Margaret Fell (1614-1702)
Margaret Fell, afterward wife of George Fox, was the wife of Judge Thomas Fell, of Swarthmore Hall, near Ulverston, when Fox came there in June 1652, after his wonderful weeks among the Westmoreland Seekers. Swarthmore Hall became the center for the Quaker "Publishers of Truth" and Margaret Fell the nursing mother of the new movement. In 1669, eleven years after her first husband's death, she married Fox, though his service for the Church prevented them from living much together at Swarthmore. The six Fell daughters who were living at the time of the second marriage all became prominent Friends.
In the year 1652 it pleased the Lord to draw him [George Fox] towards us... My then husband Thomas Fell was not at home at that time but gone the Welsh circuit, being one of the Judges of Assize, and our house [Swarthmore Hall] being a place open to entertain ministers and religious people at, one of George Fox his friends brought him hither, where he stayed all night. And the next day, being a lecture or a fast day, he went to Ulverston steeplehouse, but came not in till people were gathered; I and my children had been a long time there before. And when they were singing before the sermon, he came in; and when they had done singing, he stood up upon a seat or form and desired that he might have liberty to speak. And he that was in the pulpit said he might. And the first words that he spoke were as followeth: "He is not a Jew that is one outward, neither is that circumcision which is outward; but he is a Jew that is one inward, and that is circumcision which is of the heart." And so he went on and said, How that Christ was the Light of the world and Lighteth every man that cometh into the world; and that by this Light they might be gathered to God, &c. And I stood up in my pew, and I wondered at his doctrine, for I had never heard such before. And then he went on, and opened the Scriptures, and said, "The Scriptures were the prophets' words and Christ's and the apostles' words, and what as they spoke they enjoyed and possessed and had it from the Lord." And said, "Then what had any to do with the Scriptures, but as they came to the Spirit that gave them forth. You will say, Christ saith this, and the apostles say this; but what canst thou say? Art thou a child of Light and hast walked in the Light, and what thou speakest is inwardly from God? &c." This opened me so that it cut me to the heart; and then I saw clearly we were all wrong. So I sat me down in my pew again, and cried bitterly. And I cried in my spirit to the Lord, "We are all thieves, we are all thieves, we have taken the Scriptures in words and know nothing of them in ourselves." So that served me, that I cannot well tell what he spake afterwards; but he went on in declaring against the false prophets and priests and deceivers of the people.
And there was one John Sawrey, a Justice of Peace and professor, that bid the churchwarden "Take him away," and he laid his hands on him several times, and took them off again and let him alone; and then after awhile he gave over and came to our house again that night. And he spoke in the family amongst the servants; and they were all generally convinced, as William Caton, Thomas Salthouse, Mary Askew, Anne Clayton and several other servants. And I was stricken into such a sadness I knew not what to do, my husband being from home. I saw it was the truth, and I could not deny it; and I did as the apostle saith, I "received the truth in the love of it." And it was opened to me so clear that I had never a tittle in my heart against it; but I desired the Lord that I might be kept in it, and then I desired no greater portion.
Margaret Fox's testimony to George Fox, in Fox's Journal, bicent. ed., 1891, vol. 2, pp. 512, 513.