Are there restrooms at the Rocky Hill Meeting House?
There are public restrooms available in the shopping center across the street.
Is the museum handicapped accessible?
A tour of any Historic New England property requires a considerable amount of standing and some walking. Rocky Hill Meeting House has not been equipped with handicapped accessible ramps, elevators, or chair lifts. Folding chairs can be provided for visitors who would like to use them during a tour. Visitors with limited mobility may be able to enjoy a first floor tour of the house and grounds. Service animals are welcome. We encourage visitors with concerns to call ahead. We are happy to work with you to make your visit an enjoyable one.
Can I take photographs at the museum?
Interior and exterior photography for personal use is allowed at Historic New England properties. For the safety and comfort of our visitors and the protection of our collections and house museums, we ask that you be aware of your surroundings and stay with your guide. Video, camera bags, tripods and selfie-sticks are not permitted. Professional/commercial photographers and members of the media should visit the press room for more information.
When can I visit the Rocky Hill Meeting House grounds?
The museum grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk.
How do I become a member of Historic New England and get more involved?
Join Historic New England now and get involved in preserving and celebrating the region's heritage. To join, call the Membership Office at 617-994-5910 or join online. You can reach the Rocky Hill Meeting House staff at 978-462-2634 or by e-mail.
Who built this architectural marvel?
The design and construction is credited to Palmer & Spofford of Newburyport, but research is inconclusive as to whether the “Palmer” was the celebrated long-span bridge builder Timothy Palmer. The building is notable for its 61’ x 49’ dimensions, with no supports in the expansive interior except for the columns that hold up the balcony. The 1785 construction used material savaged from the 1716 meeting house, such as the sill on the east side.
Why do the bench seats fold up?
The bench seats folded up so that people within the confines of the pews could all stand for prayer more comfortably. Because of this, the meeting house was known to accommodate as many as 700 people.
What were the folding shelves in the pews used for?
In the early days, church attendance was an all-day affair, and it is believed that many pew owners fashioned the folding shelves as a convenience for eating lunch.
Was George Washington ever at the Rocky Hill Meeting House?
George Washington passed through Amesbury on his way to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1789. Crowds gathered around the meeting house and parsonage to honor Washington at that time. Despite the graffiti “signature” in the stairway, it is unknown if Washington was ever inside the meeting house.
How did Historic New England acquire the building?
The West Parish Society, a group of descendants of the original pew owners, was formed in the late nineteenth century to care for the meeting house. In 1941 the group transferred the deed to Historic New England for preservation with the stipulation that at least two services be held at the meeting house each year.