George Fox

George Fox
Fox by Lely 2.jpg
Supposed portrait [1]
Church Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Personal details
Born July 1624
Drayton-in-the-Clay, Leicestershire, England
Died 13 January 1691 (aged 66)
London, England
Denomination Quaker
Parents Christopher Fox (father) and Mary Lago (mother)
Spouse Margaret Fell ( née Askew)
Occupation Founder and religious leader of Quakers
Signature George Fox's signature

George Fox (July 1624 [2] – 13 January 1691) was an English Dissenter and a founder of the Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as the Quakers or Friends.

The son of a Leicestershire weaver, Fox lived in a time of great social upheaval and war. He rebelled against the religious and political authorities by proposing an unusual and uncompromising approach to the Christian faith. He travelled throughout Britain as a dissenting preacher, for which he was often persecuted by the authorities who disapproved of his beliefs.

In 1669, Fox married Margaret Fell, the widow of one of his wealthier supporters; she was a leading Friend. His ministry expanded and he undertook tours of North America and the Low Countries. Between these tours, he was imprisoned for more than a year. He spent the final decade of his life working in London to organize the expanding Quaker movement.

While his movement attracted disdain from some, others such as William Penn and Oliver Cromwell viewed Fox with respect.

Early life

Memorial to Fox's birthplace, situated on George Fox Lane in Fenny Drayton, England

George Fox was born in the strongly Puritan village of Drayton-in-the-Clay, Leicestershire, England (now known as Fenny Drayton), 15 miles (24 km) west-south-west of Leicester. He was the eldest of four children of Christopher Fox, a successful weaver, called "Righteous Christer" [3] by his neighbours, and his wife, Mary née Lago. Christopher Fox was a churchwarden and was relatively wealthy; when he died in the late 1650s he left his son a substantial legacy. [4] From childhood Fox was of a serious, religious disposition. There is no record of any formal schooling but he learned to read and write. "When I came to eleven years of age", he said, "I knew pureness and righteousness; for, while I was a child, I was taught how to walk to be kept pure. The Lord taught me to be faithful, in all things, and to act faithfully two ways; viz., inwardly to God, and outwardly to man." [5] Known as an honest person, he also proclaimed, "The Lord taught me to be faithful in all things...and to keep to Yea and Nay in all things." [6]

As he grew up, his relatives "thought to have made me a priest" but he was instead apprenticed to a local shoemaker and grazier, George Gee of Mancetter. [7] This suited his contemplative temperament and he became well known for his diligence among the wool traders who had dealings with his master. A constant obsession for Fox was the pursuit of "simplicity" in life, meaning humility and the abandonment of luxury, and the short time he spent as a shepherd was important to the formation of this view. Toward the end of his life he wrote a letter for general circulation pointing out that Abel, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses and David were all keepers of sheep or cattle and therefore that a learned education should not be seen as a necessary qualification for ministry. [8]

George Fox knew people who were "professors" (followers of the standard religion), but by the age of 19 he had begun to look down on their behaviour, in particular drinking alcohol. He records that, in prayer one night after leaving two acquaintances at a drinking session, he heard an inner voice saying, "Thou seest how young people go together into vanity, and old people into the earth; thou must forsake all, young and old, keep out of all, and be as a stranger unto all." [9]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: George Fox
brezhoneg: George Fox
català: George Fox
čeština: George Fox
Cymraeg: George Fox
Deutsch: George Fox
español: George Fox
Esperanto: George Fox
euskara: George Fox
فارسی: جورج فاکس
français: George Fox
한국어: 조지 폭스
Bahasa Indonesia: George Fox
italiano: George Fox
ქართული: ჯორჯ ფოქსი
Latina: Georgius Fox
latviešu: Džordžs Fokss
magyar: George Fox
Nederlands: George Fox
norsk: George Fox
Nouormand: George Fox
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਜਾਰਜ ਫੌਕਸ
Plattdüütsch: George Fox
polski: George Fox
português: George Fox
русский: Фокс, Джордж
Simple English: George Fox
slovenčina: George Fox
српски / srpski: Џорџ Фокс
suomi: George Fox
svenska: George Fox