History of Newmarket  Village Churches

              (photo: of Newmarket church spires taken between 1872 and 1908 from the town waterfront)

First Churches located at old town center — today’s Rockingham Junction 

“The First Meeting House” 1730 - 1792

Between 1639 and 1727, the early founders of Lamprey River settlement and the settlement along the Squamscott River (present day Newfields) travelled to the Meeting House in Exeter for local governmental meetings as well as religious services.  Prior to the Revolution there was no separation of church and state, and in Colonial America, the minister was supported by public taxation.

The thought of having to pay a church tax and travel so far for ministerial services, prompted the people on the north side of the Squamscott to join together and form a separate parish to be called New Market.  Their request was granted by the Colonial Government.  Immediately it was voted to build a Meeting House at the center of the parish (today the center is known as Rockingham Junction).  The first preacher brought to the settlement was Rev. John Moody in 1730; he died in 1778, having supplied the pulpit forty eight years (not without strife and controversy).

The Moody Parsonage was the first  location  where the faithful gathered to listen to the Reverend preach from his living quarters while the “First Meeting House” was being built.  The old “Burying Yard” is just over the town line on Route 108 in present day Newfields.  The very first Meeting House stood at the corner of that Burying Yard.  The building had both East and West doors, as well as separate gallerties for women and men.  The cemetery was deeded to the parish six years later.  By 1777, with only a remnant of the old church followers left, Rev. Moody was forced to resign after alienating many of his parishioners.  During the last five years of his control of the pulpit, he seems to have been assisted by a variety of travelling preachers, to include, Rev. Nathaniel Ewer, who was settled in by 1773.

“Old West Meeting House” 1772 -1791 

Ewer was a follower of a religious revivalist movement, and by 1772 he formed a Presbyterian Church at the “Old West Meeting Houselocated on the New Market Plains (Wadleigh Falls Road).  Former disgruntled congregation members of Rev. Moody, as well as men from Durham and Lee followed Ewer to join his church of “New Lights” or “Separatists” on the plains.

(photo: Wayne Rosa touched up West Society historic marker, Wadleigh Falls Rd, 2009)

In 1789, 11 years after Moody’s death, the congregation asked Ewer to also be their pastor.  The East and West Societies then reunited, and services resumed in The First Meeting House.  

“The Second Meeting House” 1792 -1823

The First Meeting House structure, now about 50 years old and no longer adequate, was sold to the highest bidder in November 1791 and later demolished.  The Second Meeting House was built on land donated by Revolutionary war hero General James Hill in 1792.  Henry Wiggin and his sons Michial and Henry, Jr. designed and constructed this new meeting house.  It stood just west of the Moody parsonage, probably in what is now the triangle at the entrance of Ash Swamp Road.  This building contained a steeple, two rows of windows, and three entrances.  Equipped with a sounding board above the lofty pulpit, it also included three galleries.   Ewer remained the pastor here until he died in 1806. (1)


First Religious Services in the “Village” held in a River Wharf  Warehouse

The first public religious service held within “the Lamprey River village” was conducted without church or minister. In 1825 one Timothy Chamberlain was employed by the Newmarket Manufacturing Co. to superintend the building of the No. 2 mill. The prospect of employment had drawn to the town a large floating population, and he felt a need existed for public services for these men and their families. He accordingly applied to the company, and with the Board of Directors’ approval, secured permission to use the second story of their wharf warehouse for religious meetings.  This wharf was located just north of the old town hall.  He organized a Sabbath School in 1826, conducting the services himself delivering sermons and quotations from the Bible.

Some three hundred people attended these services in the warehouse.  Led and inspired by Mr. Chamberlain, the foundling congregation raised money to secure a permanent minister. Early in the fall of that year Mr. John P. Cleaveland, a young man who had been preaching and teaching in Exeter, came and preached his first sermon in the warehouse.  The following May (1826) Mr. John Adams, son of Professor Adams of Phillips Andover Academy, came here as a co-laborer.  At this time, throughout the countryside, there was a general religious awakening and many more people joined the church.

