Penn studied law at one of London’s Inns of Court, Lincoln’s Inn. But he left almost immediately to go to sea and observe his father’s naval command for three weeks.
During the 1660s, a number of devastating events left an impact on Penn, who was only in his 20s. In 1665, the Great Plague spread through London and killed 68,596 people. A year later, the Great Fire of London burned its way through 373 of 450 acres located within city walls, which included over 13,000 homes. In 1667 the Dutch then sailed up the Thames and set another fire, which burned through the English shipping industry. These disasters influenced the way Penn laid out the City of Philadelphia. For example, he planned for his “country towne” buildings to be made of brick and separated by plenty of open space to prevent fires.