William Penn knew what he wanted: “A country life and estate I like best for my children.” By the spring of 1683, construction was underway on Penn’s home in the country. Today, his recreated 17th century estate sits on 43 picturesque acres along the Delaware River. Come for a visit and experience colonial life as it existed 300 years ago at Penn’s country home. Take a guided tour, explore our award-winning exhibit William Penn: Seed of a Nation, learn more about one of America’s most famous Quakers. Bring the family for a stroll through our garden, visit our friendly farm animals, and enjoy fun family activities. The past is waiting for you!
The English were skilled horticulturalists, participating in the exchange of plants and information throughout Europe and the colonies. Penn encouraged his gardeners to collect plants from the surrounding forests for use in the kitchen garden and shipping back to England. Quakers, like Penn, supported gardening and studying nature as a way of learning about the works of God. The position of an estate gardener was an important one. Gardeners needed to be able to read and write, be physically fit, and intelligent. The position was second only to the steward, and the gardener would assume responsibility if there was no steward.
Daily life in colonial times was dictated by the seasons of the year, far more than our lives are today.
Summer was a time for growing and preserving food. Long days served Pennsbury residents well as they tended gardens and crops, picked fruits and vegetables, and dried, salted, or pickled produce, herbs, or meat for use in the winter. During the summer the Penns might be in residence, with extra workers cooking elaborate meals for the Penn family and their friends, doing laundry, and possibly even serving on the rowing crew of Penn’s personal barge.
This question can be answered with a firm and resounding shrug of the shoulders. There simply is not enough information available to draw many conclusions about what Pennsbury looked like in 1700.
Archeology confirms a brick front and clapboard back, as reported by Penn in 1685 when he directed “what you can do with bricks, do, what you cant, doe it with good timbers … and we can brick it afterwards.” Unfortunately, Penn was never able to complete the brick work.
Pennsbury was not just a family home. When Penn was in residence, Pennsbury also served as his office and a center of colonial government. The green tiles on this fireplace hearth in the Porch were uncovered by archeologists during the reconstruction of Pennsbury in the 1930s.
Penn and other Quakers believed that everyone had to seek God in his or her own way. Penn also thought that religious tolerance – or “liberty of conscience” – would create stronger governments and wealthier societies. Other English thinkers in the 1600s shared these ideas. But Penn had the opportunity to act on his beliefs. In Pennsylvania, religious tolerance was the law.
Penn welcomed settlers from all faiths to Pennsylvania. Each of the other American colonies had established an official church, but Penn did not.
“A country life and estate I like best for my children,” William Penn
Situated along the Delaware River in beautiful Bucks County, Pennsylvania, this 43-acre country estate was the summer home of William Penn, founder and first governor of Pennsylvania.
Pennsbury Manor offers a variety of programs designed specifically for children. We are the only historic site in the country that relates specifically to William Penn, his contributions to Pennsylvania, and his impact on American history. All of our educational programs meet Pennsylvania history standards, and our hands-on approach to learning means that every student has the opportunity to be involved. Programs are offered Tuesdays – Fridays throughout the year. Our Education Program Coordinator will be glad to help you plan your Pennsbury Manor experience!
A distance learning program from Pennsbury Manor is a great way to bring history to your students from afar! Whether you are in the classroom, at home, or using hybrid learning, a distance learning lesson could be the perfect fit for you. This program requires a strong internet connection and access to a virtual learning platform. For more information or to book your program, please email our Education Program Coordinator, Kerry Scott, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Two weeks’ advance booking is recommended.
Learn about William Penn, the 17th Century and Pennsbury Manor from the comfort of your home! Our Virtual Classroom offers free, fun activities for students for both inside and outside the house. Just visit our Virtual Classroom HERE!
How would your students like to learn about the founding of Pennsylvania from the man himself? All Manor House to School House programs are provided by William Penn in the classroom. Each program runs 45-60 minutes in length and can accommodate up to two classes at a cost of $250. An additional program on the same day is $100. Call the Education Program Coordinator at 215-946-0400 to book your Manor House to School House program at least two weeks in advance.
Whether you are visiting as an individual family or as a larger group, Pennsbury Manor can help you plan a visit to meet your goals. Our homeschool programs are designed to introduce learners of all ages to the world of William Penn! Call or email our Education Program Coordinator, Kerry Scott, at email@example.com or 215-946-0400 to plan your visit.