Sunday, July 25, 2010

THE SHAKERS OF CANTERBURY

On a beautiful knoll in Merrimack County New Hampshire, you will find Canterbury Shaker Village. Canterbury Village was established in 1792 when the followers of founder Mother Ann Lee formed their seventh community, which remained prominent for 200 years. The village has operated as a museum since 1992 when the last Shaker Sister in residence, Ethel Hudson passed away.
At It's height in the 1850's, 300 people lived and worked in over 100 buildings on the 3,000 acres at Canterbury Shaker Village.
The religious group known today as the Shakers was formed in 18th-century England when dissidents from various religions formed a society known as the "Shaking Quakers" or "Shakers" because of their use of "wild" dance in worship. The Shakers immigrated to the US in 1774 and eventually established 19 self contained communities from Maine to Kentucky. Canterbury is one of the oldest. No photography is allowed in the buildings at Canterbury Village however, standing in the doorway I took this photo of the Kitchen Apothecary. It is not hard to imagine the wonderful fragrance of herbs drying and the Sisters sorting, storing, and packaging seeds.
A very large airy room, with drying racks, and storage located behind the gated doorway.
Many of the herbs were stored in canning jars, pictured is the machine that gave the jars their water bath heated by the wood fired oven.

The Bee House....
The gardens...

Sister Hudson before her death had to give her permission for this barn to be rebuilt. Her one condition specified that the barn and shed be an exact replica.
DH and I took a 75 minute walking tour with a small group of people. Yesterday was overcast however, hot and humid. I spent most of my time in the gardens. Below is a photo of a vegetable garden.
Flowers....

and herbs....

and more....

This village contains the only intact, first generation Meeting House built in 1792 and the Dwelling House in 1793.


Not only are the Shaker's known for their "perfect chair", baskets, oval boxes, but the flat broom, common clothespin, first packaged garden seeds, threshing machine, pea sheller, apple parer and corer and a revolving oven. At Canterbury Village the Shakers invented a use for the stationary steam engine- that washed, spun, dried and ironed clothes. (My husband's personal favorite.)
Canterbury has a lot to offer, each time we return we learn something new. Did I mention it's the place to purchase the perfect broom? Mine has held up well for twelve years and yes, Mom I am bringing you home one. ~Hands to work hearts to God~ Mother Ann Lee.

11 comments:

Missouri Gal Nicole said...

What a cool place. I love it and the flowers, veggies, butterflies and the mulberry tree. Awesome photos and great history!

Rowan said...

This post brought back lovely memories, I visited Canterbury last autumn while I was in the US, it's the second time I've been there and I love it. I love the Shaker ethic of doing every task, however humdrum, to the best of your ability. There are so many beautiful examples of their workmanship, I liked the laundry but the Kitchen Apothecary was my favourite. I've really enjoyed looking at the photographs.

Farm Girl said...

So that is where that saying comes from. I have always wanted to visit a Shaker community and to get to read about it like this is just wonderful. I love Shaker baskets and furniture and always thought they were so interesting. I didn't know they were in Maine. You do take such great pictures! Thanks for sharing I found this to be such a great post!
Now if I ever visit Maine, which I hope to someday on my way to
Canada to visit Green Gables. :)
Thanks!

Pondside said...

What an interesting place. I've read a little about the Shakers, but didn't know that there were that many communities. The one that you visited - is it now owned by the state?

Kathy in KY said...

This is a wonderful post Julie. Not far from where I live here in Lexington, is the town of Harrodsburg KY, and that is where the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill is located. It is now a "museum" of sorts,and I believe they still use it as a working farm from when the Shakers still lived there. Surprisingly I've never been there though I've lived in this town since 1994. I may have to make a trip there, now that your blog post has brought it to mind - I do need a good broom! And their chairs are wonderful. Thanks for the reminder that such a treasure is just a few miles from where I live. Take care, from KY.

Dog Trot Farm said...

A Mulberry Tree, thank you Missouri Gal. Rowan if you return to the US and come to the East coast, I would love to meet you! Pondside, we believe the Shaker Village is privately funded. Farmgirl, would love to have you come visit we could learn so much from each other! Kathy, our tour guide relocated from Harrodsburg Kentucky, small world!

henbogle said...

Thanks for the post, Dan and I must plan a trip there someday soon.
Ali

Eve said...

That's a wonderful place to visit Julie. I love that you were able to photograph the interior rooms. Good for you. I love the grounds and that picture of the female Black Swallowtail butterfly is beautiful! Great post!

Gail said...

I would love to visit there.

Rural Rambler said...

How did I miss this post? What a great interesting place to visit! The Kitchen Apothecary, so much to see and I love the looks of it. The brick and wood, very neat. Great pictures Julie, I love the last one :)

Rural Revival said...

How very interesting! I do hope I have the chance to visit sometime, thanks for sharing your visit.

Be well ~Andrea~