A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1925.
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In this section
La Penne (xiii–xiv cent.).
The parish of Penn, containing Penn village and the hamlets of Penn Street, Knotty Green and Forty Green, covers an area of 3,991 acres, of which 1,664 acres are arable land, 722 laid down in permanent grass and 1,268 acres consist of woods and plantations. (fn. 1) The soil is heavy and contains chalk and flint, the former of which is worked in a pit in the south of the parish. The land rises from 223 ft. above ordnance datum in the extreme south of the parish to 563 ft. at the village. North of the village at Penn Bottom it drops to 372 ft., but rises again to 530 ft. at Penn Street, and in the north-west of the parish a height of 572 ft. is reached.
The village, which is small but scattered, presents a picturesque appearance, and contains some cottages of 17th-century date but refaced with modern brickwork. Its high position is said to render it remarkably healthy. The church stands near the eastern entrance, and there are several fine old yew trees in the churchyard. The vicarage adjoining is a substantial brick building dating from the first quarter of the 19th century. North-east of the church is the Crown Inn, a 17th-century house, and opposite are the Church schools, built by Lord Howe in 1837 and enlarged in 1909. Stonehouse, formerly Grove's Plat, the residence of Mr. Walter Grove, J.P., has for many generations belonged to his family. On the north side of the road is the recently enlarged Wesleyan chapel. At this end of the village is the commencement of Tyler's Green, a hamlet of High Wycombe, which stretches into Penn, with which it forms practically one village. The Baptist chapel built in the early 19th century on the top of Beacon Hill is in Penn parish, the road being the boundary between it and Tyler's Green. Near the pond stood Tyler's Green House, pulled down about 1822, which belonged to the Baker family in the early part of the 18th century and then to General William Haviland, who served under Wolfe at the siege of Quebec. In 1796 Edmund Burke founded in this house a school, which continued to 1820, for the children of those Royalists who had fallen in the French Revolution. (fn. 2)
Putnam Place to the north of the village, now divided into tenements, was probably built in the 15th century by one of the Puttenham family. The original hall with its open timber roof remains, though about 1600 it was much altered and divided into two stories, while towards the end of the 17th century the outside of the house was encased with brick and other alterations were made. The house at the west end of the roadway leading to Putnam Place, to which it was probably the lodge, was built towards the end of the 17th century and retains much of the original work.
Penn Street, which is a hamlet of Penn and an ecclesiastical parish formed in 1850 out of the civil parishes of Penn and Little Missenden, (fn. 3) lies about 2 miles north of Penn and contains 1,900 acres. The village is large and straggling and lies in one of the beautiful beech woods which cover the surrounding heights. These large woods are called Penn and the Common Woods, and contain in addition to beech many fine oak and ash trees. The church stands a little distance from the road with the woods stretching behind it. The vicarage, a modern building, lies opposite. The road leads past a group of small cottages, two of which, Ivy Cottage and the Forge, formerly forming one house, are of the 17th century, and turns south-east to Penn Street Farm and Penn House, the seat of Isabella Countess Howe. The house, which stands in a small wooded park, is an old building of brick, the remains of a larger mansion the greater part of which was pulled down about the middle of the 18th century. (fn. 4) Little Inkerman and Inkerman Farms lie to the north-west of Penn Street, and south-east of the village is Glory Farm, which probably derives its name from the Glory family, lords of Glory Manor in Wooburn, who also held lands in Penn in the 13th century. (fn. 5) This property afterwards passed to the Penn family, who in the 17th century owned Tyler's Garden alias the Glory Hop Garden (fn. 6) and a mansion-house called the Glory. (fn. 7) South of Penn House is Pennhouse Farm, and beyond this is Penbury Farm, which belonged to the Penns in the 17th century. (fn. 8) Half a mile south is an old gravel-pit.
A road leads south from Penn Church down Gatemoor Hill to the Parsonage Farm, a brick and timber house built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century, and another property of the Penns in the 17th century. (fn. 9) The road continues to Forty Green hamlet, where there are some 16th and 17th-century cottages, passing Eghams Farm, the old house of which is of about 1600, but now no longer used for a dwelling, the recreation ground and Hutching's Farm. The hamlet of Knotty Green lies to the north-east and contains Baylins or Balins Farm, probably on the site of the 16th-century Beelings Manor. (fn. 10) The timber and brick house dates probably from the early part of the 16th century with later additions and alterations. Seagraves Farm on the eastern border is doubtless on land once part of Segraves Manor, and may mark the site of the manor-house described in the early 17th century as 'an old awncyen farme house.' (fn. 11) The 17th-century timber and brick house is now converted into two tenements.
