Scope and Content note
This collection is composed 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 (i.e. her 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), description of a battle at London between "Parliment and the King" at Houndslow-heath. Description of the English Civil War and upheaval it caused.
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 she 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 Mary learnt much from her. There is no evidence that Mary 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 Mary married Sir William Springett, one of Katherine’s sons. The couple had one son, John Springett.
However the English Civil War between King and Parliament was now raging in many parts of the country, and William was soon serving 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 3rd February 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, Mary Springett 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.