|Edward Bickersteth||1849 – 1853|
|Alfred S Butler||1853 – 1860|
|Thomas Bayley||1860 – 1886|
|J J Lindeman||1886 – 1899 Died in Office,
Buried 6th June 1899
|A L Mauby||1900|
|Arthur Browning||1901 – 1927|
|Francis James Sibree||1927 – 1928
|Ernest Davies||1928 – 1931|
|Vaughan F Bryan-Brown||1932 – 1947|
|W J Mathias||1948 – 1951|
|J W Rees||1952 – 1953|
|David Ainsleigh Jones||1954 – 1959|
|A E Paterson||1959 – 1966|
|Frank Wankling||1967 – 1975|
|Nigel Stowe||1976 – 2001|
|Matthew Boyes||2002 – 2006 (Priest in Charge)|
|William Mason||2007 – 2013|
|Peter Simmons||2015 – 2019
|Ruth Atkinson||2020 –
Edward Bickersteth the first Vicar of Penn Street, was born in Acton in Suffolk, into an ecclesiastical family: his father was the Rev John Bickersteth, sometime Rector of Sapcote; and his brother Robert was a future Bishop of Ripon. He was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1831, and migrated to Sidney Sussex College two years later, graduating B.A. in 1836. He also studied at Durham University in 1837. Ordained Deacon late 1837, he began his career as curate to Arch-deacon Vickers at Chetton, nr. Bridgnorth in Shropshire, and ordained priest January, 1839, curate at Holy Cross and St. Giles, Shrewsbury Abbey. He held incumbencies at Holy Trinity, Penn Street, 1849 – 1853, and St. Mary’s, Aylesbury, before being appointed Archdeacon of Buckingham. In 1866 he was nominated an honorary canon of Christ Church, Oxford.
In 1875, he was appointed Dean of Lichfield. His chief achievement as Dean was the restoration of the west front of Lichfield Cathedral, which was begun in 1877 and completed and dedicated on 9 May 1884. He resigned just a few weeks before his death on 9 October 1892.
He was twice married: first, on 13 October 1840, to Martha Mary Anne, daughter of Valentine Vickers of Cransmere in Shropshire. She died on 2 February 1881, and on 12 October 1882, he married Mary Anne, daughter of Thomas Whitmore Wylde-Browne of The Woodlands, Bridgnorth, Shropshire. She survived him. (Wikipedia)
Two Stained Glass windows in the newly built Holy Trinity, Penn Street church were presented by Edward Bickersteth and his wife Mary Martha Anne.
Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement
BICKERSTETH, EDWARD (1814–1892), dean of Lichfield, born on 23 Oct. 1814 at Acton in Suffolk, was the second son of John Bickersteth (1781-1855), rector of Sapcote in Leicestershire, by his wife Henrietta (d. 19 March 1830), daughter and co-heiress of George Lang of Leyland, Lancashire. Henry Bickersteth, baron Langdale [q. v.], and Edward Bickersteth [q. v.] were his uncles; Robert Bickersteth [q. v.] was his brother. Edward entered Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, graduating B. A. in 1836, M.A. in 1839, and D.D. in 1864. He also studied at Durham University in 1837. In that year he was ordained deacon, and in 1838 was curate of Chetton in Shropshire. In 1839 he was ordained priest, and became curate at the Abbey, Shrewsbury. From 1849 to 1853 he was perpetual curate of Penn Street and rural dean Amersham, in Buckinghamshire. In 1853 he became vicar of Aylesbury and archdeacon of Buckinghamshire. In 1866 he was nominated an honorary canon of Christ Church, Oxford. He was select preacher at Cambridge in 1861, 1864, 1873, and 1878, and at Oxford in 1875. In 1864, 1866, 1869, and 1874 he presided as prolocutor over the lower house of the convocation of Canterbury. During his tenure of office an address to the crown was presented by the lower house requesting that a mark of the royal favour should be conferred on him, but nine years elapsed before he was installed dean of Lichfield on 28 April 1875. As prolocutor he was ex officio member of the committee for the revised version of the Bible, and he attended most regularly the sittings of the New Testament section.
His chief achievement as dean was the restoration of the west front of Lichfield Cathedral, which was commenced in 1877 and completed and dedicated on 9 May 1884. He resigned the deanery on 1 Oct. 1892, and died without issue at Leamington on 7 Oct. He was buried at Leamington on 11 Oct. He was twice married : first, on 13 Oct. 1840, to Martha Mary Anne, daughter of Valentine Vickers of Cransmere in Shropshire. She died on 2 Feb. 1881, and on 12 Oct. 1882 he married Mary Anne, daughter of Thomas Whitmore Wylde-Browne of The Woodlands, Bridgnorth, Shropshire. She survived him.
Bickersteth, who was a high churchman, was the author of numerous sermons, charges, and collections of prayers.
PENN INCUMBENCY.-The Lord Bishop of Oxford has licensed the the Rev. A. S. Butler, B.A., to the incumbency of Penn-street. near Amersham. Vacant by the resignation of the Venerable Archdeacon Bickersteth, vicar of Aylesbury, on the nomination of Earl Howe.
Bucks Herald, July 23rd, 1853.
BA St Edmund Hall, 30th May 1846.
Curate, St. Mary’s, Pitstone, Bucks, 1847.
Vicar, Holy Trinity, Penn Street, 1860 – 1886
Presentation to the Vicar – April 27th 1886
Viscount Curzon, (Earl Howe, see footnote) M.P. for South Bucks, visited the Earl Howe’s day school on Bank Holiday, upon the occasion of an interesting ceremony in connection with the retirement of the Rev.T Bayley from the vicarage of Penn Street Church. His Lordship, in presenting a testimonial to Mr. Bayley, observed that the honour thus conferred upon him was greatly enhanced owing to the fact that the present was subscribed to by members of other denominations, regardless of creed or politics. It gave him the greatest possible pleasure to be the means of conveying to Mr. Bayley the heartfelt regard and esteem of such a large number of friends present – for he certainly must call them friends having been brought up amongst them during nearly the whole of his lifetime. the pleasure was also mingled with a large amount of sorrow, caused but the prospect of their so soon losing the presence of their respected and beloved Vicar, who had made himself so devoted to them by his self-sacrifice in every good deed and work. The parish was losing one whose place would not be easily filled, and whoever his successor might be, he (his Lordship) earnestly hoped he might prove himself worthy to follow in the steps of such a good man. In the name of the subscribers he begged to hand Mr. Bayley the token before him as a slight acknowledgement of past services and present esteem. (Applause.)
The testimonial consisted of a silver Queen’s reading lamp, and a silver fish carver and fork, upon which was engraved, “Presented to the Rev. Thomas Bayley by his parishioners as a mark of esteem held by them at the close of twenty-five years’ faithful ministry at Penn Street Church. April 27th, 1886.”
