Worfolk has an important, historic place in the life of Quakers in this region.

June 1668

York Quarterly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) asked the Friends of Scarborough Meetings to find a nearby convenient meeting place.

March 1669

The Monthly Meeting of Friends was held at the home of William Worfolk in Staintondale.  William Worfolk was a prominent 17th century Quaker who lived at Old Rigg Hall about one mile away towards Hayburn Wyke.  The Monthly Meeting continued to be held here for six years after which it was moved to Scarborough and Whitby on alternative months.

February 1706

William Worfolk dies.  He owned much land and gave many bequests including a gift of five pounds towards building a Meeting House in Staintondale


Trustees were appointed for the new Meeting House, and an enlargement by three feet in breadth was approved in 1710.  In 1708 a Meeting House in Staintondale was registered at the Stokesley Quarter Sessions.  It is not known if the present cottage was built at the same time or was already in existence.

December 1712

The first recorded burial at Staintondale burial ground.  A gravestone with the name of James Postgate, dated 10th January 1717, still stands in the grounds.  The last recorded burial here was in 1827.


With fewer Quakers in Staintondale the Meeting was discontinued.


The property was sold to Benjamin Peacock, except for the burial ground.  The Meeting House was demolished leaving the cottage and burial ground, although the latter was not included in the sale.


The site is marked as ‘Quaker Meeting House – disused’.  In 1855 it was described as ‘degenerated into a cottage’.  It is assumed that the Meeting House was demolished around this time.


The census for Staintondale records Meeting House Farm and a Quaker Cottage (occupied by an agricultural labourer named Parker).


The cottage is put up for sale.

1912 - 1915

Because of the cottage’s historical association with Quakers, a group of Friends were appointed to look into the possibility of buying the property on behalf of Pickering and Hull Monthly Meeting.  The cottage and burial ground were purchased for £135, the premises to bear the name of Worfolk.

Worfolk was let on a sixty-year building lease to five Friends including Joshua Rowntree, who was for a short time an MP and Mayor in Scarborough.  The cottage was enlarged by the addition of a sitting room and two bedrooms over, and a water supply was installed.


Joshua Rowntree dies.  The cottage is let to Frank and Edith Sturge, first as a holiday let when they were wardens of Woodbrooke (the Quaker Study Centre in Birmingham), and then later on retirement in 1918, as their permanent home.


Edith Sturge dies, (Frank having died earlier).  Edith left a sum of money and the contents of the cottage to Monthly Meeting, expressing a wish that the cottage could be used for those who ‘needed a holiday at a reasonable price, could afford a holiday, or needed a quiet retreat’.  Monthly Meeting accepted this offer, and a committee of Scarborough Friends let the furnished cottage for holidays etc.

1970 -2006

Letting the cottage on this basis became onerous and Monthly Meeting considered a proposal that Worfolk should be sold.  This was not accepted and a group of Friends were given a two-year trial period for using the cottage as a Quaker Centre for holidays, retreat and for study, by families, Meetings or schools.  This required change from valuable antiques, silver and porcelain etc. to simplified furnishing.  The trial period became permanent and the responsibility of letting and maintaining the cottage on this basis by the Worfolk Management Committee continued successfully for 36 years.  Over these years, many Friends and friends have given valuable, enjoyable, voluntary service and deserve grateful thanks from our Meeting.

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