When first completed, the only special seats of prominence in the meeting-house were the deacons' seat and ‘the little pue under the pulpit.’
The latter was in full view of the congregation, but neither its occupant or the preacher were in sight of each other.
Early the next year (1697) the town voted to build a ‘seatt’ forward on each side the house, the front of said seats to be ‘borded and battened . . . the front of the foreseatt and the seat on the women's side, to be built from the pue to the place left for stairs into a gallery; and the seat to be made on the men's side to reach from the deacons' seat or shorter, which is left to the discretion of the selectmen’ and seating committee.
Here we have an insight at the interior arrangement and plan of the ancient structure.
‘The pue’ was what was later termed ‘the little pue under the pulpit.’
The latter was at the middle of the end farthest from the ‘Oborn rode.’
the present High street. The foreseat joined the pulpit and little pew, and extended to the right and was a step higher than the main or ‘lower flore.’
Then extending along the easterly side wall to within six or eight feet of the front corner was a platform one step high, whose front was ‘borded & battened.’
This construction was less expensive than panel work, and formed a screen before the women's seats, as does that in the present Unitarian and West Medford Congregational Churches.
This was on the women's side of the meeting-house.
On the opposite, or men's side, a similar ‘seatt’ was built, only there was no foreseat, the space being occupied by the pulpit stairs and deacons' seat.
In 1699 (March 6) the town voted to build a fore-gallery, with three seats from end to end (one-half for men and one-half for women) with stairs at either end. Stephen Francis
, John Whitmore
and John Bradshaw
attended to its construction.
At this town meeting the question of ‘charges’ the seating committee had to struggle with is in evidence.
had given the land, and it was fitting