Mr Bayley, who was visibly affected, begged to thank all friends who has subscribed to the present before him, and also his Lordship for his great kindness in thus coming forward at great personal sacrifice to present the testimonial to him. Words failed him to express all that he felt at that moment. On looking back for a quarter of a century during which he had been amongst them he saw many changes; friends who were with him at the commencement of his ministry were gone to the grave and another generation had taken their place. He felt extremely happy in seeing such a large gathering assembled to testify the appreciation of his services; and he assured them all that when at some distance from them, and sitting in the light of the excellent lamp they had been pleased to present to him, he should should ever think of all his kind friends at Penn Street to the end of his days, whether that time should be long or short. He should also ever think of the loved surroundings of the place, especially the dear old Church, with its tall spire, seen from such great distance, peeping from the wood and pointing to the skies, where he sincerely hoped he should meet all his friends never to part again. He could not trust himself to say more words, but he heartily all those who had in any way contributed to the present now in his hands. (Applause.)
Mr Widdowson then thanked Lord Curzon for his great kindness in attending there that day; and begged in the name of the Committee to propose a vote of thanks to him. This was seconded by the Vicar and carried with acclamation.
Lord Curzon briefly replied, and apologised for the absence of Lady Curzon, who would have been exceedingly pleased to attend and show the great respect she felt for Mr. Bayley, but owing to an engagement at Slough of a similar nature to that in which they were engaged, she was prevented from attending. Ringing cheers were given for his Lordship at the close of the meeting (as also on his arrival) which were repeatedly acknowledged by him.
A public tea followed the meeting, when about 140 friends sat down to an excellent repast provided by Mr. Eggleton. The gathering was in every way a success, and was thoroughly enjoyed. A sacred concert was given in the evening, when Mr. Widdowson, in the absence of the Vicar from fatigue, presided. The admission being free, every available seat was occupied and standing room was taken advantage of where possible. The singing was accompanied on harmonium by Mrs. Winter and Miss Widdowson, who greatly assisted the various vocalists. The following was the programme, which was given throughout with great success, the pieces “Rest,” and “Abide with me,” being encored; but for the time of the evening, other as deserving would doubtless have shared the same fate; Chorus, “Children’s voices;” solo “Resignation;” Mr. Winter; trio, “How beautiful upon the mountains,” Miss Wingrove and Misses Copestake; solo, “Mark the vesper bells,” Miss Norman; duet, “Rest,” Miss and Mr. Widdowson; solo “Abide with me,” Mrs. Winter; solo, “The little hero,” Mr. Winter; anthem, “Jerusalem my happy home;” solo, “The better land,” Miss Widdowson; solo, “The crowded harbour,” Miss Boug; recitation, “The life-boat,” Mr. Jerrold; trio, “Ho! every one that thirsteth,” Mrs. and Messrs. Winter; trio, “My bud in heaven,” Miss Dean, Messrs. Laurence and Howell; duet, “Leaning on Jesus,” Mrs. Widdowson, jun., and Hickson; duet, “Glory to Thee my God this night,” Mr. and Mrs. Winter; “National Anthem.” Too many thanks cannot be give to the ladies of the hamlet for the untiring zeal displayed in decorating the Schoolroom, and assisting in numerous ways.
Bucks Herald, Saturday May 1st, 1886.
Richard George Penn Curzon, 4th Earl Howe, (28 April 1861 – 10 January 1929),
Elected Member of Parliament for Wycombe in 1885.
Styled Viscount Curzon between 1876 and 1900.
Vicar of Naseby, Northamptonshire
Vicar, Holy Trinity, Penn Street, 1886 – 1899
Died in Office, Buried, Penn Street, 6th June, 1899
Curate, Maidenhead and Cookham – to 1900
Vicar of Holy Trinity, Penn Street, 1901 – 1926
Very little is recorded regarding the short incumbency of the Revd. FJ Sibree. The following is collected from various sources, Birth, Marriage and Death records, Census Returns and Electoral Rolls and Probate records and local newspaper reports.
The Revd. Sibree arrived at Penn Street in 1927, and resigned in 1928, intending to retire, because of his wife’s illness, when he was replaced by Ernest Davies.
Francis Joseph Sibree was born in 1860 at Painswick, Stroud, Gloucestershire. His parents ran a boarding school, Bussage House, with 20 – 30 teenage children, mostly boys, a few girls, and their own five children.
At the ages of 20 and 30, Francis is shown as ‘tutor’, having joined the ‘family business’.
In 1894 he married Margaret Louisa List, after Banns at St Paul’s church Gloucester. His occupation is shown as ‘Headmaster’ Bussage House School.
In 1901 he was an ordained minister, ‘Clerk in Holy Orders, School Master’, The Park, The Hall, Shipdham, near Dereham, Norfolk, in the parish of Shipdham, All Saints. The Hall was another boarding school with teenage boys.
It was not unusual for the vicar or curate to also tutor boarders. The Revd. Arthur Browning, Francis Sibree’s predecessor also ran a ‘crammer’ at the vicarage, for ten or so teenage boys, including the young David Niven.
In 1911 Francis was living at St Mary’s vicarage, Portchester, Fareham, Hants.
1918 – 1923 he was at 10 Rusholme Road, Wandsworth, presumably the vicarage of St Michael’s Church, Southfield. His first wife Margaret died 2nd August 1923, they had no children.
In July 1924, he married a widow, Edith Eleanor Muirhead, née Dennett, at Kensington. Edith had four daughters and two sons by her previous marriage.
Francis Sibree arrived at Penn Street in 1927, and tragically his second wife Edith died the following year, 20th September 1928, aged 63, only five years after their marriage. Her Probate record reveals that she left £9219 7s. 6d. around £580,000 in 2020.
Only a short time before her death, Revd. Sibree had tendered his resignation because of his wife’s health and had made arrangements to leave Penn Street. The Revd. Ernest Davies had been named as his replacement and was inducted as vicar of Penn Street in November 1928.
Francis Sibree died 17 July 1936, aged 76, address given as The Vicarage, Westbury, North Bucks. His estate was worth £2661 11s. 6d. worth £200,000 in 2020.
The Rev. Ernest Davies was appointed by Eal Howe to replace Francis Sibree, who had only been in office a year, when he announced his intention to retire due to the illness of his wife Edith.
Ernest Davies appointment was announced in the Bucks Examiner 7th September 1928.
“How Holmer Green got its church”
Although the Rev. F. WankIing and his wife and family were given an official reception when Mr. WankIing was inducted as Vicar of Penn Street and Holmer Green. at Penn Street Church recently, Holmer Green folk on Saturday arranged their own welcome and said it with flowers in the form of a delightfully decorated village hall and a bouquet for Mrs Wankling. The Sunday School provided musical entertainment, the Young Wives organised the refreshments, and Mrs. S. Waller supervised the floral decorations.
Mr. F. W. Todd. who always reads the lessons at Holmer Green, gave the official verbal welcome on behalf of the villagers.
He recalled that just over a century ago the then Countess Howe decided she would like a church of her own at own at Penn Street. which necessitated a special Act of Parliament. taking away existing parts of the parishes of Penn and Little Missenden. That was how the church at Holmer Green started.
Although the vicar lived at Penn Street there appeared to be much more work at Holmer Green where they were eventually hoping to enlarge.
