The Quakers: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things
William Penn (1644-1718)
William Penn was born in London on 14 October 1644 to a naval officer father. He went to Oxford University but was a reclusive scholar, eventually being expelled for openly disapproving of the religious requirements.
Penn first encountered a Quaker missionary in Ireland at the age of 15 but it was not until the late 1660's when he was living in Ireland again that he began to attend Quaker meetings.
He was arrested for doing so and after declaring himself a member of the organisation, his father threw him out and threatened to withhold his inheritance. Initially relying on the kindness of other Quaker families for support, Penn went on to travel around Europe with George Fox.
Penn is perhaps most well know for eventually going on to establish Pennsylvania in America. He used his own life experiences to influence the Frame of Government, including freedom of religion, fair trial by jury and free elections in its charter.
He faced many personal troubles in his later life, dying penniless on 30 July 1718 at his home in Ruscombe, Berkshire.
Map of Pennsylvania, United States which gets its name from William Penn»