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The Old Hall

Swarthmoor Hall is undergoing a remarkable transformation. An ongoing programme of essential repairs and restoration will ensure its future. Our doors is now open, visitors are now able to engage with the heritage conservation taking place.

Family home

A distinctive Grade II* listed building nestled in serene gardens and grounds, Swarthmoor Hall was the 17th-century home of the Fell family. Built around 1600 by the lawyer George Fell, the Hall was later bequeathed to his son, Judge Thomas Fell, who lived there with his wife Margaret and their eight children.

The hall contains exquisite examples of 17th-century carved panelling and a unique original staircase. Each room is furnished with original 17th-century pieces that represent what would have been there at the time the Fells lived in the Hall.

The downstairs rooms were restored in the early 20th-century by Emma Clarke Abraham, a descendant of the Fells. Her beautiful hand-carvings and attention to detail maintain the character of the Hall and add a fascinating layer to the story.

Cradle of Quakerism

Margaret Fell became a leader in the early Quaker movement, following the visit of founding Quaker George Fox to the hall in 1652. She organised the expanding network of Quakers while running the Swarthmoor estate and raising her young children. The hall was always open to travelling Quakers and became a place of worship for the local community.

Early Quakers faced intense persecution due to their radical belief in equality and their rejection of the established church. Swarthmoor Hall was the location of numerous raids and arrests and Margaret Fell spent a total of five years in prison for holding meetings in her home.

Some years after Thomas Fell died, George Fox and Margaret Fell got married, and George Fox returned to the Hall intermittently during his lifetime, writing his famous journal here in 1675.

Following a programme of restoration, the story of the hall and the early years of Quakerism has been re-told in an immersive new way, including many documents from Margaret Fell’s personal archive. We invite you to come and discover the lives of the Fell family and their extraordinary faith.

The Old Hall opening times

10am to 4pm – Wednesday to Friday

Filming

Enlightening the future: school group visits

We are delighted to extend a warm welcome to school groups, offering a specially curated programme of activities. For bookings and enquiries relating to school group visits, please contact us at info@swarthmoorhall.co.uk.