In his response Mr. Wankling said he already realised how much work was involved at Holmer Green Green, where one of the main needs was the building of a Sunday School, and he visualised a lot of work for Holmer Green people to do.
Bucks Examiner, Friday September 8th, 1967.
Editor’s Note: Frank Wankling went on to oversee the building of the Church Centre at Holmer Green, adjacent to the church, Christ Church, which was built in 1894.
Nigel Stowe: (1936-2021), was born on the 29th April 1936 in the School House attached to the small village school at West Tytherley, near Salisbury in Wiltshire, where his father was headmaster.
At the age of 14, Nigel committed his heart and life to Christ following a talk at a well-attended school Christian Union meeting at Monkton Coombe school, visited by the evangelist Don Summers, who went on to have a world-wide ministry of evangelism.
Nigel’s spiritual growth began to take off when a fellow pupil invited him to help and teach at the small Sunday School at Midford Chapel in one of the nearby villages. In his last 2 years at school he played a leading role in the CU becoming its secretary and organising the Wednesday evening speakers.
Following National Service in the Royal Engineers as a training officer and almost full-time Chaplain confirmed God’s call and provided a wonderful training ground for leadership and teaching experience. In September 1959 Nigel returned to Clifton Theological College for 2 years ordination training, being appointed vice-senior student in his last year.
At Michaelmas 1961 Nigel was ordained by the Bishop of St Albans to serve as curate in the parish of Christ Church, Ware in Hertfordshire where he learned much about the administrative workings of a parish. Just after his third Christmas there he married Pauline Gray who was the PE teacher at the secondary school and heavily involved in the Young People’s work at Christ Church.
At the end of the summer of 1964 Nigel and Pauline moved to Reigate, Surrey where Nigel became senior curate at St Mary’s with Canon Peter Baker, whose son, Tony, had been at college with him and was his best man. These were very happy and fulfilling years.
In 1968, they accepted an invitation to the parish of St Jude’s Mildmay Park in Islington, consisting of 8000 people in a half mile square with the church at the centre, Newington Green and Hackney and Balls Pond Road on different edges. These were precious days of outreach and humbling commitment by the small dedicated congregation. The 8 years of ministry there provided several life times of parochial and human experience for Nigel and Pauline.
In 1976 they moved to the parish of Penn Street with Holmer Green, which was to be their home for 26 years. Nigel oversaw the almost total restoration of Holy Trinity Church, the parsonage house and much of Christ Church. He carried on to completion the facilities at Holmer Green provided by the new church centre main hall started by Frank Wankling, and then designed and built with the help of members of the congregation, first the extension to the front, the workshop and upper room and then, later, the games room to the rear. Pauline is remembered by many for the Sunday School she ran in the vicarage.
Nigel and Pauline retired in 2001.
TO THE MEMORY OF
GENERAL SIR FRANCIS WARDE
KNIGHT COMMANDER OF THE MOST HONOURABLE ORDER OF THE BATH,
WHO DIED AT READING MAY 1879, AGED 89 YEARS
SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF
OF BABRAHAM HALL IN THE COUNTY OF CAMBRIDGE,
THE BELOVED WIFE OF GENERAL WARDE, THE ROYAL ARTILLERY
WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE AT WOOD SIDE LODGE,
THE 28TH JANUARY 1864, AGED 72
Their pedestal memorial stands at the front of the church in front of the South Transept.
General Sir Francis Warde:
Francis Warde was born c.Dec 1790, Westerham, Kent,
almost certainly at Squerryes, the Warde family seat.
Warde Family Tree: (From www.kentarchaeology.com)
Francis married Annabella Adeane 14 December 1832 at St Marylebone (Middx).
1841 Census: Living in Shooters Hill Plumstead. His wife, Annabella, is described as “Ann Ward”, His Occupation is “Army”. Both showed their birthplace as “Kent”.
12 May 1866. Made Colonel Commandant Royal Artillery,
1871 Census: Widower, with a manservant at Cambridge Terrace, Paddington,
Occupation: Lieutenant-General (Retd.) 15th Brigade Royal Horse Artillery.
May 1873: Knight Commander of the Bath.
Died at Reading, May 1879. Aged 89, Buried, Holy Trinity, Penn Street, Bucks.
Parents: Robert Jones Adeane (1763-1823) of Babraham Hall, Cambridge.
High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire, 1822-23.
He married, 26 August 1785, Annabella, daughter of Sir Patrick Blake, 1st bt,
of Langham Hall (Suffolk), four children:
I. Charles-James, b. 14 June, 1786; d. young.
II. HENRY-JOHN, heir to his father.
III. Annabella, (1787-1864), baptised at Langham (Suffolk), 1 July 1787;
married Lieut.-Gen. Sir Francis Warde, 14 December 1832,
at St Marylebone (Middx), no children;
IV. Louisa, m. Rev. William Barlow, Prebendary of Chester.
Annabella Adeane died 28th January, 1864, at Woodside Lodge,
now known as Woodrow High House, Amersham, Bucks..
General Sir Francis Warde: Military Career
2nd Lieut 4 March 1809. 1st Lieut 8 March 1812. 2nd Captain 3 July 1830.
Captain 15 June 1840. Bt Major 9 November 1846. Lieut Colonel 7 May 1847.
Colonel 13 September 1854. Major General 8 March 1860.
Lieut-General 24 August 1866. General 15 Apr 1877
Served in the Peninsula War, June 1812 – Apr 1814. (Between Napoleon’s empire & Bourbon Spain for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars). (Brigade Major 6/9th Brigade April- October 1813.
Assistant Adjutant-General, October 1813 – April 1814).
Present at siege of Cadiz.
Present at Waterloo, 18 June 1815 in Lieut Colonel Sir Hew Dalrymple Ross’s Troop & with the Army of Occupation.
Served in Malta 1830 -1832.
Colonel Commandant Royal Artillery, 12 May 1866.
Knight Commander of the Bath, May 1873.
From ‘Wellington’s Men Remembered, Volume 2’
June 18th 2015 at 11 am officers and soldiers from the 1st regiment – Royal Horse Artillery based at Larkhill, gathered at Holy Trinity Penn Street to lay a wreath in honour of General Sir Francis Warde, who fought in the Battle of Waterloo. This wreath laying mirrors the act of remembrance by the Royal Artillery exactly 100 years ago on 18th June 1915 despite WW1, and the wreath is the same design, featuring laurel, corn-flowers and red roses. The ceremony was conducted by Lt/Col Nick Launders, who spoke of the Battle of Waterloo when Wellington led a united international army from a number of European nations fighting against the ambitions of a dictator wishing to control Europe. The event was coordinated with the help of Stuart Reid of the High Wycombe branch of the RA Association.
Penn Street & Holmer Green church newsletter 5/7/2015.
Article from: The Shields Daily News, Saturday July 12th, 1919.
