New Castle to celebrate ‘William Penn Day’ on Oct. 23

Charlie Megginson Culture, Headlines

New Castle County Court House. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

The City of New Castle will celebrate ‘William Penn Day’ this Saturday, Oct. 23 at the New Castle Court House Museum.

The event will feature a day-long series of activities to commemorate the 339th anniversary of Penn’s Oct. 27, 1682 disembarkment at New Castle, his first landing in the New World.

Activities will include:

  • Livery of Seisin ceremony. Historical interpreters re-enact the ceremony in which the town of New Castle, and a 12-mile circle of land surrounding it, were conveyed to William Penn by appointed representatives of the Duke of York. 10 a.m.
  • “The Tryal of William Penn.” Historical play about the 1670 trial of William Penn who was accused of unlawful assembly and inciting a mob by preaching to a group of Quakers on a London street. Issues of religious freedom and the rights of a jury are explored in this 30-minute performance. Audience members may participate in the trial as witnesses and as members of the jury. 11:30 a.m.
  • “The Wives of William Penn.” Historical interpreter Kim Elisee will introduce visitors to William Penn’s wives Guliema and Hannah, remarkable women who made possible Penn’s dream of his propriety — Pennsylvania. 2 p.m.
  • Tours of the New Castle Court House Museum. 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Constructed in 1732, the New Castle Court House is one of the oldest active court buildings in the United States and was Delaware’s first state capitol. It was at the site where the Colonial Assembly passed the 1776 Separation Resolution creating Delaware State.

During its nearly 300 years of history, the National Historic Landmark has played pivotal roles in the political, social and commercial life of both New Castle and Delaware. The museum is a partner site in the First State National Historical Park.

The museum is located at 211 Delaware Street in New Castle.

Admission for all programs is free and open to the public. For additional information, call (302) 323-4453.

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