5th October 2020

In 1658 Thomas Arthur Fawcett built his house on the main street of Hawes at the top of Wensleydale in Yorkshire. Local custom was to have a carved stone with date and initials on a new house. But Thomas, a Quaker, went further. Remembering, perhaps, the Bible verse telling us to be prepared ‘to give an account of the hope that is in us’, he had the stonemason squash into the lintel of his front door:


In 1668 any meeting for worship of more than five people outside the parish church was banned. Those taking part would be fined or imprisoned. (This hit Quakers, Baptists and others very hard in Bristol.) But Thomas proclaimed his faith and hope over his door.

The house is still there with the text picked out in white paint. In 1754 it was bought by the Quaker meeting as a rest house for travelling Quakers in a time when you walked or rode to get to meetings. By the end of the nineteenth century it was a Temperance Hotel (i.e., no alcohol) and for much of the twentieth century a café for walkers and cyclists. It is now a more upmarket small hotel.

Each year thousands of Pennine Way walkers, visitors to the cheese factory and the Tuesday Market look at the door, comment and perhaps pause for thought.

Thank you, Thomas for your hope which has helped more people than you could have imagined.

(If you want the source it is Romans 8:31.)

Margaret Clements