On the 28th of May, Mr. Adams assisted in the organization of the first Sabbath school, of which Mr. Chamberlain was superintendent. It consisted of five teachers and thirty pupils. Contrary to the then-existing custom, this organization predated the formation of a church.  A generous townsman, Walter Smith by name, had erected a hall for public worship at the corner of Main and Central streets (the present Masonic Building) in 1827.   It soon became apparent that the need was there, and that it had outstripped the use of Mr. Smith’s hall.  On land again donated by the Newmarket Manufacturing Company, plans were unfolding for the Congregational Church building.

The First Congregational Church, 1828 - present

In 1828 the First Congregational Church was now fully formed in church membership, and Rev. David Sanford installed as its first pastor.  He had been a theological student at Andover, who on May 22, 1828, was regularly ordained.

(photo: early photo First Congregational Church, Newmarket House in background, taken before 1872)
The ensuing summer thirty-two members were added and work began for a new meetinghouse at the corner of Main and Water Streets, which was opened and dedicated on December 20, 1828.  Though construction was not quite completed, it was sufficient enough to hold Christmas services.

At first the building had neither steeple nor vestry.  It had high square pews, a gallery for the choir and a high enclosed pulpit.  But this building was seen by the Manufacturing Company as a power for good in the community and something like 400 souls had made it their spiritual home.  The church was remodeled in 1840, and a steeple added; later in 1855 it was raised and a vestry put underneath.  In the fall and winter it was enlarged and the organ was installed.

The Town Clock on the steeple of the Community Church is a town landmark. Its history began in 1871 when Newmarket Civil War veteran John Palmer decided that the town needed a clock that could be seen by everyone in the downtown area. 

                             (photo: after 1872 with new Town Clock)

When he learned that Reverand Isaac White was planning on refurbishing the church by adding a steeple to the then Federated Church on Main Street,  Mr. Palmer got busy.  In September of the same year he sought to raise enough money to purchase a town clock.   He created a subscription book which contained 180 names, 100 for $1 subscriptions.  The entire sum of $425 raised from citizen subscriptions, paid for the clock and was personally obtained by Mr. Palmer.  In 1872, the clock began striking the hours at the opening of the church rededication service.

The church became a vocal “abolitionist” force and community rallying point during the Civil War. Of the many pastors who ministered to the people of this church, one especially stands out.

(photo: Rev. Isaac C. White)

In June, 1865, Rev. Isaac Curtis White began his labors on behalf of this society and town, which continued for nearly twenty-two years. Upon the observance of the semi-centennial of this church, in an historical sermon, he said: “During the present pastorate….eighty-two have been added to the membership of the church, and this place of worship has been enlarged, remodeled, beautified and furnished with a valuable organ, and the tower has been ornamented and made vocal with a clock and bell, at an expense of $8,000.”

In 1874 there was another general spiritual awakening under his earnest efforts and some thirty-five professed a saving knowledge of Christ and were by him received with fellowship and membership in this church.

In June, 1887, after a faithful service of nearly a quarter of a century, he resigned and removed to Scotland, Mass., where for a short time he continued to minister, but due his age and increasing health problems he moved to Plymouth where he died in 1907.

  While in Newmarket he was a member of Rising Star Lodge, A. F. and A. M., which for twenty years he served as chaplain, and at the termination of this service, his brethren elected him to an honorary life membership.

(photo taken 1924, Newmarket House still standing in background)  

He was described as being “a profound student, deeply thoughtful, with an easy command of “The Mother Tongue,” his sermons were interesting, instructive and elevating; and at times he was eloquent with the depth of feeling which overflowed from a pure heart. He combined a loving, genial disposition with a quiet dignity, which helped to make him an ideal minister as well as a gentleman of the old school.” (2)

Over the years periodic repairs were done to the steeple and town clock.  In 1933, The Community Church Woman’s Group raised $300 for Repair work needed for the Church steeple; In 1946 the Community Church again raised the $1,000 needed to replace the rotted support beams for the  Church steeple to prevent it from “swaying” even further; and by 1958  a major expenses of $1,625 was expended by the town for repairs.

(photo of Community Church Steeple, 2013 by Sarah Low)

Urban Myth?  

