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"An Abstract from the Life of Mary Pennington, formerly Springett"


Held at: Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections [Contact Us]370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Mary Penington (nee Proude) (1623-1682) was born in 1623, the only daughter of Anne Fagge and Sir John Proude, an army officer from Kent in the service of the States of Holland. In 1627, she was orphaned and came under the guardianship of Sir Edward Partridge, who was a bachelor. He arranged for her to live with guardians. When she was about nine years old, Penington came to live with Edward Partridge's widowed sister, Lady Katherine Springett, who had three children of her own. Katherine Springett practiced medicine, including surgery, and Penington learned much from her. There is no evidence that she was involved with medical practice herself, but much later she did pass on some of what she had learnt to her daughter, Gulielma.

When she was 18, Penington married Sir William Springett, one of Katherine's sons. The couple had one son, John Springett.

The English Civil War between the King and Parliament was raging in many parts of the country, and William soon served in the Parliamentary army. In 1643, he helped to recapture Arundel, on the south coast, but was then taken ill with a fever. He died on February 3, 1644, not long after Mary reached him. Their daughter was born a few days later and was named Gulielma Maria Posthuma. Gulielma would later marry William Penn in 1672. Katherine Springett went to live with Mary to help her to look after her children.

In 1654, Penington married Isaac Penington, the son of Sir Isaac Penington, the Lord Mayor of London. They settled in Chalfont Grange, near Chalfont St. Peter in Buckinghamshire, where they had five children. In 1658, Mary and Isaac Penington became convinced Quakers. Mary Penington died in 1680.

This collection is comprised of the single volume autobiographical manuscript of Mary Pennington. This copy is a handwritten copy of the original manuscript, though the copiest is unknown. The manuscript includes descriptions of Pennington's early life, the events leading up to her convincement (conversion to Quakerism), her attendance at Quaker meetings, a description of her marriage and her husband (Isaac Pennington), a description of her husband's family (particularly his mother), a description of a battle at London between "Parliment and the King" at Houndslow-heath, and a description of the English Civil War and upheaval it caused.


Processed by Kara Flynn; completed October, 2015.

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
Kara Flynn
Finding Aid Date
October, 2015
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Collection Inventory

Manuscript, Undated.
Volume 1

Print, Suggest