Although allowing meetings at his home Thomas Fell never became a 'Friend'. He would though, in his later life, listen in on the meetings from the parlour. He no doubt had an interest in the Society and would want to keep an eye on what was taking place within his home. In 1658 Thomas died. Upon his death the Hall was left to his Wife Margaret, now a keen member of the Quakers. Today Margaret is often referred to as the 'Mother of Quakerism' and with good reason. Her passion for the religion led her to visit London in 1660 where she endeavoured to persuade Charles II to implement his promise of religious tolerance. It was through her persuasion that some 4000 friends were released from prison. Margaret herself was held in prison at Lancaster Castle in 1664 for refusing to stop holding Quaker meetings at Swarthmoor. In 1668 Charles II gave her a free pass and on her release she traveled South to visit other Friends being held in prison. She even married Quaker fonder George Fox who was busy spreading the religion though England and to America.
Swarthmoor Hall itself is a beautiful Tudor Manor House with many interesting features of the time both inside and out. There are wonderful mullioned windows across the house with some impressive bayed windows on one side, originally believed to be the front of the house. On this side there is also a wooden balcony on the first floor, a set of wooden stairs may once have risen to this platform. Above the door that leads to this balcony there is a well carved piece of sandstone forming the lintel which is worth a look. Within the building there is oak paneling galore, a rather interesting travel bed and staircase as well as many other features. We won't go into any detail about the interior of the Hall, you will have to visit for that!
Swarthmoor Hall is one of those hidden gems in Furness, many don't realise it is there but once you have found it you regret having not found it sooner. It is a tranquil and lovely place to visit with not only the attraction of the Hall but of some well kept gardens. It is a shame that such a significant building, the birth place of Quakerism, is today a largely forgotten place not often visited by tourists or locals alike, so why not take a trip yourself?