|GEORGE WILLIAM (BILL) GILLETT FAMILY HISTORY||
BACK to the MORLAN FAMILY
BACK to MORLAN FAMILY STORIES
Mother of Quakerism
(11th generation Morlan)
Her 2nd husband
Father (founder) of Quakerism
MARGARET ASKEW was born in 1614 in England, the daughter of John Askew and Margaret Pyper. Margaret was the great-granddaughter of Anne Askew, the religious martyr who died at the stake July 16, 1546.
She married Thomas Fell in 1632. Thomas was born in 1598. They were the parents of eight children, 1 son and 7 daughters. Thomas Fell was a judge and a strong Puritan.
Throughout her marriage Margaret sought new ways to God. In 1652 (around 38 years old) she met the founder of Quakerism, George Fox. She immediately joined the Quaker movement.
From her earliest affiliation, the Fell's opened their home (Swarthmoor Hall) to the Society of Friends (although Judge Fell never identified himself with the Society of Friends). He did what he could to provide the resources his wife needed to further her cause and to protect his wife and her movement. When he died in 1658, about 60 years old, Margaret Fell's political protection was gone.
In 1669, eleven years after the death of her husband, Margaret married George Fox. At the time George was about 45 years old while Margaret was about 55 years old. Most historians credit George Fox with founding Quakerism but it was Margaret who contributed her fortune and administered the finances of the young church, publicly defended the religion, visited meetings and took care of correspondence.
In addition to being a missionary, preacher, and teacher, Margaret wrote at least 16 books and 27 pamphlets discussing and defending her religion.
She was arrested, questioned, tried, convicted and jailed for her activities. At one point she even had her property confiscated. Her property was restored to her several years later under the reign of a new monarch, Charles II. She was in prison at Lancarter Castle from 1664 to 1668. She was a prisoner because she refused to give up holding Quaker meetings at Swartmoor Hall. While in prison she wrote a number of her articles.
She was very much a feminist, probably 300 years before her time. Here is an excerpt from Women's Speaking ... Justified ...(1667):
A number of her writings can be found both in the library and on the internet.
She also went to prison in 1670 and 1671.
Her seven daughters traveled as Friends and married Quakers. Margaret traveled to London (usually with one or more daughters) in 1660, 1662, 1668, 1671,1673 and 1674 to plead for tolerance of Friends and George Fox's release from prison and to reassure local Meetings throughout England.
Her greatest gifts to Friends may have been the establishing of the Monthly Meetings for business, for women and men separately, by which marriages and burials, and Friends' needs as prisoners, orphans or fire victims could be met. She wrote Epistles to guide these meetings.
Margaret died February 23, 1701/02, in Swartmoor Hall (her home), Sunbreck, Lancashire, England, about 88 years old.