Currently, atop the steeple is an object that resembles a bowling pin.  The story goes, it was placed there when the church was seeking donations in the late 1950’s to fix the steeple from years of weather damage.  The local bowling alley (which was above Brisson’s Store across the street) agreed to donate with one condition — the church would sport a bowling pin as a topper as a subtle advertising sign.

There had been a precident as  the First Baptist Church of Hampton Falls, NH  has a beer bottle on top of their steeple.  ”According to the locals: A brewery owner donated $50,000 to build the church with the condition that everyone was to know he donated it. The church, worrying about the morality of accepting money from such a sinful source, agreed.  Their solution? To place a beer bottle on top of the steeple.

“However,  John Cressy advises “The bottle is an untrue legend. No local brewer ever gave a dime to the church. What looks like a bottle is actually an architectual finial.” (3)

Likewise,  there is nothing in the Newmarket Community Church records indicating such an arrangement.  With no written confirmation, perhaps our bowling pin is nothing more than an architectual finial as well.


 Methodist Church 1827 -1907

With the construction and employment of the mills, the village was growing in importance and increasing in population until the active members of the Methodist society deemed it necessary to have a house of worship and the regular means of grace more accessible to all the inhabitants of the town.

The Methodists, in accordance with the true spirit of their mission, took the work in hand, and, through the cooperation of the agent of the Newmarket Manufacturing Company and the personal influence and faithful efforts of Mr. John Broadhead, a site was procured free in 1827 and the work of building a church immediately commenced on Church Street.  The church was built the same year; and dedicated in late November by Rev. Benjamin R Hoyt.

It was expected that Mr. Broadhead would occupy the pulpit, but, owing to his election to congress, he could not accept and the following July (1828) Rev. Samuel Kelly was appointed as the first stationed pastor.

(photo: Methodist Church on Main Street, photo taken between 1900 and 1907)

The church grew rapidly. At the end of ten years a parsonage was built at the cost of $800.  The church membership increased to 250; the Sunday school, including pupils, teachers and officers, to 186. In 1871 and 1872, a beautiful new church was built on Main Street across from the Congregational Church at the cost of $25,000.  The church steeples were considered the jewels of Main Street. 

However, the costs exceeded the pocketbook and because of changes in population, the congregation steadily decreased.  In 1907 the Methodist church declared bankruptcy and its members agreed to worship together at the Congregational Church. 

The beauty of the church’s interior was mentioned in several articles written in the Newmarket Advertiser at the time; however, the New Market Historical Society has no interior photographs.  If anyone reading this article knows of any existing photographs, please contact us.  

Secular use - 1907 to- present

The building morphed through a slow demise with the removal of its steeples and stained glass into the town’s first movie theater, the Scenic Temple.  Later the pews were replaced with theater-style seating into the Star Theater with Turcotte’s hardware store downstairs.  The building was completely demolished by the wrecking ball in 1966 to make way for the US Post Office.


Baptist Church 1830 - mid 1930’s 

Early in the nineteenth century, a “Man of God,” John Osborne by name but lovingly known as “Daddy Osborne,” secured a small building on Newmarket Plains previously known as the “Old West Meeting House” of Rev. Ewer.  He re- established regular religious services, which bore fruit. Deeply in earnest and ordained by The Spirit, revivals followed his ministry.

With the rapid increase of population at the village, the Baptists there felt the need of a more readily accessible place of worship, and by 1834, they moved “The Old West Meeting House”  by many yoke of oxen to South Main Street across from the Cheswill cemetery.

(photo: 1952 clipping of the old Levitt / Kent house, built on the location of the old church)

 Mrs. Kent, former owner of the property reports that  the front steps of the Leavitt / Kent house are today exactly where the church steps were in 1834.  In that same year the church re-organized and became known as “The First Free Will  Baptist Church of Christ in Newmarket,” with sixty-four charter members; Rev. D. P. Cilley was their first pastor.

In 1840 the Church bought land from the Newmarket Manufacturing Company near the top of Church Street (below the old Stone Church steps) and built a new house of worship. In the beginning of 1841, the pews were sold and the house was ready for dedication.

