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Even today Loughwood Meeting House feels remote, tucked away as it is down some narrow lanes below the busy A35.

Back in 1653, long before the A35 was built, when the Baptists of nearby Kilmington decided to build a meeting house, it was surrounded by woodland and was accessible only by narrow paths.

Prior to the Act of Toleration 1689, meeting houses such as this were illegal, and nonconformists were subject to a great deal of persecution.

Not only was Loughwood somewhere secret, it was also on the border of the parish of Dalwood. This was a detached outlier of Dorset until 1842 making it difficult for the authorities to pursue worshippers.

The current building probably dates from the late 17th century or early 18th century making it one of the earliest surviving Baptist meeting houses in the country.

It has been owned by the National Trust since 1969, but is still used twice a year by the local Kilmington Baptist Church. Check the National Trust's official site for opening times, etc.