Canterbury Shaker Village

In 1747  Jane & James Wardley of Manchester in England set up the Wardley Society, a breakaway group from the Quakers. They adopted an ecstatic form of worship with much trembling and shaking, so they soon became known as the Shaking Quakers. Ann Lee joined the society in 1758 and in 1770 she was elected leader. Four years later ‘Mother Ann’ and seven followers left England for America. There as the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing they established a communal utopian society which by the early 19th century had a membership of around 4,000. Shakers were celibate so the survival of the movement depended on external recruits. From the late 19th century recruitment slowed and the movement declined. There are still a few Shakers left but many of their sites such as Canterbury are now museums.



Erie Steam Engine, Engine Room

Unlike he Amish who avoid new technology, the Shakers were quick to adopt it. The steam engine housed in the engine room powered numerous machines via a system of belts and pulleys.

Creamery & North Shop

Shaker communities aimed to be sufficient not just in food but also in the production of many of the artefacts that they used in their daily lives. In this picture to the left of the Dwelling House can be seen two buildings used to help to deliver this objective. The Creamery on the left was part of their food production capability, providing cheese, butter and ice cream for the village. The North Shop next to it is a two storey building. The print shop was located on the ground floor together with a fuel store while upstairs the Shaker Sisters worked on textiles and clothing.

 Laundry, Spin House & Dry House

In 1795 the Shakers build their laundry building. Growth of the community and their commercail activities resulted in the addition of steam powered drying facilities. By the early 20th century the Shaker Sisters were producing clothing that was sold across the north eastern USA.  The Shakers were also famous for thier furniture, and the Dry Shop also houses a cabinet shop. Click Tab 2 to see the Cabinet Shop in the Dry House.

Dwelling House

In America ‘Mother Ann’  set about establishing a set of communities,  and her followers continued the work after her death in 1784.  Canterbury was founded in 1792, the seventh Shaker community out of total of nineteen.  It remained a Shaker community until the death of Ethel Hudson, the last Shaker sister in residence,  in 1992. The community buildings have now been preserved as a museum. This picture shows the Dwelling House which was built in 1793 but extended several times as the community grew to around 100 people. The Shaker brothers and sisters had separate accommodation at opposite ends of the building and even separate staircases to get to the dining area.


North Shop & Syrup Shop

A closer view of the North Shop with, on its right, the Syrup shop. The syrups produced here were for medicinal use. The syrups were produced on the ground floor while the upstairs was used for drying ingredients such as herbs and flowers from the Shakers’ gardens. At its height, the community had over 1,200 hectares (3,000 acres) of land.

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Dwelling House, Canterbury Shaker Village, NH, USA
 Creamery & North Shop, Canterbury Shaker Village, NH, USA
 Laundry, Spin House & Dry House, Canterbury Shaker Village, NH, USA
Tab 1
Tab 2
 Erie Steam Engine, Engine Room, Canterbury Shaker Village, NH, USA
 North Shop & Syrup Shop, Canterbury Shaker Village, NH, USA
- Well preserved buildings.
- Shows many aspects of Shaker life, rather than just the making of the chairs and boxes that remain fashionable to this day.
- Can be difficult to find unless you have a good map or SatNav.
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