(photo: Baptist Church on Church Street.  It was destroyed by fire in 1940)

A variety of musical instruments were introduced into the choir—a clarinet, violin, flute, bass viol and double bass viol.  To some,  this appeared as (and was declared to be) “the direct work of the devil.”

(photo postcard by Newmarket photographer Thibault of  Memorial Day 1910. Interior shot of the Baptist Church.  A  Portrait of  Abraham Lincoln is beneath the crossed flags.) 

Later a small organ was placed in the gallery but the climax was not reached until several years later, when a church organ was installed.  One of the old fathers used to sit with a finger in each ear as the organist played. It was pronounced “a great idol.”

In 1881 the church was raised and the vestry remodeled, at a cost of $1,000.

Two years later the Church spent over $2,000 to convert space into an audience room. The church continued holding services, revival meetings and public lectures.

 After the mill strike and during the depression membership dwindled as mill operatives moved out of town.  The building was eventually sold to the American Legion; and on Christmas Eve, 1940 — it was destroyed in a fire.

(photo: Baptist minister Reverend  Sullivan C. Kimball,  a  renown and sought-after Temperance Preacher.  He published anti-alcohol newspapers and pamphlets  which were distributed  all over the country.   He was sought after and held many rallies in manufacturing cities  thoughout  New England.  His family lived on the Kimball farm on Dame Road for  generations.)


History of the building known as “The Stone Church”

Universalist Society 1833 - 1853

The Universalist Church Society was formed in 1833. Many members of this Society were actually directors and stockholders of the mill.  The Newmarket Manufacturing Company gave land at the top of Church Street to build their “church on the hill”.  NMCo. was also directly involved in obtaining the stone work for both the Universalist Church as well as the Stone School  (built 1841) adjacent to it.   When the Church edifice was completed, Church Street, leading from Main Street , was now opened to the top of the hill.

(photo: with a cross on top of the steeple, taken when owned by the Catholic Church)

Unitarian Society 1853 - 1865

Twenty years later in 1853, the  church was absorbed by the Unitarians under the ministration of the Rev. Mr. Damon.  Its architecture remained the same — a beautiful building with 12 handcrafted pews and woodwork, its exterior stonework was unique and rarely seen anywhere in New England.

First Catholic Church 1865 - 1898

French School 1886 - 1910

In 1865, it was sold to the Roman Catholic Church, thus establishing the first Catholic Church in Newmarket, NH. By 1886, the Forresters, a Catholic fraternal organization, became the owners of  The Old Meeting House (AKA Unitarian Church).  On February 1, 1886, the first parish school was opened, and thirty pupils were enrolled in this “French” school taught by a “Frenchman.”  Boys were in the front half of the bottom floor and girls in the back half.  The school Marm and Master resided in quarters in the building also. It continued as “The French School” until the opening of St. Mary’s School in 1910.  French and English classes taught by the nuns continued for several years in the building; but now the  students were the many French-Canadian adults who worked in the factories.

Secular use of the building  1946 - present

The Veterans of Foreign Wars purchased “The Old Meeting House” about 1946 and turned it into a meeting place for their organization with  a club room, and lounge constructed downstairs.  The upstairs was refurbished with a new dance floor.  The Veterans Of Foreign Wars finally disbanded about 1954 and Andrew Kruczeck became the owner. The building then shuffled through various secular personalities, including a roller-skating rink and a playhouse.  Kruczeck then rented it to the Newmarket Heel Co.  In June of 1966 George and Jennie Griswold became the owners. (4)

A fire in Aug 1969 gutted the building.   Visitors can still see evidence of this event in the charred beams of the main room. As legend has it, a worker took a hammer to the stained-glass windows of the building to vent the fire, which is why the stained glass does not remain today. The story goes that the firefighters sent a torrent of heels out the front door, down the hill, and into the Lamprey River with the forceful flow of water from their hoses!

In 1969, the building was sold to three UNH students. Inspired by a “Forever Woodstock” mentality, these students set about creating a rock club that would keep music alive in the community.