Lady Georgiana Elizabeth Howe, née Spencer-Churchill, born 14th May 1860, daughter of 7th Duke of Marlborough, and sister of Lord Randolph Spencer-Churchill, Winston Churchill’s father. Married Richard George Penn Curzon, 4th Earl Howe, 4th June 1883. Lady Georgiana died 9th February 1906, following a long illness and was buried in Congerstone churchyard in Leicestershire, near the family’s estate at Gopsall.
In 1918, Lady Georgiana’s widower George, 4th Earl Howe, moved his main residence to his Buckinghamshire seat at Penn House, having sold the Gopsall estate to Sir Samuel Waring, of Waring and Gillow.
Lady Georgiana Howe’s body was exhumed in July 1919 and reburied in Penn Street churchyard.
George Howe also resided for part of the time at a house called Woodlands, near Uxbridge, as well as using Curzon House, the family’s London residence in Mayfair, whilst in London. His mother, Isabella, widow of the 3rd Earl Howe who died in 1900, divided her time between Penn House and the family’s London residence at Curzon House in Mayfair, where she died in 1922. She is buried with Georgiana and other members of the Howe family in Penn Street churchyard.
The 3rd Earl Howe, Richard Curzon-Howe, (1822-1900) was the son of the 1st Earl Howe and inherited the title when his elder brother died in 1876. He was a professional soldier, joined up at the age of 16 and reached the rank of full general. He was the present, 7th Earl Howe’s great grandfather.
Addendum from Earl Howe, May 2020, not only was Lady Howe removed, but also the Howe monument as well as the entire Lych gate leading to Congerstone church.
They were re-erected in Penn Street churchyard where they rest today.
“Earl Howe has caused an obelisk to be raised twelve feet high, mounted on a three-step pedestal, to be erected over the newly-built vault in Congerstone churchyard (Leicestershire), where , little more than a year ago, the remains of Countess Howe were interred. On the front of the second step are engraved the family arms and motto, “Let Curzon hold what Curzon held.” and near the base of the obelisk is the inscription, “To the beloved memory of Georgiana Countess Howe, wife of Richard George Penn, fourth Earl Howe. Born 1860, died 1906; daughter of John Winston, seventh Duke of Marlborough.” At the side is also inscribed, “The bitterness of death only touches the living.” At the head of the obelisk are four bronze figures, standing in niches, representing Loyalty, Love, Courage and Truth, and the whole is surmounted by a bronze cross.”
South Bucks Standard – Friday March 8 1907.
“Let Curzon Holde what Curzon Helde”(Click images to enlarge)
by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanish’d hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!
Lieut-Colonel Sir Alan Hughes Burgoyne, was MP for Aylesbury, and died in office in aged 45, 26th April 1929. His funeral and burial at Penn Street was held on 1st May 1929, The Revd. E.M. Davies (Vicar) and his predecessor, the Revd. Arthur Browning officiated. Sir Alan’s wife, Lady Irene Victoria Easor, died just 9 months later, 12th February 1929, aged only 48.
Sir Alan and Lady Burgoyne lived at Finchers in Beamond End, and had a London town house at 33 Eaton Terrace.
A brief biography from the Australian Newspaper Archive: Trove:
“Sir Alan Burgoyne was born in1880 and completed his education at Queen’s College, Oxford. He was a man of varied interests and was prominent in parliamentary, scientific and naval spheres, and was a great traveller. He published several works on phases of the war, under the sea and on land, and founded the Navy League Annual in 1907. It was while in Port Arthur, in 1903, that he was arrested by the Russians on a false charge of spying. He was director of several commercial interests, which included the Australian Wine Importers, Ltd. He owns considerable property in Australia. During the war he served in France, Italy, Palestine and India, and was made a Lieut.-Colonel in 1918. He was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a skilled engineer, and a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society Council. He married in 1906, Irene Victoria Easor, second daughter of Earl Macdonald.”
There was a comprehensive full page report on Sir Alan’s life and work in The Bucks Examiner, Friday May 3rd, 1929. (PDF file 900k, opens in a new window) .
The striking Celtic Cross memorial stands at the rear of the Church.
The Bucks Examiner, Friday, October 25th, 1929.
George Cook was buried in Penn Street Churchyard, 25th September, 1929.
Original Page from The Bucks Examiner, Friday, 25th October, 1929
With full text of the proceedings at the inquest. (PDF file, 900k, Opens in new window)
From time to time the Penn & Tylers Green Residents Society receives enquiries from people outside the immediate area, usually concerning matters of local and social history, often linked to their own family stories …
One such enquiry, received just before Christmas, concerned the final resting place of one Ellen Cicely Wilkinson who with others lived in Penn Bottom in the Autumn of 1939. Now, I imagine Ellen was not typical of those that enjoyed the rural atmosphere of Penn Bottom between the wars, she was the MP for Jarrow, had led the Jarrow March and was a founder member of the British Communist Party, she had travelled to Russia and met Leon Trotsky, and following the Labour Party landslide in 1945 she became Minister for Education and died in office in 1947.
Although keeping a London flat she must have retained fond memories of Penn as she is buried in Holy Trinity Penn Street.
However, there is still more to be told, as Ellen shared the house in Penn Bottom – known as Twixtlands – with other notable socialists of the era.
Probably best known was Herbert Stanley Morrison, he of the Morrison shelter widely promoted and used in WW2. One-time leader of the London County Council, he became Home Secretary in the Coalition Government 1940-1945 and then Deputy Prime Minister in Clement Attlee’s 1945-1951 Labour Government.
The third Labour MP present that Autumn was John Jagger who had represented Manchester Clayton since 1935, a committed trade unionist he became Morrison’s PPS in 1940 until his death in a road accident 1942.
This accident took place in Clay Street Penn Bottom when his auto-cycle collided with a motor car driven by a local farmer, Jagger was on his way to Beaconsfield station to catch a London train.
The remaining two residents were Anne & Doris Wilkinson, sister & sister-in-law to Ellen, Anne was a staunch supporter of her sister throughout her political career both sharing various London addresses for many years.
So, within Twixtlands had resided political figures of considerable national & international reputation and there had been iconic visitors as well, Mahatma Gandhi among them … and yes it still stands today as Little Penn Farmhouse
This article would not have been possible without reference to the “1939 Register”, it provided the Government with a snapshot of the civilian population of England & Wales just after the outbreak of WW2.
It was taken on 29th September 1939 and was used in the introduction of Identity Cards & Ration Books. It later played an important role in the launch of the NHS. It can be viewed on both the Find my Past and Ancestry websites.
Ron Saunders, P&TG Village Voice, February/March 2019.
Ellen Wilkinson died 6 February 1947, aged 55, at St Mary’s Hospital, London and was buried in Penn Street churchyard, 10th February, 1947.
There is a very comprehensive biography of Ellen Wilkinson on Wikipedia.
