Elizabeth Hooton

Elizabeth Hooton (1600-72) was an early Friends minister. The leader of a group of General Baptists, she met George Fox in 1647 and became a mentor to him. She was the first person to join Fox in the Quaker movement as well as the first Quaker woman minister. Her gift for performing healing miracles was hootonletterwell-known. As a member of the Valiant Sixty, she travelled widely in central England and the Americas. Hooton was jailed in Derby, York and Lincoln for preaching Quakerism, suffering deeply from her imprisonments. In Massachusetts, by then elderly, she was stripped to the waist, tied to the back of a cart and whipped through the villages. She was also put in stocks, beaten, jailed and left in the forest to die. On her last visit to America, with George Fox, she died in Jamaica.

Hooton published the pamphlets False Prophets and False Teachers Described; To the King and Both Houses of Parliament; and A Short Relation Concerning William Simpson. She wrote what was perhaps the first Quaker document, a letter in 1651 to the Mayor of Derby telling him about her imprisonment in Derby jail and asking for justice.  Seventy-nine of her letters survive, a few addressed to King Charles II. Some of the letters contain eloquent passages.

A vibrant spirit, Hooton was greatly influential in the opening among Friends about the equality of women.

(Above is a letter from Hooton to Fox).

February 2017

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