(photo: Stone Church and owner, Adam Schroadter.  photo courtesy of the Stone Church)

Quickly, the club established itself as a musical mecca, and hosted the likes of Phish, Aerosmith, Bonnie Raitt, Parliament, Grace Potter and The Nocturnals, Patty Larkin, Bela Fleck, David Grisman Quintet, Joan Osbourne, The Butthole Surfers, The Wood Brothers, Soulive, moe, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, The Radiators, John Butler Trio, and John Scofield.  Since then, the Church has showcased the talents of both up-and-coming and established musicians. (5)

(see separate history of the Stone Church elsewhere on the New Market Historical Society website)



Saint Mary’s, The Second Catholic Church 1898 - present

A few years after the Roman Catholics organized a society in town, they purchased and occupied a building previously used as a carpenter’s shop near the railroad depot.  (It was later occupied by Thomas and John Griffin as a dwelling-house.)  The Rev. Father Walsh was their first pastor.

In 1865 the Catholic Church purchased the Stone Meeting House, and it became an independent parish church in 1878  under the newly appointed pastor, Rev. John T. McDonnell. Prior to that, Father McDonnell served the Catholic population of Newmarket from Haverhill, MA. He is recorded as celebrating the first Mass in town in 1848.  Every two weeks a priest would visit the area either from Exeter, Portsmouth, Dover and as far away as Keene.

By 1878, the Catholic population of Newmarket had grown to “about 800.” The number of Catholic clergy in New Hampshire had also grown, and there were now more priests available to serve the spiritual needs of the people. The Right Reverend James A. Healy, Bishop of Portland, Me, dedicated the Newmarket Church, now called St. Patrick in 1878. In attendance at the ceremony were Father McDonnell, Father Murpy of Haverhill, Ma, and Father O’Callaghan of Portsmouth.

In 1878 the Catholic Church also purchased land for the Calvary Cemetery.  In 1882, Rev. Cornelius O’Callaghan succeeded the first pastor. He remained but a few months and was succeeded by Rev. Dennis Ryan who redecorated the church. He was succeeded by Rev. Thomas A. Reilly in 1886; his stay in Newmarket was to continue for 25 years and was to prove very fruitful for the Catholics as this was a very industrious pastor.

(photo: 1875 postcard of the Kittredge House on “Depot Square” now the location of St. Mary’s Church)

In 1887 he enlarged the old stone church, adding the brick sacristy to the rear; he put in a basement, and installed a heating system.  He also purchased the Old Kittredge House on South Main Street.  The house was torn down, and the street was widened by the town beginning in March of 1897.  In the same year, he purchased another adjacent lot for $600 and had the  rectory built and furnished for $4,000.  The building continues in 2013 as a rectory and parish house.

The Catholic Church now occupied a handsome square of nearly 400 feet. In the center of this property Father Reilly began to build the present St. Mary’s Church, in March 1897, at which date the parish, notwithstanding its increased possessions, was entirely free from debt.

The corner stone of St. Mary’s Church was laid by Bishop Bradley on September 15, 1897, and the church was solemnly dedicated in October 1898.

In the meantime the number of those professing the Catholic faith in Newmarket had constantly increased, and only one thing only was left for him to accomplish — this was the erection of a suitable school to meet the needs of his Catholic children.

 The school was finished in 1910. This was the crowning work of Fr. Reilly’s pastorate, as well as his last here. In October 1912 he was transferred to St. Mary’s of Dover, N.H., and three years later he died.

St. Mary’s School, a brick structure on granite foundation, afforded a spacious parish hall and seven class rooms and accommodations for the teaching force of the school. Its estimated cost was $45,000.00. Three hundred children were taught here daily by the Sisters of the Congregation of the Holy Cross. (6)    It closed its doors for good in 1972 thus bringing eighty-six years of Catholic education in Newmarket to an end.

The school was sold to the town and became part of the Newmarket public school system, until a new elementary school was built in 1987.  After the Town Hall fire in 1987, this building became Newmarket’s municipal offices —which purpose it holds today.

Quotations  from The Newmarket Advertiser:

May 8,  1897  “The  land formerly occupied by the  Kittredge  house  is  being leveled and graded  for  the new Catholic  Church.”