The parish was inclosed under the Act of 1845, and the award, dated 20 August 1855, is with the clerk of the peace. (fn. 12)
Among the place-names in Penn are Somlesmere in the 12th century, (fn. 13) known as Singlesmere in the 13th century, (fn. 14) and Conningbure Fields in the 17th century. (fn. 15)
Penn is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey, but the whole of the parish was attached to the honour of Leicester by the 13th century, (fn. 16) and afterwards passed to the duchy of Lancaster (fn. 17) as in Weston Turville (fn. 18) (q. v.), a reference to which occurs as late as 1650. (fn. 19)
Holding under the honour of Leicester were the Turvilles, of whom William de Turville and Isabel his wife, 1197–1200, are the first mentioned in connexion with Penn. (fn. 20) William was succeeded by his son, another William, dead before 1222, in which year his widow Maud and Isabel disputed as to their respective dowries. (fn. 21) Neither seems to have obtained PENN MANOR first so-called, which was divided among the sisters and heirs of William, Cecily wife of Roger Croft, Parnel wife of Simon de Creulton or Turville, and Isabel wife of Walhamet le Poure. (fn. 22) Isabel died without issue, (fn. 23) and in the same year (1222) the Turvilles and in 1224 the Crofts subinfeudated their lands in Penn, (fn. 24) the Turvilles retaining the position of intermediary lords (fn. 25) until 1329, when they transferred their rights to Sir Hugh de Turpleton, (fn. 26) whose interest was represented in 1361 by Walter de Turpleton. (fn. 27) The Crofts' rights at that date had descended to Ella le Botiller. (fn. 28)
At the subinfeudation which took place in 1222 the manor was divided into two portions, that part obtained by James Penn (fn. 29) retaining the name of PENN MANOR without any distinguishing appellative. The manor has continued in the Penn family and has come through the female line to their representative the present Earl Howe, but the links between the members of this family holding from the 13th to the 16th century have not been clearly established. Mention is made in 1228 of John son of David Penn and Adam son of Nicholas Penn, (fn. 30) and later in the century John Penn was in possession. (fn. 31) Another John Penn was living in 1329, (fn. 32) but died before 1339, in which year a settlement of the manor was made between his widow Joan and his son and heir John and Agatha his wife. (fn. 33) By Agatha John Penn had a daughter Joan, who married Henry Lingeyn, (fn. 34) but by his second wife Margaret, whose name occurs in 1347, (fn. 35) he appears to have had a son Thomas, against whom Joan Lingeyn as daughter and heir claimed the manor in 1376. (fn. 36) Thomas Penn must have established his right, for the manor descended to John Penn, (fn. 37) whose son David died seised of it in 1565. (fn. 38) David and his wife Sibyl had received a grant in fee in 1553 of Beamond Manor in Little Missenden (q.v), where the descent of the Penn family will be found. (fn. 39) Right of taking timber in his Penn estate was bestowed in 1618 on William Penn, (fn. 40) who was sheriff for the county in 1624, (fn. 41) but was said to have neglected his service at the musters in 1631. (fn. 42) His grandson William was also sheriff in 1656, (fn. 43) and it was he who died in 1693, (fn. 44) and not his son William, as stated in Little Missenden. (fn. 45) The latter, who was alive in 1686, (fn. 46) apparently predeceased his father, as another son Roger inherited the estates in 1693. (fn. 47) Roger Penn was sheriff for the county in 1706, (fn. 48) and on his death unmarried in 1731 (fn. 49) Penn passed as did Beamond Manor (q.v.) to the Curzons of Kedleston (fn. 50) (co. Derby), from whom it has descended to the present Earl Howe. (fn. 51)
The other portion of Penn was subinfeudated in 1222 to Stephen de Segrave, (fn. 52) from whose family it afterwards acquired its distinctive name of SEGRAVES MANOR. The subinfeudation extended over several years and does not seem to have been complete till after 1231. (fn. 53) Stephen, who was constable of Dover and warden of the Cinque Ports in 1231, was appointed chief justice of the King's Bench in 1232 (fn. 54) and died about 1241. (fn. 55) His son and heir Gilbert (fn. 56) by his first wife acknowledged in 1244 the right of the second wife, Ida Hastings, to dower in Penn, (fn. 57) but in 1253 he obtained from her and her second husband Hugh Pecche a renunciation of their claims in the manor for £16 a year during Ida's life. (fn. 58) Gilbert was succeeded in 1254 by his son and heir Nicholas, (fn. 59) who was summoned to Parliament as a baron, but lost his lands as ringleader of the rebellious barons. (fn. 60) On the petition of his sons John, Nicholas and Henry Penn Manor was restored for 22 marks in 1289 under the Edict of Kenilworth. (fn. 61) John de Segrave succeeded his father in 1295 (fn. 62) and obtained a grant of free warren in 1296. (fn. 63) He held Penn (fn. 64) until his death in 1325, when it descended to his son Stephen, (fn. 65) who died a