While the historic Newtown Quaker Meetinghouse is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, activities continue on Zoom every Sunday.
On Mother’s Day, various members of Newtown Quaker Meeting will read poems they have written and tell stories about mothers, including Margaret Fell (1614-1702), the “Mother of Quakerism,” at 9:45 a.m. Sunday, May 3 via Zoom.Zoom Meeting for Worship in the manner of Friends is at 11 a.m.
Fell, one of the founders of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) was English gentry, married to Thomas Fell, a barrister, and the lady of Swarthmoor Hall in Lancaster, England.
In late June 1652, George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, visited Swarthmoor Hall. Margaret Fell became a Quaker and Swarthmoor Hall became a center of Quaker activity, especially after her husband’s death in 1658.
She served as an unofficial secretary for the new movement, wrote epistles, including “Womens Speaking Justified,” in which she advocated for a woman’s ability to preach, and raised funds for Quaker activities.
She traveled to London to petition King Charles II and his parliament in 1660 for freedom of conscience in religious matters, was arrested in 1664 for failing to take an oath and allowing Quaker Meetings to be held in her home, and was sentenced to life imprisonment and forfeiture of her property.
After being released from jail by order of the King in 1668, she married George Fox and remained active in the affairs of the Quakers until her death at age 87 in 1702. She was buried in an unmarked grave in the Society of Friends’ burial ground at Sunbrick in Lancaster.