Friday, March 24, 2017

Quaker Women Series: Mary Fell Lower

Mary Fell Lower (1647-1720)

We already learned about Elizabeth Hooton, the oldest (and first) person to preach in public (she was around 70 years old).  Now, let’s learn about the youngest!  Mary Fell, daughter of Margaret Fell, was the youngest to preach in public in the 1650s.  She was 8 years old. 

Young Mary was privy to George Fox’s preaching and she is included in the list of names of the Fell household who were “convinced.”  She was approximately 5 years old at that time.  She traveled with her mother, along with her sister, Sarah, when Margaret met with the king regarding the law requiring Quakers to take an oath to the king.  When Margaret herself refused to take the oath and was imprisoned, her daughters tried to get the king to intercede on their mother’s behalf but his hands were tied when it came to matters of parliament. 

While she may not have had a choice of what her mother did or where her mother went and she needed to accompany her because she was a child, nobody forced her to tell an Anglican priest, “Lampitt, the plagues of God shall fall upon thee and the seven viols shall be poured upon thee and the millstone shall fall upon thee and crush thee as dust under the Lord’s feet how can thou escape the damnation of hell.”

After nearly five years of imprisonment, Margaret was released just prior to Mary’s marriage to Thomas Lower, a Quaker who was also convinced by Fox.  The year was 1668. She was 21 years old.

I have not been able to find much information on Mary’s personal ministry.  She had ten children but only five children lived beyond infancy.  In 1676 she and Thomas moved their family to Marsh Grange, the birthplace of her mother.

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