few months later before proving his claim, leaving a son John, aged ten years. (fn. 66) The custody of the lands and heir was granted to Thomas de Brotherton Earl of Norfolk, (fn. 67) but a dispute arising in 1327 between Christina widow of John de Segrave and Alice widow of Stephen, his son, the manor of Penn was assigned to the former. (fn. 68) The Earl of Norfolk married his ward John de Segrave to his daughter and heir Margaret, (fn. 69) and these two held Penn in 1344, when it was settled on them in tail. (fn. 70) John de Segrave held Penn (fn. 71) till his death in 1353. (fn. 72) His widow Margaret obtained livery of the manor (fn. 73) and a year later was the wife of Walter de Manny, (fn. 74) who died seised of Penn in her right in 1372. (fn. 75) Margaret was created Duchess of Norfolk in 1397, (fn. 76) but died in 1400, when the right in Penn Manor descended to her grandson Thomas Mowbray (fn. 77) Earl of Nottingham, son of Elizabeth the wife of John Mowbray and daughter and heir of Margaret and her first husband John de Segrave. (fn. 78) Thomas Earl of Nottingham survived his grandmother by a few months only, and left a son Thomas, aged fourteen. (fn. 79) His widow Elizabeth, afterwards wife of Sir Robert Gonshill, received in 1400 a grant of Penn, then first called Segraves, (fn. 80) in dower. Segraves henceforward descends with Wing Manor (q.v.), but was alienated to Robert Dormer in 1519, (fn. 81) four years after he had acquired Wing. It was purchased of him in 1538 by William Gardiner and his wife Cecily. (fn. 82) The Gardiners held Grove Place in Chalfont St. Giles (fn. 83) (q.v.), with which Segraves now descended. They had trouble with the copyholders and inhabitants of Penn, who in 1554 sued William Gardiner for trespassing on the common of pasture in Segraves Woods. (fn. 84) His son John Gardiner, 'a gentleman of great abilitie,'was accused in 1585 by one tenant of holding five courts within six months in order to force the 'homage' to swear that the tenant had forfeited his copyhold by felling timber. (fn. 85) This John Gardiner alienated Segraves in 1596 to William Glover, (fn. 86) by whom it was probably conveyed, together with Grove Place, to the Fleetwoods, for in 1604 Henry Fleetwood sold the manorial rights to Thomas Waller and Dorothy his wife. (fn. 87) In 1607 Segraves was purchased of the Wallers by William Penn, (fn. 88) lord of Penn Manor (q.v.), with which it afterwards descended, though it does not appear to have preserved its identity as a manor after the first quarter of the 19th century. (fn. 89)
There was a dovecot appurtenant to Segraves in the 14th century. (fn. 90)
It was stated in the early 17th century that there were fourteen copyholders who paid a fine and heriot at death or change of tenants, the fine at the will of the lord of Segraves; while the freeholders, of whom there were thirty, paid rent for relief upon change of tenancy. No one was to hunt, hawk or fish without licence under penalty of £10. (fn. 91)
Holding under the Turvilles of the honour of Leicester in the 13th century was Osbert de Saunderton, (fn. 92) who had been succeeded by Alexander in 1316, (fn. 93) still holding in 1329. (fn. 94) This holding may perhaps be identical with the 16th-century HAMPDENS MANOR first mentioned in 1538 as the possession of Robert Dormer. (fn. 95) It descended with Segraves (q.v.) until John Gardiner conveyed it in 1594 to Henry Norton, (fn. 96) whose son Gregory, created a baronet in 1624, (fn. 97) sold the manor in 1650. (fn. 98) Gregory, who died in 1652, was an ardent Parliamentarian and signed Charles's death warrant. (fn. 99) He disinherited his son Henry for his loyalty, and the Gosmeds, who acquired Hampdens, obtained a renunciation of Henry's rights in 1658. (fn. 100) The manor is mentioned for the last time in 1677 as the right of John Cooker. (fn. 101)
BEELINGS MANOR, sometimes called Beelings Farm, attached to the duchy of Lancaster, (fn. 102) was held by William Lord Windsor at his death in 1558 (fn. 103) and passed to his son and heir Edward Lord Windsor, (fn. 104) who was in possession in 1568. (fn. 105) His son Henry Lord Windsor alienated it in 1593 to John Penn. (fn. 106) This manor, now known as Baylins Farm, descended with the other Penn estates to the present Earl Howe, (fn. 107) but it appears to have lost its manorial status, if it had any, about the beginning of the 17th century. (fn. 108)
The so-called PUTTENHAM MANOR, held of the honour of Leicester, (fn. 109) doubtless originated in land held by the Puttenhams, of whom Roger and Alice his wife were living in 1315. (fn. 110) On Roger's death Alice married Thomas de la Hay, holding in her right in 1340 with reversion to Roger's son Roger. (fn. 111) Isabel Puttenham, widow, owed suit of court for Puttenham in 1479. (fn. 112) Margaret widow of Nicholas Puttenham was holding the manor in 1506, (fn. 113) and in 1535 there is mention of George Puttenham as a land owner in Penn. (fn. 114) The present farm of Putnam Place probably marks the site of this manor.
