The Penn Mead Trial
This pack contains the story of the trial and a play written using a biography of William Penn by Vernon Noble and a transcript of the trial available on the Internet at www.constitution.org/trials/penn/penn-mead.htm . The pack was designed for children in Key Stage 2 in years 4, 5 & 6. It also contains a lesson plan to go with the story and Teacher Notes that include ideas for follow up work to go with the play. There is also a Character List. The trial took place at a time of much unrest and persecution of religious groups whose worship was not “according to the liturgy and practice of the Church of England”. Quakers were one such group. Their meetings were disrupted and meeting houses closed. Quakers were thrown into jail and treated extremely badly, suffering physical hardships of an appalling nature. But nothing seemed to deter them and they were regarded [as summed up by diarist John Evelyn] as fanatics with dangerous principles, with no respect for magistrates or anybody else… William Penn was the son of Vice-Admiral Sir William Penn. He became a Quaker as a young man, causing his parents much distress in doing so. He was becoming well known as a Quaker, having written several books including No Cross, No Crown  which is still a Quaker “classic”. His friend, William Mead, came to London as a young man entering into business as a linen draper He was at one time also a Captain in the London Trained Bands. Prior to 1670 he joined the Society of Friends and held a leading position among them. The trial brought into focus civil and religious liberties. The right of a jury to return a verdict according to its conscience and the evidence put before it became a cause celebre. William Penn and William Mead were regarded as champions of justice. A verbatim report of the trial was published in a pamphlet by fellow Quakers.