Sir Cecil Clementi GCMG (1875-1947), whose family grave is located on the western edge of Holy Trinity churchyard, hard up against Penn Wood, was a distinguished colonial administrator and scholar who served as Governor of Hong Kong (1925-1930), and of the Straits Settlements and High Commissioner of the Federated Malay States (1930-1934), the territories now known as Singapore and Malaysia. Clementi spent his entire career overseas. Born in Kanpur (Cawnpore) India, where his father served in the military, he attended St Paul’s School and Magdalen College Oxford before passing the Civil Service examination and choosing to serve as an Eastern Cadet in Hong Kong. He spent 13 years in the Colony, acquiring fluency in written Chinese and various spoken dialects, travelling extensively in China and rising to the position of Acting Colonial Secretary. During this period he published a translation with commentary of Cantonese Love Songs and was an early champion of Hong Kong University, founded in 1911. His next post was that of Colonial Secretary in British Guiana (1913-1922), followed by the same role in Ceylon (1922-25) before returning to Hong Kong as Governor during a time of crisis in relations between Britain and China. Clementi championed Chinese education in Hong Kong, where the Clementi Secondary School, founded in 1926, is named after him (Clementi Secondary School.). He also worked to outlaw the practice of domestic slavery of young Chinese women known as the mui-tsai (妹仔) system.
His final post was Governor of the Straits Settlements and the Malay States at a time when they were among the most prosperous of Britain’s overseas territories thanks to the growth of the tin and rubber industries, both of them hard hit by the Great Depression.
For much of his career, Sir Cecil followed in the footsteps of his uncle, Sir Cecil Clementi-Smith (1840-1916), who also served in Hong Kong, Ceylon and, finally, as would his nephew, Governor of the Straits Settlements.
Sir Cecil Clementi and his wife Lady Penelope retired in 1934, and moved into Holmer Court in 1935, (now demolished and the site of the housing development known as the ‘Clementi Estate’). He died there on 5 April 1947. A daughter, Cecily (1915-1940), predeceased her parents and is buried at the same location, as is Lady Penelope (1889-1970). Memorial stones at the foot of the main headstone, which is adorned with a fine Celtic cross, commemorate one of the couple’s other daughters, Dr Dione Clementi (1914-2010), an historian, and Air Vice Marshal Cresswell Clementi (1918-1981) and his wife Susan (1918-2006).
By Graham Hutchings © (2020), who is writing a biography of Sir Cecil Clementi to be published by Hong Kong University Press.
Holmer Court image © Stuart King.
Sir Cecil and Lady Penelope Clementi very soon involved themselves in village life in Holmer Green. Supporting Scouts, Brownies and the village schools among other things.
Hugh Eyre Campbell Beaver was born 4 May 1890 in Johannesburg, the eldest of three sons of Hugh Edward Campbell Beaver, of Montgomeryshire, and his wife, Cerise, daughter of John Eyre, of Anglo/Irish extraction. He was an engineer, industrialist, and founder of the Guinness World Records (then known as Guinness Book of Records).
Hugh Beaver was educated at Wellington College, Berkshire, after which he spent two years in the Indian Police force from 1910. In 1921 he returned to England, before joining Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners, Engineers. In 1931 the firm was commissioned by the Canadian government to conduct a survey of its national ports. He spent seven months in Canada, during which time he was asked to supervise the rebuilding of the Port of St John, New Brunswick, which had been destroyed by fire. He was a partner of the firm from 1932–1942, and director general and controller general of the Ministry of Works from 1940–1945.
In 1946, he became a managing director of Arthur Guinness, Son and Co Ltd and stayed there until he retired in 1960.
He was greatly involved in the efforts to rebuild Britain and the British Empire after World War II, and was a co-opted member of Lord Reith’s Committee on New Towns 1946–1947, a member of the Building Industry Working Party 1948–1950, director of the Colonial Development Corporation 1951–1960.
Hugh Beaver was chairman of the Committee on Power Station Construction 1952–1953, where he advised on the Great Smog of 1952 in London. As a result of his advice on smog, he was made chairman of the Committee on Air Pollution 1953–1954, which resulted in the Clean Air Act 1956.
He was also interested in the promotion and application of science, and as a result was chairman of the Advisory Council on Scientific and Industrial Research 1954–1956, and chairman of the Industrial Fund for the Advancement of Scientific Education in Schools 1958–1963. With Sir Alan Wilson, he was a key sponsor of the creation of St Catherine’s College, Oxford by Alan Bullock.
He was knighted in 1943 and awarded a KBE in 1956. He also received honorary degrees from the University of Cambridge, Trinity College, Dublin, the National University of Ireland, and was made an honorary fellow of the London School of Economics in 1960. He also served as President of the Royal Statistical Society from 1959 to 1960. He died of heart failure in his London home, 16th January 1967.
Several generations of the Beaver family lived at Highlands, Cherry lane, Woodrow, Amersham.
Guinness Book of World Records
On 10 November 1951, Hugh Beaver, then the managing director of the Guinness Brewery, went on a shooting party in North Slob, by the River Slaney in County Wexford, Ireland. He became involved in an argument: Which was the fastest game bird in Europe, the golden plover or the grouse? That evening at Castlebridge house it was realised that it was not possible to confirm in reference books whether or not the golden plover was Europe’s fastest game bird.
He thought that there must be numerous other questions debated nightly in the 81,400 pubs in Britain and in Ireland, but there was no book with which to settle arguments about records. He realised then that a book supplying the answers to this sort of question might prove popular. He happened to be correct.
His idea became reality when Guinness employee Christopher Chataway recommended university friends Norris and Ross McWhirter, who had been running a fact-finding agency in London. The brothers were commissioned to compile what became the Guinness Book of Records in August 1954. A thousand copies were printed and given away.
After founding the Guinness Book of Records at 107 Fleet Street, the first 198-page edition was bound on 27 August 1955 and went to the top of the British best seller lists by Christmas. “It was a marketing give away – it wasn’t supposed to be a money maker” said Beaver. The following year it launched in the US, and sold 70,000 copies. Since then, Guinness World Records has gone on to become a record breaker in its own right, with sales of more than 100 million copies in 100 different countries and 37 languages, Guinness World Records is the world’s best selling copyrighted book ever.
Wikipedia and other sources.
An ‘ancient ‘ charter was produced as evidence for an inquiry, in 1665, into rights of common on the 4,000 acre Wycombe Heath, which covered parts of seven parishes, including the northern quarter of Penn. The charter was a forgery, but it included the traditional bounds of the heath that are judged to be authentic. The bounds define the heath after a large rectangular bite (see map) had been taken out of it, presumably to allow room for the de la Penne family to move from their first cramped manor house at Penbury, near Penn Church. This is likely to have been soon after a Statute of 1285 first allowed a lord to enclose part of a shared common, provided he left enough pasture for the commoners.
Field names around Penn House, Ashmoor, Shinglemoor, Culvermoor and Horsemoor, confirm that it stands on former heathland. The names Great and Little Readings tell us that trees have been cleared around it (map). As late as 1829, Lady Howe paid a quit rent to the manor court for building part of Penn House on the manorial waste of Segraves Manor.
The part of the bounds relating to Penn Street goes, ‘and so the way leadeth to woods heeves lyeing and beinge towards the Gatestakes of Pennbury the Manor of Sir Roger Atte Penn Knight’.
