The Society of the Friends of Little Gidding was founded in 1946 by Alan Maycock. The object was to celebrate the life of Nicholas Ferrar and the household in which he had lived at Little Gidding, to help towards the maintenance and adornment of the church at Little Gidding, to arrange pilgrimages and visits, and to provide accommodation and hospitality for visitors.
One of the original members was T S Eliot, whose poem entitled ‘Little Gidding’ helped to renew interest in the place and its history. Alan Maycock looked forward to community life being restored to Little Gidding. Eliot served as Vice-President until his death in 1965.
In the 1970s a trust was founded to buy the farm house and surrounding buildings and fields as the start of a new community and as a place of retreat. This community grew to become the Community of Christ the Sower, an ecumenical religious community for married and single people. The Friends became attached to the Community of Christ the Sower. The community was dissolved in 1998, and for a while the Friends fell into abeyance, having lost their administration.
In 2003 the Society of the Friends of Little Gidding was re-established. Ferrar House is owned by a separate body, the Little Gidding Trust, and St John’s Church remains the responsibility of the Parochial Church Council. The Friends support these two bodies in maintaining and enhancing the buildings and use of Little Gidding, and remembering the life of Nicholas Ferrar and his successors. The Friends also work closely with the T S Eliot Society to celebrate the link with the poet.
Before his death Nicholas Ferrar said to his family: ‘It is the right, good old way you are in; keep in it.’ These words remain the aspiration of the Friends of Little Gidding, and all those who love the place.
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The Society of the Friends of Little Gidding is a charity registered in England and Wales
Ferrar House, Little Gidding, Huntingdon PE28 5RJ