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Chester County Press

Red Rose Rent Day returns on Sept. 25

09/19/2021 11:55PM ● By Steven Hoffman

The Red Rose Rent Day will return in Penn Township on Saturday, Sept. 25 after the event has not taken place for the last 36 years. 

The Penn Township Board of Supervisors and the township’s Historical Commission are inviting the community to join in the revival of this auspicious event grounded in local lore. It will begin at 11 a.m. at the Red Rose Inn, which is situated in the heart of Penn Township at 804 W. Baltimore Pike. The Red Rose Inn is now owned by the township and has been extensively renovated.

Speakers at the event include Penn Township Board chairperson Victor Mantegna, Penn Historical Commission vice chairperson Scott Steele, State Sen. Carolyn Comitta, and State Rep. John Lawrence,. The speakers will outline the history and importance of historical preservation and oversee the payment of the red roses to Cuyler Walker, a descendant of William Penn. 

At the Red Rose Rent Day, William Penn, himself (portrayed by Bob Gleason of the American Historical Theater in Philadelphia) will also be on hand to provide his own unique historical perspective.  

The Rose Ceremony will be followed by an Open House from noon to 4 p.m. both Saturday, Sept. 25 and Sunday, Sept. 26, with tours of the Red Rose Inn guided by members of the Penn Township Historical Commission. The Historical Commission members have dedicated literally thousands of hours over the past few years preparing the Inn for this occasion. 

The tradition of Red Rose Rent Day dates to 1731 when land now occupied by the Red Rose Inn was granted to William Penn, the grandson of the Founder of Pennsylvania, for the sum of one red rose to be paid yearly, if demanded. This agreement represents the oldest deed of its kind in America. 

The practice of Red Rose Rent Day was revived by Star Roses in 1937. The last Red Rose Rent Day was held in the late 1990s. 

The township took ownership of the Red Rose Inn in 2011, saving it from foreclosure, with the intent of preserving the historic property for the community. Since then, the Board and Historical Commission have worked diligently to restore the historical character of the property. The reinstatement of Red Rose Rent Day and opening of the Inn for tours are the culmination of that effort. 

Parking is available at the Red Rose Inn site. While the Red Rose ceremony will be outdoors, masks are required indoors for the tours. 

For more information, please contact [email protected] or call 610-869-9620.