The church of HOLY TRINITY consists of a chancel 33 ft. by 13 ft. 6 in., south chapel 15 ft. 6 in. by 12 ft., nave 57 ft. 6 in. by 20 ft. 6 in., south aisle 9 ft. 6 in. wide, west tower, north and south porches, and a south-west vestry; these dimensions are internal. It is built of flint and brick, the walls of the nave and tower being coated with rough-cast, and the roofs are tiled.
The nave, the west tower and probably the lower part of the chancel date at least from the early part of the 14th century, while some parts of the walling may be of a more ancient period; the south aisle and perhaps the south chapel were added about 1350, and in the 15th century the north porch was built, a clearstory added to the nave and the nave re-roofed. In 1736 the chancel and chapel were rebuilt in brick and of less thickness from the window level and the present south porch erected, while in 1865 the east wall of the chancel was again rebuilt in flint. (fn. 115) The bell-chamber is modern, but probably replaced one of the 15th century, of which there are fragments in a garden near the church.
The details of the chancel and south chapel are of the 1733 restoration, at which date the chancel arch was rebuilt. (fn. 116) In the east wall is a modern three-light window with head tracery. The windows throughout the nave and its clearstory and the south aisle are square-headed with trefoiled lights. The eastern window in the north wall of the nave is modern and the western of about 1500 is of two lights with tracery. The south wall is pierced by an arcade of three independent arches, each of two orders, which die into the responds. The eastern arch was rebuilt and widened on the west side during the 1733 restoration. Above the centre arch are indications of the existence formerly of a cross gable. The south aisle is lighted on the south by a 14th-century window of two lights with tracery, on each side of which is a two-light window of the 1733 restoration, having its upper part formed in a dormer. The south doorway here is probably of the same date as the dormer windows. There are three windows on either side of the clearstory, each of two lights. The clearstory windows on the south side are blind, being inclosed by the roof of the south aisle, which is made continuous with that of the nave. The western window on the north side of the clearstory has been much restored or is modern.
The tower, which is buttressed at the angles and surmounted by a plain parapet, is of three stages, undivided by external strings. The early 14thcentury tower arch is sharply pointed and of a single plain order springing from square jambs with moulded imposts. In the west wall is a blocked doorway, probably of 1733, above which is an original lancet. The second stage has a square-headed opening with a wooden frame in the west wall, and the bell-chamber is lighted by windows of two cinquefoiled lights under square heads. A clock was inserted in 1715. The walls of the north porch appear to be of a later date than the timber framing. The entrance archway which is of oak has a three-centred arch and traceried spandrels in a square head, of the 15th century, and in each side wall is a repaired rectangular opening. Over the entrance to the present south porch is a moulded beam, which may be a fragment from a 15th-century south porch. The roof of the nave is of 15th-century date and is composed of six traceried queen-post trusses with cambered tie-beams and curved braces and plastered ceiling. Two of the corbels supporting the trusses are carved with shields charged with two bars in chief three scallops, and the others are head corbels. The roof trusses in the south aisle have been adapted to the pitch of the present roof and the old timbers remain in the roof of the north porch.
