Francis Howgill

Francis Howgill

Francis Howgill (1618-November 20, 1668) was a prominent early member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in England. He preached and wrote on the teachings of the Friends and is considered one of the Valiant Sixty--men and women who were early proponents of Friends beliefs and who suffered for those beliefs.

Howgill was born in a farming community in Westmorland in northern England. He made his living as a farmer and a tailor. He had studied theology and wondered which sect or denomination was the right one. He explored the teachings of the Anabaptists, the Independents, and the Seekers. Howgill was a leader and preacher among the Seekers in Westmorland when he first encountered George Fox, an early leader in the Friends movement. While hearing George Fox preach in 1652 on a hill called Firbank Fell, he was convinced that the Friends message was true.

Soon after his convincement, Howgill was imprisoned in Appleby-in-Westmorland for following his Quaker beliefs. Afterwards he met Edward Burrough. The two of them spread the Quaker message together and became close friends. They established the Religious Society of Friends in London. They also worked in Bristol and Ireland.

The Quakers in London came under the influence of James Nayler. When Fox parted company with Nayler in 1656, Howgill tried unsuccessfully to bring about a reconciliation.

Howgill was married first to a woman named Dorothy. After her death in 1657 he married Mary, who is counted, along with him, as one of the Valiant Sixty, a group of early Quaker preachers and missionaries.

Howgill was imprisoned again in Appleby for several years. During that time people came to support him and to seek advice. He died while still in prison.

Works by Howgill

*"The Dawnings of the Gospel-Day, and its Light and Glory Discovered", pub. 1676.

External links

* [ David Murray-Rust's History of Quakerism]
* [ Texts of Some Epistles by Francis Howgill and Robert Barclay, Jointly]
* [ The Quaker Women Online entry for Hester Biddle, who converted to Quakerism after hearing Burrough and Francis Howgill preach]

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