What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
Jordans and William Penn
=How to get there.=–Train from Baker Street. Metropolitan Railway. =Nearest Station.=–Chalfont Road (3 miles from Jordans). =Distance from London.=–22 miles. =Average Time.=–51 minutes. (Convenient trains, 10.27 A.M., 12.17 and 2.27 P.M.)
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 3s. 2d. 2s. 4d. 1s. 7d. Return 4s. 9d. 3s. 5d. 2s. 5d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–None at Jordans. =Alternative Route.=–Train to Uxbridge. Great Western Railway.
Jordans, the burial-place of William Penn, the great English Quaker and philanthropist, lies on a by-road in Buckinghamshire, leading from Chalfont St. Peter to Beaconsfield. The place itself, though full of the typical charm of English scenery in the home counties, does not contain anything of particular interest, and it owes its reputation to the associations with the wonderful man who lived and died there. Jordans is visited by many hundreds of tourists during the summer, mainly Americans. One of these offered to remove Penn’s remains to Philadelphia, capital of Pennsylvania, and there build a mausoleum over them; but the offer was declined.
The road runs south-west from the village of Chalfont St. Peter, and after a sharp curve brings the visitor to the Meeting House, a very plain and unobtrusive structure, dating from about the end of the seventeenth century. In the secluded burying-ground surrounded and overhung by great trees lies William Penn. Five of his children also rest among these quiet surroundings; and here are buried two well-known Quaker leaders, Isaac Penington and Thomas Ellwood. At the actual time of burial there were no gravestones, but these have since been added. Though the house as a regular place of meeting has long fallen into disuse, there is still an annual gathering of Quakers there in memory of the great dead.
Penn was the son of Sir William Penn, an eminent admiral, and was born in 1644. His violent advocacy of the Quaker creeds led him into continual trouble and several times into prison. In 1681 he obtained, in lieu of the income left by his father, a grant from the Crown of the territory now forming the state of Pennsylvania. Penn wished to call his new property Sylvania, on account of the forest upon it, but the king, Charles II., good-naturedly insisted on the prefix Penn. The great man left his flourishing colony for the last time in 1701, and after a troublous time in pecuniary matters, owing to the villany of an agent in America, Penn died at Ruscombe in Berkshire in 1718.
[Illustration: H.C. Shelley. THE JORDANS.
The burial-place of William Penn.]