accounts over the years:
- The Penns of Buckinghamshire
- William Penn of Minety, Wiltshire
- George Penn the Spanish Merchant
- The End of the William Penn Line
- Penn’s Store
- The Chinqua Penn Plantation House
The Penns of Buckinghamshire
At a property division in Penn in Buckinghamshire in 1222 the manor was
divided into two portions, that part obtained by James Penn retaining
the name of Penn Manor.
Seagrave Manor as it became historically belonged to the Penn family. David
Penn came in possession of the manor in 1565. His
wife Sybil Penn was a dry nurse and foster mother to Edward VI and the
Lady of the Bed Chamber to his sister Queen Elizabeth. William
Penn was sheriff of the county in 1624, his grandson William in 1656,
and Roger Penn in 1706. Roger Penn never married
and in 1735 the manor passed to his sister who had married Lord
William Penn of Minety, Wiltshire
William Penn of Minety must have been a person of some local
importance. When he died in 1591 it is believed
that he was buried in front of the altar at Saint Leonard’s church
there. A plaque commemorating his life was erected
in the church. This William Penn was the forebear
of a famous family which included his namesake, the founder of
George Penn the Spanish
George Penn, the eldest son of the Penn family, became “an
opulent merchant in Spain,” residing many years in Seville.
However, being rich and a Protestant, he was pounced upon by the
Spanish Inquisition in 1643 as a heretic, despoiled of all his estate,
cast into prison where for years he was subjected to torture and
flagellation. He was finally placed on the rack for four days
until in his agony he renounced the Protestant faith.
He was then taken through the streets of Seville to a church
where his confession and sentence was proclaimed “in the sight of
thousands.” His property was confiscated; his wife, a
Flemish woman, was divorced from him and ordered to marry a Spaniard;
and he himself was expelled from Spain. He was told that if he
either renounced the Catholic faith or returned to Spain he would be
burned at the stake.
Back in England, Charles II appointed him in 1664 as envoy to
reside at the court of the King of Spain in order that he could get
for his “sufferings, loss and damage.” But before he could take
up the position he unexpectedly died.
The End of the
William Penn Line
Although William Penn had fourteen children, only
William (his eldest son by his first marriage) and Thomas (his second
son by his second marriage) had living descendants. These
derived from Christina Gulielma, a granddaughter of William the eldest
son, and Sophia Margaret, the daughter of Thomas.
last remaining brother, who was heir to the Penn fortune, died in 1844
and left all his property to his eldest surviving son Granville John
Penn. The latter on his decease in 1867 bequeathed
in turn the family inheritance to the Rev. Thomas Gordon Penn, his
younger brother. This gentle scholar, however,
never entered upon the control of his possessions as the Court of
Chancery held him incompetent to manage property. He
was skilled in research activities and his lunacy was of a mild type. With
his passing in 1869, the male line from Willam Penn, the founder of
Pennsylvania, came to an end.
all Penn’s descendants of American nationality were from his first
marriage, i.e. his English branch; whilst his English descendants were
all from his second marriage.
Penn’s Store in Harrodsburg, Kentucky is said to be the oldest country
store in America run continuously by the same family.
Jack Penn was the first Penn to own the store sometime around 1850.
In the 1870’s ownership passed to his Dick who was born in 1852.
He married Isabelle May and they lived in a little house next to
Dick Penn was truly a man of many talents. Among his professions were
being a surveyor, dentist, druggist, and postmaster. He
was the community’s first postmaster and Penn’s Store was site of the
first post office in the area known as Rollings, Kentucky. Around
1910 the post office moved to Gravel Switch to be close to the train
which would stop in the town to get gravel from the creek.
After Dick’s death, his son Martin became the new store keeper. Martin
Penn, with the help of his five sons, farmed while also tending to the
store. However, one day in 1933, while raking hay
with a team of horses, the team got spooked and ran off with him. Martin’s
legs were entangled in the reins and he was dragged along the creek bed
near the store. Shortly thereafter he died from
His wife Sue, known as Mammy, became the new storekeeper. Along
with all of the children she kept the store running. She
lived onto the age of 92 and died in her sleep in 1972.
The Chinqua Penn Plantation House
The Chinqua Penn Plantation House is an English
manor home mansion near Greensboro, North Carolina that was built by
Thomas Jefferson (Jeff) Penn and his wife Betsy in the 1920’s. The
name Chinqua Penn was derived from the chinquapin, a species of
American chestnut once plentiful in the area but destroyed by a
chestnut blight in the 1930’s.
Penn reflected their lifestyle of entertaining, traveling, and
collecting art and furniture from around the world. The historic
landscape evolved into an exotic horticulture collection, changing with
each season. The Penn’s love of the beautiful and artistic was
manifested in the use of both native and imported plant material at
Chinqua Penn, maintained throughout the Penn’s tenure by their gardener
Jeff died in 1945 but his wife Betsy continued as the mistress of
Chinqua Penn for another fifteen years. Bob Boyles,
her chauffeur at that time, remembered her as a perfect lady from the
opened a car door for Mrs. Penn that she didn’t thank me. I
lost a real friend when she died.”
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