Location : Ulverston
Grid Ref : SD 283773
Swarthmoor Hall, Swarthmoor Hall Lane, Ulverston, LA12 0JQ. Tel 01229 583204
Swarthmoor Hall, near Ulverston is an Elizabethan house, and is of great importance to the Society of Friends, the Quakers, for it was here that their founder, George Fox, dictated his ‘Journal’.
Swarthmoor Hall was the home of Judge Thomas Fell and his wife Margaret. In 1652 George Fox had a vision on Pendle Hill in Lancashire, which led him to discover the ‘Westmorland Seekers’. This group worshipped without priests or leaders, settling into silence with any who felt moved by the Holy Spirit. These people became Fox’s apostles, and within weeks of Fox’s first gathering at Firbank Fell, between Kendal and Sedbergh, he had found his way to Swarthmoor.
Although not converted to Quakerism, Judge Fell listened and eventually became an admirer. From this point on, Swarthmoor became a nerve centre of the Quaker movement. Travelling Friends evangelists came to receive encouragement. Margaret Fell administered a fund to help those imprisoned for the faith.
Eleven years after Judge Fell’s death, Margaret married George Fox. Fox bought some land nearby, and established the Swarthmoor Meeting House, which still exists to this day.
After marrying Margaret, George stayed at Swarthmoor long enough, between his constant journeying and imprisonment, to write his ‘Journal’. Many Quakers visited Swarthmoor Hall, the most famous being William Penn in 1676. He went on to found a Quaker community in Pennsylvania, North America.
Swarthmoor Hall is open to the public from March to October, and at other times by appointment. Opening times Monday to Friday 10.30 to 4.30 and Sunday 1.30 – 4.30. Audio guides are available. Price Adults £6, children £4.
Swarthmoor Hall is now owned by the Society of Friends. It is interesting as an example of a good 17th Century gentry house, better than a statesman’s home, though not as good as grand houses like Levens or Sizergh. The beautifully preserved Elizabethan house has mullioned windows, an unusual staircase, much oak panelling and period furniture.
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