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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 importance 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 of top importance in the 1600s, but wealth, military titles, and holding town office became important in the eighteenth century. Seating in the meetinghouse was sometimes the cause of arguments. This chart shows the seating of the Meeting House in Deerfield, Massachusetts, shortly after the American Revolution. Men and women were no longer separated and families sat together. Box pews with doors had replaced the older backless benches. These little box-like spaces were warmer and more family-centered worship spaces. Many churches began selling or renting pews to church members 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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