‘Woods heeves’ i.e., the eaves or edge of the wood, seems to have been an earlier name for the hamlet that grew up outside the gates to service the new manor house, now Penn House. 17th C property deeds show that Wood Eves was a place name in Penn Street. The ‘Gatestakes of Pennbury’ are the gates to Penn House opposite Penn Street Farm.
Wood Eves was probably restricted to the same side of the road as Penn House, but closer to Penn Wood. The other side of the road and on towards what is now the church, i.e. at the side of the main road or straet as it was called by the Saxons, meaning a road used by the Romans, was still part of the heath in 1285. Its development, which was to give Penn Street its name, is likely to have been by later, and illegal, encroachments, driven by rising population pressure, up to the Black Death of 1348. The earliest known reference to the name Penn Street is in the parish register for 1592.
There was a Roman villa and iron smelting and smithing industry near Shardeloes, about 1½ miles north of Penn Street and the route connecting them with a main Roman road running just south of Beaconsfield is marked to this day by the surviving road names of Penn Street, Clay Street and Old Street (now part of the B474 at Knotty Green).
The 1285 Statute also required that a 200 foot wide (i.e. a bowshot) strip of land was kept clear of trees between a highway and woodland, in order to remove any cover for highwaymen, who were then a serious problem. The Penn Street gates to Penn House today are 200 feet from the road and the common is exactly 200 feet wide with the same open width up to the wood boundary running all the way down, past the school, to the main Wycombe-Amersham road.
There were two ponds on what is now Penn Street Common and one or both were called St George’s, named after an edible spring mushroom called agaricus georgii, which still makes its appearance by the pond around St George’s Day on 23 April. The name of the mushroom and the pond could date back as far as 1222, when 23 April was made St George’s feast day by the Church. He became the patron saint of England in the 14th C.
(For a fuller discussion see ‘Wycombe Heath and its ‘charter’, by John Chenevix Trench and Miles Green, Records of Bucks, Vol. 36 (1994), pp.144-59, in public libraries).
Miles Green, 22nd July 2002
More detail, in the book ‘Wycombe Heath 1,000 years ago’,
Miles Green (Dec 2018)
(The author of this summary history, which was given to the present Earl Howe, is unknown. It must have been written c.1950)
The Parish Church of Holy Trinity, Penn Street, is situated in a hollow on the fringe of Penn Wood. It was built in 1849 by the first Earl Howe to the design of the Architect Benjamin Ferrey, and is tastefully executed in flint and stone. A simple cruciform building after the decorated style, it comprises a nave, South Porch, North and South Transepts, Chancel and a Priest’s Vestry on the north side of the Chancel. An octagonal tower rises above the Transept crossing, complete with shingle covered spire, from which the rain water is thrown by means of eight gargoyles. There are 300 sittings.
The church was built as a Chapel-of-Ease to Holy Trinity Church, Penn, but on 11th January 1850 a new ecclesiastical parish was formed out of the ecclesiastical parishes of Penn and Little Missenden, containing the villages of Penn Street, Holmer Green Beamond End, Mop End and part of Winchmore Hill. Christ Church, Holmer Green, was built as a daughter Church in 1894.
The Church was restored in 1901 by the fourth Earl Howe in memory of his father, at a cost of over £1,000, and the interior by the parish at a further cost of £150. The Church was re-opened on 12th December 1901 by the Bishop of Oxford. In November 1908 a new organ was dedicated to the memory of the third Earl Howe. It incorporated some of the pipework of its predecessor and was situated at the west end of the Nave choir. Both choir and organ were later moved to their present position in the South Transept. In 1921 the simple open screen, with a frieze of foliage in dark oak, together with some panelling in the Church, was presented in memory of Lady Evelyn Eyre and Frederick Graham Curzon by their brother, the fourth Earl Howe.
The plain glass rose windows in the North and South walls of the Chancel were presented in 1922 by the 4th Earl Howe in memory of his mother, Isabella, Countess Howe. the oak panelling of the walls of the Nave and of the North and South Transepts were presented in 1925 by the 4th Earl Howe in memory of his second wife, Flora, Countess Howe.
At the west end hangs a replica of Raphael’s “Transfiguration” which was presented by Earl Howe in 1905. It was formerly the altar piece of the Curzon Chapel, Mayfair.
Treble … 5 cwts.
Second … 7 cwts.
Tenor … 11 cwts.
They are hung for “chiming” only and are rung from the floor of the crossing.
In 1931, the mother Church at Penn gave its east window as a present to the daughter church. This can be seen in the North Transept, but unfortunately it does not quite fit the tracery.
The large Chancel is reserved for the use of the Howe family and contains two large stalls. On the north wall hangs the banner of Sir William Howe, who fought at the battle of Bunker Hill (1775), which formerly hung in for many years in Westminster Abbey. There are brasses in the Chancel to various members of the Curzon family, their servants and friends, and one commemoration of King Edward VII, which marks the occasion of his visit to Earl Howe, when he attended Divine service at Penn Street on 19th January 1902. A single light stained glass window on the South wall of the Chancel depicts St. Paul; a further window in the South wall of the Sanctuary portrays St. Luke and St. John. Beneath this window is a stone inscribed with the names of the first Earl Howe who built the Church and the first Incumbent and his wife. The east window is the only other containing stained glass in addition to those mentioned. the arch-braces of the roof of the Nave and Chancel rest upon stone corbels carved into various heads. Other carved figures may be found outside the Church on the dripstone terminations of the windows and doorways.
The tomb of the third Earl and his wife lies at the north-west end of the Churchyard and is provided with a separate avenue of approach and a lych-gate which was brought from another Curzon family seat at Gopsall, Leicestershire, a few years after the death of the third Earl in 1900. There are memorials to Lady Evelyn Eyre and her husband, the Fourth Earl and his two wives, and Frederick Graham Curzon and the Countess of Wilton.
The population of the parish in 1933 was 1,333.
The living is a vicarage in the gift of Earl Howe.
Edward Bickersteth M.A. … 1849
Alfred S. Butler … 1853
Thomas Bayley … 1860
John J. Lindeman M.A. … 1886
Arthur Browning … 1900
F.J. Sibtree … 1927
Ernest Davies … 1928
Vaughan F. Bryan-Brown … 1932
W.J. Mathias … 1948
J. W. Rees … 1952
David Ainsleigh Jones … 1954
A. E. Paterson … 1959
Frank Wankling … 1967
Nigel Stowe … 1976
Matthew Boyes … 2002
William Mason … 2007
Peter Simmons … 2015
Ruth Atkinson … 2020
The following is a contemporary description of the consecration of a new church at Penn Street, in 1849, named Holy Trinity, one supposes, after the mother church of Penn.
This new edifice has just been completed at Penn-Street, a hamlet of the parish of Penn, situate about midway between Beaconsfield and Amersham, and not far from Wycombe, in the most picturesque portion of the county of Buckingham. The population is much scattered and the majority residing at a long distance from the parish church of Penn, have been almost destitute of the means of attending a place of public worship. The parish is owned by Earl Howe, whom this spiritual destitution induced, about two years since, to project the erection and endowment of a Church for the district, which has just been accomplished, at a cost approaching £10,000. Such munificence it is extremely gratifying to commemorate in our Journal.
