlton Hill, Leeds


In English

Other Finding Aids

Contents listed in Handlist 99, Inventory of the records of Brighouse, Knaresborough, Leeds, and Settle Monthly Meetings of the Society of Friends formerly preserved at the Friends Meeting Housem, Carlton Hill, Leeds, 2nd edition, 1997

Conditions Governing Use

As with access, the photocopying of current legal documents and any material less than fifty years old requires the permission of a Friend Custodian

Related Material

Related material in Leeds University Library: Records of Settle and Brighouse Monthly Meetings, Airton Estate Apprenticeship Fund and Airton Friends Hostel


See M. H. Long & M. F. Pickles eds., The early history of the Society of Friends in Mid-Wharfedale and Craven (Mid-Wharfedale Local History Research Group, 1998); R. Harland, The living stones of the Skipton Quaker Meeting (author, 1993)

Additional Information

The records are deposited and remain the property of the Society of Friends