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(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Where a family sat in the meetinghouse was a measure of the social status of the male head of the household. The town itself decided upon the rank of each pew and a committee decided where the people sat. Age was the principal criterion in the 1600s, but wealth, military titles, and holding town office became key factors in the 18th century. Seating the meetinghouse became the subject of frequent legislation and social agitation. This chart reflects the seating of the Meeting House in Deerfield, Massachusetts, shortly after the American Revolution. Men and women are no longer segregated and families sit together. Box pews with doors have replaced the older backless benches. These little box-like spaces created a more draft-free and family-centered worship space. Many congregations began selling or renting pews to parishioners in this period.


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Seating of the Meeting House

creator   Committee to Seat the Meeting House
date   Jan 7, 1788
location   Deerfield, Massachusetts
height   12.0"
width   15.0"
process/materials   manuscript, paper, ink
item type   Public Announcements/Roster
accession #   #L99.111

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See Also...

"Pews in Deerfield meeting house first Parish- sold December 1824"

Fourth Meeting House (1729-1824)

"History of Deerfield"

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