The site now occupied by the Church but a few months since was covered with timber, forming part of Penn-common Wood, and covering nearly 1000 acres. The design adopted by the architect (Mr Benjamin Ferrey) is the decorated style of the 14th century. The Church is cruciform in plan, and is calculated to afford accommodation to more than 400 persons. The whole interior is paved with encaustic tiles. The roof and fittings are of stained deal and the stained glass altar window was presented by her Majesty the Queen Dowager. The Church, from east to west, is about 150 feet long by thirty wide, and its height to the summit of the steeple is 140 feet. The whole structure has been completed within two years, and it is worthy to record that in its erection none but the tradesmen and tenants of the noble founder have been employed.
The consecration of the building took place last week, the Bishop of Oxford performing the interesting ceremony, in the presence of a vast concourse of spectators, attracted from the surrounding districts.
Among the leading personages present were Viscount and Viscountess Curzon, Lord and Lady Radstock and the Hon. Misses Waldegrave, Lord Boston and the Hon. Misses Ipley, Mr and Mrs Tyrwhitt Drake, Mr Bracebridge, Miss Norbury, and most of the influential families in the neighbourhood, and a large assemblage of clergy from the adjoining parishes. The road from the Manor-House to the church was very tastefully decorated with triumphal arches, formed of evergreens, and decorated with complimentary inscriptions, among which were – “In grateful esteem of Earl Howe”, “God bless the house of Curzon”, &c. The approaches to the Church, and the entrance to the churchyard were also spanned by evergreen arches, bearing appropriate Scripture texts.
The Lord Bishop was assisted by the Rev J Knollis, the Vicar of Penn, and the Rev E Bickersteth, the incumbent minister of the Church.
Near to the Church stands a very remarkable and picturesque tree, known as the “Queen’s Beech”, from the fact of her Majesty the Queen Dowager having, some years since, when on a visit at Penn, honoured with her presence a rustic entertainment given to the poor of the district, under the shadow of its branches, by Earl Howe.
The Need for a New Church
It is a little difficult to accept the argument that a new church was needed simply because the inhabitants of Penn Street had too far to go to Penn church. It is, after all, only some 2 miles. No mention is made of restricted space in Penn church and it would seem more likely that other factors were at work. A combination, perhaps, of the dreariness of Mr Knollis’ services, with what a Victorian eye would have seen as the impossibly out-of-date furnishings of his ancient church, the exterior completely covered with unattractive rendering, and with little prospect of any immediate change. Victorians did not generally see old buildings as we do today. Our desirable old brick and flint cottages were commonly described as “wretched” or “inferior” and Earl Howe may well have wanted to have an impressive and brand new church to show off to his Royal friends and other important personages. It is indeed a very splendid and expensive church for a small country parish. He may also have wanted to produce an attractive alternative to the Methodist chapels that were taking away so many Anglicans. The new church was built on common land, part of Wycombe Heath, which was not yet enclosed.
The New Boundaries
The new ecclesiastical boundaries for Penn Street included some 250 of Penn’s 1050 parishioners, as well as taking nearly 600 from Holmer Green and Beamond End, in Little Missenden, and a small part of Amersham parish. Thus both the reduced Penn & new Penn Street parishes were of almost the same size, with about 800 parishioners each. Earl Howe had no difficulty in arranging this, because he was of course, as his successor still is, the lay rector of both Penn and Little Missenden. Many of the Howe family have since been buried at Penn Street.
Parsonage and School
A very fine Parsonage House was built, at the same time, to match the splendid new church, and both together cost about £7000. In addition, Earl Howe endowed the living with income from rents of £143 p.a. The first vicar was Edward Bickersteth. He was succeeded, in 1853, by Alfred Butler. A school was built in 1850.
Charles Garland, Methodist and Church Builder
A most interesting family tradition is reported in The Methodist Recorder of 13 August 1936, about Charles Garland of Penn, which gives us a marvellous flavour of the period, and seems worth repeating in full, despite its length. The writer, a Methodist himself, describes it as, “the great story of what God wrought through one sermon”.
The sermon was heard by Mrs Garland, the wife of Charles Garland, of Penn. I do not know exactly what year it was, but at Windsor Mrs Garland heard Dr Adam Clarke (a Methodist theologian; died 1832). The discourse made such an impression upon her that she was led to see her trust must be not in the Church or its sacraments, but in the living Christ. She went home to Penn the next day and told her husband how her heart had been warmed. He was soon led into the same happy experience. They withdrew from the parish Church and joined a small company of Methodists, some of whom had been converted under the preaching of John Wesley during his visits to the neighbouring town of High “Wycombe.
Then the blow fell. Mr Garland was employed by Lord Curzon Howe, son of the famous admiral who is buried in Westminster Abbey. Lord Howe’s steward sent for Garland. “Now, my man,” he said curtly, ‘you can make your choice. You give up Methodism and return to worship at the parish Church, or you are dismissed from your work on the estate.” Garland made the reply you would expect from him: “I have made my choice, I am going to remain a Methodist. My conscience will not allow me to obey your order.” “Well,” said the unjust steward, “you can please yourself. I’ll give you a week to think it over. Lord Howe will not allow dissenters to work for him. You have been brought up in the Church. For some years your uncle was our vicar. There’s no reason whatever why you should become a Methodist.” Garland stood firm. He told the steward that he wanted no time for reflection and he would not give up his fellowship with the little Methodist society. In the following week the steward asked him to make up his accounts, and he was paid off. For several years his sole occupation had been that of estate builder to Lord Howe, the position having been held by his family for generations. The Penn Methodists needed a bold leader, and were greatly helped by the membership of Mr and Mrs Garland. The cause began to prosper. But not so the worldly affairs of the good man. About three years later Mr Garland told his wife she need not lock the cash box as it was empty. He was both workless and penniless. These were hard times. There was war with France. Food was scarce and dear, and it was almost impossible to obtain work apart from military service. Taking his long carpenter’s pencil from his pocket, Charles Garland balanced it up and down on his forefinger, saying to his family, “To-day is the parting of the ways; we shall either go up or down.” “It will be up!’ cried his good wife. They knelt down for their usual family prayer. The reading of a Psalm – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble” – was interrupted by a loud knock on the door. A messenger from Lord Howe had come with a letter. His lordship had been serving his country abroad for three years and had unexpectedly arrived home. He wanted to see Mr Garland at once. Charles set off for Penn House, and as he walked through the woods the words kept coming into his mind – “We are at the parting of the ways; we shall either go up or down today. ”
Arriving at Penn House, he found Lord Howe waiting for him in the library. “Now, Garland, ” said his lordship, after referring to an anonymous letter he had received, “what is all this about? I had no idea you had been dismissed from the estate and were in great distress. What happened?” “I think, my lord” said Garland, quietly, “it would be better if you put that question to your steward.” “Certainly, I will see him today;,” said Lord Howe. “Come here again tomorrow and we’ll put matters right.” That same afternoon the steward was shown the anonymous letter and was asked for an explanation. “It is true, ” he said, “that I dismissed Mr Garland because he became a Methodist and refused to return to the Church. I thought it was the only way to bring him to his senses.” “I should-like to know,” cried Lord Howe angrily, “what a man’s conscience concerning his religion has to do with you if he is a good employee. In my name you have brutally persecuted a man whom I respect. There is only one course for me to take. You are my steward no longer. Hand over all your papers. I shall allow you a small pension, but if you want it to continue keep out of my sight for I never want to see you again!” The discomfited steward slunk away, speechless.
