William Penn

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William Penn

William Penn was born and raised in England, but he is well known for what he did in the Americas. First and foremost, William Penn was a religious nonconformist and writer: he wrote numerous religious books over his lifetime. Second, Penn is responsible for the “holy experiment”: the colony of Pennsylvania. He was a Quaker advocate, and as a proprietor had the opportunity to practice the Quaker Peace testimony.

Penn was interested in religion from the time he was a child. When he was twelve years old he had the opportunity to hear testimony from a traveling Quaker minister, Thomas Loe. Penn was touched by Loe’s message, and sought the ‘authentic Christian message’ rather then focusing on ‘institutional’ religion. At the age of 16, Penn started attending Oxford University. It was at Oxford University, that William began to reject Anglicanism and he began attending unauthorized prayer meetings. At this time, he was expelled for his “religious unconformity”. He then attended a Protestant school in France, where he completed his education.

When Penn turned 23, he converted and became a Quaker after another run in with Thomas Loe. He then began to write down his religious ideas, and took a lot of criticism from other scholars. Penn wrote the book Sandy Foundations Shaken which was considered “controversial and superficial” and for this, was imprisoned in the Tower of London. While imprisoned, Penn kept writing. He wrote the book No Cross, No Crown, which was a ...