Jane Lead

(1624—1704) mystic and author

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Jane Lead was born in Norfolk in March 1623 and died in London on 19 August 1704. She moved to London in 1643, where she married her cousin William Lead in 1644. Widowed in 1670, she was thrown into extreme poverty, experiencing at the same time a religious crisis in which the Virgin Wisdom of God called her to live a virginal life. After 1674 she shared a house with John Pordage until his death in 1681. From 1694 she enjoyed the patronage of Dodo von Knyphausen, who provided her with a house in London and financed the publication of her works in both English and German. In 1697 the informal group associated with her constituted itself into the Philadelphian Society, which suspended its public meeting in 1703 and virtually collapsed after her death the following year. She enjoyed considerable authority in the Society, being addressed as Mother by its members. From 1699 Lead was blind.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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