In Reading, the mass imprisonment started when a Quaker leader from the north came to visit. In order to hear the visiting leader, many of the local Friends convened a meeting in someone's home. The authorities raided that assembly and threw everyone into jail.
The following Sunday morning, authorities came to the Friends meeting house. Those few adult Friends who had been absent at the earlier meeting were seized and arrested. Ultimately, every Friend in Reading over the age of 16 was thrown into prison.
Though the adults were in prison, the children decided to keep their meeting.
At first, the young Friends gathered together outside of the meeting house, itself. However, their entry was impeded by armed guards and a padlock on the door! At last, they found a meeting space inside an empty granary nearby. And there, answering the call of God upon their own hearts, they met for worship.
Once again, the stillness of Quaker worship was disturbed by hostile authorities. At first, the soldiers were surprised to find only children. If the authorities felt awkward threatening children, they were soon able to overcome their feelings. The boys were hauled outside and beaten. All the children were sent home.
Although they faced routine harassment by the authorities, the children of Reading Meeting continued to meet for worship. In fact, these young Friends maintained the meeting at Reading until their parents were finally released from prison.