The bowl of the font, probably of the 17th century, is covered with lead and is supported on a 12th-century Purbeck marble stem with base and a circular plinth. The oak pulpit was brought from Curzon Street Chapel in 1900. In the south chapel are the following four brasses: to Elizabeth Rok, who died in 1540, with an imperfect shrouded figure and a prayer for her soul and 'the soules of all trew bilevers departed'; to John Penn, who died in 1597, and Ursula his wife, the date of whose death is not given, with part of their figures, six sons and a shield with the arms of Penn impaling Waleston; to Susan wife of Sir Henry Drury (d. 1640), with her figure, a shield and a lozenge charged with the arms of Drury impaling Stewkley, and two mantled and crested helms; and to John Penn, who died in 1641, represented in armour, and Sarah his wife, daughter of Sir Henry Drury; with five sons and five daughters, and the arms of Penn impaling Drury; and at the east end of the south aisle is a brass to William Penn, in armour, who died in 1638, and Martha his wife, in 1635, with one son and two daughters, and a shield with the arms of Penn impaling Waleston. In the aisle is a stone coffin, probably of the early 13th century, on the lid of which is a defaced cross. On the north wall of the chancel is a tablet to William Penn, who died in 1693, with arms, and on the north wall of the nave is a tablet to Daniel Baker, who died in 1700, (fn. 117) and one to Daniel Baker, who died in 1727, and Martha his wife, who died in 1753, and on the west wall of the south aisle is a monument to General William Haviland, who died in 1784. There are many other later monuments in the church to members of the families of Penn, Curzon and Grove; also to Sophia Lady Howe (d. 1835) and Countess Howe (d. 1836), both by Sir Francis Chantrey.
The tower contains a ring of five bells: the treble and second by Samuel Knight of Reading, 1702, are inscribed 'I as trebell do beegin,' 'Feare God honour the king'; the third is by Thomas Swain, 1780; and the fourth and tenor by Samuel Knight, 1702, are inscribed 'In Penn tour for too sing,' and 'Unto the church I doo you call Deth to the grave will summans all.' The fourth was replaced in 1894.
The communion plate includes a silver-gilt cup and cover paten of 1597, with inscription 'Sacrum Deo et Ecclesia de Penn C. F. 1617,' a silver paten given by Rev. John Bennett, vicar, 1712, a silver flagon and alms-plate, both given by Daniel Baker in 1714.
The registers begin in 1560.
The church of HOLY TRINITY, Penn Street, erected in 1849, is a cruciform building of flint and stone in the Gothic style, consisting of chancel, nave, transepts, south porch and central tower with spire containing three bells. It was restored in 1900 at the expense of Earl Howe. The living is a vicarage in the gift of Earl Howe.
The advowson of Penn Church was appurtenant to Segraves Manor and reserved by the Turville heirs in 1231 on the subinfeudation of the manor. (fn. 118) Under the name of La Penne Chapel it was granted by them before 1241 to the Prior of Chalcombe (Northants), (fn. 119) by whom it was retained until the Dissolution. The church was valued at £13 6s. 8d. in 1291, (fn. 120) and in 1326 the prior gave 20 marks to appropriate the churches of Barford and Penn. (fn. 121) The appropriation cannot, however, have taken place, as in 1344 the prior again petitioned for licence, (fn. 122) which was duly obtained, (fn. 123) and the rectory and advowson of the vicarage thus instituted have always followed the same descent. (fn. 124) In 1535 the church was valued at £10 4s., (fn. 125) and the farm of the rectory was £8 13s. 4d. (fn. 126) In 1541 the advowson and rectory were granted for life to Sibyl wife of David Penn in recognition of her services as nurse to Prince Edward, (fn. 127) and in 1553 the grant was confirmed to her and her heirs in fee simple. (fn. 128) The Penns were lords of Penn Manor (q.v.), with which the advowson and rectory have since descended, (fn. 129) being at the present day vested in Earl Howe.
In 1847 William Clarke, by will proved at London 29 November, bequeathed £100 consols, the income to be applied in keeping certain tombs in repair and the surplus in the distribution of bread.
In 1859 Shelomith Clarke, by will proved at London 15 January, bequeathed £200 consols, the income to be applied in keeping certain tombs in repair and the residue applied in bread, clothing, blankets and linen to poor of seventy years and upwards.
The sum of £300 consols belonging to these charities is standing in the names of the Rev. John Grainger and two others; the dividend, amounting to £7 10s., is distributed in sums of 6s. or thereabouts to each recipient.
The Curzon Charity.
In 1750 a sum of £1,000 was given by Sir Nathaniel and Mrs. Eleanor Curzon for a school and other charitable purposes. This sum was laid out in part purchase of Fragnal Farm.