William Penn's New Town

William Penn's New Town (HMJWE)

Location: Newtown, PA 18940 Bucks County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 13.944', W 74° 56.273'

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Newtown Heritage Walk No. 14

On March 4, 1681, Charles II granted William Penn a vast tract of land in the New World as payment for the debt the King owed Penn's father. The tract awarded to Penn included all of the land west of New Jersey, north of Maryland and south of New York. On July 15, 1682, Penn purchased the same land from the Native Americans. William Penn's Surveyor General, Thomas Holme, arrived in 1682, surveyed the land and produced one of the first maps of Pennsylvania and Newtown in 1687.

On the earliest maps, the 5,000 acres that originally comprised Newtown were originally called "New Township," which essentially evolved into "Newtown." Legend says that William Penn called this area his New Township. The origin of the name Newtown cannot be proved, but Penn was at least aware of the name because it appears on a warrant he signed in 1684.

William Penn was very interested in the development of land in his new Colony. Penn's township plan was supposed to be a model for townships in Pennsylvania including Wrightstown and Falls Township, but Newtown may be the only township that actually was developed using the plan. Penn's plan included 16 farm plots that went out from the center in a fan shape with a common in the middle of 30-40 acres. Each farm lot was connected to the common by a townstead lot that was equal in size to ten percent or less of the farm lot. William Penn hoped to attract more settlers by giving them townstead land and farm land.

One of the original patent holders was Shadrach Walley. He received his patent for land in Newtown on March 22, 1681 only 18 days after Penn was granted the land by King Charles. Walley was the only one of the original patent holders to build his home on townstead land, and by 1703 he owned over 1500 acres in Newtown making him one of the largest landowners in the area.

Compiled from the research of Edward Barnsley, Norman Swayne and Thomas Mayer, three dedicated Newtown historians.
Year Placed2007
Placed ByThe Newtown Historical Association and Newtown Rotary Club
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 6th, 2014 at 3:07pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 505284 N 4453553
Decimal Degrees40.23240000, -74.93788333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 13.944', W 74° 56.273'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 13' 56.64" N, 74° 56' 16.38" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)215, 267
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 179-199 N Sycamore St, Newtown PA 18940, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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