Last updated: April 29, 2021
Canterbury Shaker Village
Canterbury Shaker Village, in New Hampshire, was established by Benjamin Whitcher in 1792. A Shaker convert himself, he harbored and protected local Shakers from persecution, eventually donating the land on which the village was built. Canterbury's formal call-to-order came in the summer of 1792 with the construction of the Meeting House.
It prospered over the following century. Economic pursuits included farming, livestock breeding, mills, and the production of seeds and herbal medicines. Additionally, Elder Blinn established a small print shop, making Canterbury the publishing center for northern Shaker communities.
Canterbury resembled most other Shaker villages built at the same time. It had all of the principle buildings required of a strictly utilitarian communal society: dwelling houses, shops, stables, a laundry, a school, and an infirmary. The Meeting House, designed by Moses Johnson, played a primary role in the day-to-day functioning of the community. Today, the Canterbury Shaker Village includes 25 exceptionally well-preserved buildings surrounded by approximately 700 acres of gardens, fields, ponds, and forest.
A project through the Save America's Treasures Grant Program, which helps preserve nationally significant historic properties and collections, funded restoration work at the Canterbury Shaker in 2000. Improvements at the Canterbury Shaker Village including updating electrical, plumbing, and heating systems. Fire detection, suppression, and security systems were also installed using grant assistance.