Margaret Fell (1614–1702)

Author of Undaunted Zeal: The Letters of Margaret Fell

Includes the names: Margaret Fell, Margaret Fell Fox

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Margaret Askew was born in a small town in Lancashire (now Cumbria). At age 17, she married to Thomas Fell, a lawyer and later a judge, with whom she had nine children. In 1652, she was converted to Quakerism by the charismatic George Fox, founder and leader of the Society of Friends. The Fell home of Swarthmore Hall in north west England became a popular religious meeting place. Following the death of her husband in 1658, Mrs. Fell became more closely involved with Quaker affairs and her home became a haven for those persecuted for their beliefs. When George Fox was arrested in her house, she pleaded his cause with the authorities. She was later fined and imprisoned for allowing illegal Quaker meetings to take place in her home and for refusing to take the oath of allegiance to the Crown when she was brought into court. She and George Fox were married in 1669. Margaret wrote works defending women who spoke in church, including Women’s Speaking Justified (1666). Some of her other works were A Testimonie of the Touchstone (1656), and A Loving Salutation to the sted of Abraham and the Jewes; An Evident Demonstration to God’s Elect (1660). Surviving both husbands by a number of years, Margaret continued to play an active role in Quaker affairs well into old age. Swarthmore Hall now belongs to the Society of Friends and Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania was named after it.
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