May 12, 1897:  “Work  on widening the  street where  the  old Kittredge  house  stood  is  being rapidly pushed.  The  dirt  excavated is  being put  on  the  roads  and  sidewalks and  is  much better than the  sand  used  heretofore.”  “O.  C.  Moulton of Dover has  been awarded  the  contract for the new  St.  Mary’s  Catholic  Church,  and will complete  the  job  in  about  six months.  The  building will  be  of wood and will cost in the vicinity of  $12,000.”

May 29 ,  1897:  “The road  has  been  straightened near where  the  Kittredge  house  stood,  and  the  sidewalk lowered  to  a  level  with the road.  It  will  make a  great  improvement  to  that  part  of  town.”

June 5, 1897:  “A  concrete  sidewalk and  crossing is  being laid  from  the  railroad  station  to  the  sidewalk where  the  Kittredge house  formerly  stood.”

June  26,  1897:  “Work  has  begun on  the  foundation of  the  new Catholic  church and  some  of  the  timber for the  building has arrived.”

July  31,  1897:  “Work  on  the  new Catholic  church  is  progressing rapidly.  The sides  are up and nearly boarded  in,  and the  timbers for the  roof will  be  put  in  place  by the  last  of  the  week.”

September 10,  1897:  “George  O.  Hodgdon has  secured  the  contract  to  paint  the  new Catholic  church.”  ‘“R.  Rev.  Dennis  M.  Bradley, Bishop  of  this  Diocese,  and  Rev.  Father Canning of Exeter visited Rev.  Father T.  E.  Reilly Monday and  inspected  the  new Catholic church now being  erected  here.”

(photo: St. Mary’s Church draped in black bunting for Father Reilly’s funeral)

November  13,  1897:  “John H.  Griffin is  building the furnace which will  be  placed  in  the  new Catholic  church.”

[Interestingly enough, early reports of the Catholic Church at the Stone Church location records it as “Parish of Newmarket, N.H.”  The first recorded Baptism on May 30, 1878,  lists the name of the church as St. Patrick;  in 1888, the name was changed to St. Mary. ]


Aryaloka Budhist Center

Over twenty-five years ago, in 1985, in the secluded woods off Grant Road, the Aryaloka Budhist Center built a compound with a meditation hall, comfortable common areas, and retreat facilities.  Founded with a vision of creating a center that would embody a comprehensive and collective Buddhist way of life, the mission explores the practice the Buddhist spiritual path based on the ideals of generosity, compassion, and awareness.

The Aryaloka Budhist Center is the largest and most established nontraditional Buddhist center in the Northern New England. The Aryaloka (”noble realm”) Buddhist Center, at 14 Heartwood Circle. The 12-acre site is the gathering place of over 100 people who form the sangha, or community. They are mostly blue collar, live within a mile of the center, and are between the ages of 35 and 65.  Virtually all came to Buddhism later in life according to Amala, a teacher at the Center.

Aryaloka has developed into the nucleus of a growing Buddhist mandala which reaches from Maine to Massachusetts. Classes, discussion and practice groups, and project “kulas” meet continuously where friends from all over the country gather for retreats.

It is affiliated with groups practicing in Maine, Massachusetts and New York City.  Several Buddhist-owned businesses and companies are located in the New Hampshire seacoast, where Buddhists create an environment of ethics and meaning in their workplace.  The Aryaloka Center serves a significant and expanding outreach program as well as providing meditation and Buddhist teachings to men in the New Hampshire State Prison.

The Founding of the Center

Viriyalila, an Order Member from Aryaloka, speaks of the founding of the Center.

I had contacted the founder of Aryaloka  to see if  he could provide me with some stories of the early days. Well, what he gave me was a draft of a book he was writing, which was pretty amazing! Using this, along with personal stories collected from some of our early pioneers, I was very happy to produce a fun and inspiring booklet telling at least one version of Aryaloka’s story of coming into the world.

From the very early beginnings, in a rented apartment/Buddhist gathering place in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts: “One day…while sorting through a pile of unopened general mail, a Buddhist Monk named Manjuvajra  ( an Englishman who came to the US in 1981 to teach) came across a flier that had been sent to the previous occupants - a yoga group. It was advertising the sale of an interesting property in Southern New Hampshire. It was an unusual place - a pair of geodesic domes joined in the middle, to form a sort of space ship resembling building. There were several large rooms as well as a number of smaller rooms and thirteen acres of woodland with a beaver creek running through the land. He took hold of the flier and put it aside with nothing more than an idle thought that this would be the sort of place that would make an ideal retreat center.”

Bob Ebberson [Thiradhamma] and Manjuvajra had often talked about the possibility of a country retreat place. Bob found Boston to be quite noisy on Friday nights with all the traffic and city sounds, the conditions were not well suited for meditation. Bob was envisioning a quiet deserted cabin, or even a shack, deeply set in the woods where 2-3 people could sit in peace and without external interruptions. Manjuvajra’s ideas were a little bit grander – a house perhaps, where a residential community could live and practice and work together, with extra buildings and rooms to accommodate visitors for large retreats.

On one Friday night, after completing their weekly meditation and puja, the subject of having a place of their own in the country in which to practice came up again. Manjuvajra hopped up off his seat, trotted off to the back room, and when he came back, he half-jokingly, yet excitedly grabbed the flyer advertising the domes in NH and thrust it into Bob’s hands.

“This is the place we want – big enough, close to Boston, quiet – and only a quarter of a million dollars!” They both laughed and then Bob, being an American, suggested that they actually go and look at the place. Manjuvajra, being British, thought he was joking but realized he wasn’t and when he’d overcome his reluctance to get too involved too fast, they called the owners and agreed a date to drive up to the New Hampshire Seacoast.” (7)

 In an article written on the 25th Anniversary of the Aryaloka Center, published August 17, 2010 in newsletter@seacoastonline.com Shir Haberman describes the first days of the Center:

“The two visited the location off Shady Lane on Heartwood Circle in Newmarket, viewed its interesting geodesic domes — originally built to house an alternative school, but never used for that purpose — and decided it fit the bill. What made the property even more interesting was that the owner was willing to finance the purchase, since neither Manjuvajra nor Ebberson had the necessary money.

“On July 26, 1985, the mortgage papers were signed. On Aug. 3, Manjuvajra, along with order members Ratnapani and Dharmabandhu, moved in, and, just a few days later on Aug. 9, Aryaloka’s first two-week retreat was held.

“Since that time much has changed. Order member Dayalocana, chairman of the Aryaloka board, who has been associated with the center for the past 21 years, spoke about the conditions the first occupants of the center faced.

“At first we only had wood stoves, and we spent our retreats stacking wood,” she said. “During the winters it was freezing cold. We had to wear hats and coats (while meditating) in the shrine room.”  The founding order members made wood products to keep the center going financially and got around using donated “junker” vehicles, Dayalocana said.

“It took total determination, and we never knew from month to month if we would make it, but it was wonderful,” she said. “There was this pioneering spirit, and we were giving the Dharma.”  The word “Dharma” is often translated as “The Path,” “the Teachings of the Buddha” or “The Way” in traditional Buddhist literature. It is also sometimes translated as “The Way Things Really Are” before being tainted by our preconceived notions of them….”  (8)



(1)    The Tide Turns on the Lamprey, Sylvia Fitts Getchell; and notes from H.K. Torrey’s History of Newfields, 1949.

(2)    D. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) Hurd’s History of Rockingham and Strafford counties, New Hampshire : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men  CHAPTER LVIII. NEWMARKET

(3) http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/13512.  Hampton Falls, New Hampshire: Beer Bottle on Church Steeple, 2012

(4)    The Old Stone Meeting House has a Long and Varied History, By GEORGE E. GRISWOLD, Newmarket Times, August 19, 1969

(5) The Stone Church website (http://www.stonechurchrocks.com)

(6) St. Mary’s History, New Market Historical Society website;  St.Mary’s website

(7) website for Aryaloka Budhist Center (http://www.aryaloka.org)

(8) Seacoast on line August 17, 2010