Later, Lord Howe expressed his regret to Mr Garland. “I want a steward,” he said, “and you shall be the man, for if you are so loyal to your God you are sure to serve me faithfully in earthly things.” This proved true. Garland exercised a great influence in the locality. The vicar of the parish was among those who were led to a deeper experience of evangelical truth. Lord Howe and his family became deeply interested in the earnest efforts of the Methodist. A Chapel was built during the later years of Mr Garland’s stewardship. Somewhere about 1849, his employer instructed him to build Penn Street Parish Church. Penn Street is a small village, about two and a half miles from Penn. The Church faces the entrance gates to Penn House, a mansion of brick in a small park of thirty-two acres, the ancestral abode of the Howe family. You could not imagine a more picturesque or a more beautifully situated sanctuary. It is built of flint, and its tall spire rises above the pine woods which surround it. I wonder how many visitors to the Church have heard the story of the staunch Methodist who built it. The Church was thoroughly restored by Earl Howe, in memory of his father, in 1900, at a cost of £1,000. King Edward VII worshipped here in January, 1902, when he was visiting Earl Howe.
It is a lovely tale, and probably a substantially true one, although like all the best family traditions, some of the details have become a little embellished. The 1820s would seem to fit the facts as we know them, not long after Lord Howe inherited the estate and was made an Earl, although the war with France was over by then and the Wesleyan Methodist chapel in Penn long since built. The Posse Comitatus of 1798 shows four Garlands, James Snr, James Jnr, Thomas and William, all carpenters and George Shrimpton as the steward. The 1841 census shows Charles Garland, a carpenter, aged 55, with a 40 year old wife, Sarah ( and a boy of 20. They lived opposite Slades Garage, in a cottage now called ‘Cobblers’, which he built himself. The uncle who had been vicar for some years, could have been the Rev Benjamin Anderson (Holy Trinity, Penn, 1808-13) , who seems to have lived in the parish before becoming vicar. Charles Garland died in 1846 so may well have been involved in the planning of the church which was consecrated in 1849. His widow continued his flourishing carpentry business with 5 employees in 1851. She died in 1859.
Miles Green: c.1990
PENN. Trinity Church.—This beautiful church, which has been built and endowed at the sole cost of Earl Howe, was consecrated Tuesday last, May 1st, by the Lord Bishop of Oxford (Samuel Wilberforce). The Bishop arrived at the Church about eleven o’clock, and soon afterwards commenced the consecration service. The churchyard was first consecrated, and then the Church, petition for this purpose having been presented by Viscount Curzon. The service for the day was read by the Rev. Edward Bickersteth, after which the Bishop preached the sermon. His Lordship’s text was selected from Revelations xxi., 22 from which he took occasion to explain the nature and design of temples erected in honour of the Almighty; and thence to shew the reasons for the absence of any such temple in Heaven. The Bishop pointed out with great beauty and power in the course of his sermon, the typical nature of consecrated buildings, in their reference to Christ, and thence inferred the vast importance of reverence and devotion in the use of them, shewing how great blessings are to be conveyed through the ministrations of the Church to the sincere and humble worshipper. There was offertory collection after the sermon in behalf of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, when £27 10s. was collected, and the Holy Communion was then administered by the Bishop, assisted by the Rev. C. E. Kennaway, the Rev. J. Knollis, (Vicar of Penn,) and Rev. E. Bickersteth, to about 130 communicants. There were present in the Church (which was much crowded) the Countess Howe, the Viscount and Viscountess Curzon, the Chancellor of the Diocese, the Rev. J. T. and Mrs. Drake and family, the Rev. J. and Mrs. Knollis, Rev. E. and Mrs. Bickersteth, Archdeacon Vickers, Rev. John Bickersteth (Revd. Edward Bickersteth’s father), Rev. L. Ottley, Rev. Lord Wriothesley Russell (canon of Windsor), Rev. Henry Garth, Mr. Lowndes, &c, &c. Not the least interesting part of the service was the admission into the Church, the infant daughter of Lord and Lady Curzon. The Church, which is built throughout the early decorated style, is cruciform, consisting of nave, chancel, and two transepts, with a central tower, surmounted by spire rising to the height of 135 feet. The architect is Mr. Ferrey. The design is most chaste and simple, and the situation adds much to the beauty of the fabric, being on the N.E. verge of that large extent of beech trees, known by the name of Penn Wood. The tower contains three bells from Mear’s foundry, and in the north transept is a sweet toned organ, made by Bishop. The font, which is in the centre of the nave, facing the great entrance is very elegant. The east window, which was presented to the Church by her Majesty Queen Adelaide, contains a beautiful representation of the resurrection, as its main subject in the upper compartments of the window appear the symbols of the four evangelists, the Agnus Dei, &c. There are also two other stained glass windows, executed by Mr. Willement, in the Chancel on the south side, one containing the figures of St. Luke and St. John, with their appropriate symbols in the lights above, and the texts at the feet respectively, ” Glory be to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will towards men,” and ” God is love, and he that that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.” The other window contains in its single light a fine figure of St. Paul, with a scroll crossing it, on which are the words, “By the Grace of God l am what I am.” All the arrangements and fittings of this beautiful structure are of the most elegant description; and no expense has been spared by that truly excellent nobleman, Earl Howe, to raise a temple worthy of Him for whose honour it is built. We regret to hear that Lord Howe was prevented by illness from being present on this interesting occasion. May his valuable life long be spared, that he may have the privilege of witnessing the good effects of this most munificent offering to his Saviour, his Church, and his country. The living has been presented, by the Noble Founder, to the Rev. Edward Bickersteth, M.A., formerly Curate of Holy Cross and St. Giles, Shrewsbury.
Bucks Herald, 5th May, 1848
Unveiled: 11 June 1922,
by: Private Eric Randall
Dedicated: 11 June 1922,
by: Rev A Browning
During his long service Vicar of Penn Street and Holmer Green, the Rev Arthur Browning recorded many aspects of the life in the villages in his monthly newsletters. The fund-raising for various projects during World War I is documented, as well as the sad news when a local man was killed.
In the December 1918 Newsletter, he records “The news of the signing of the Armistice on Nov. 12th, St Martin’s Day, sent a thrill of joy throughout the country; …” and in January 1919 mentions a war memorial.
Several schemes were being proposed in the district and preliminary meetings were held in Penn Street on 28th December and in Holmer Green on 6th January 1919 to consider what the local people wanted. It was unanimously agreed to erect a granite Cross in each Churchyard with the names of the ‘fallen’ engraved on the base, with a suitable inscription, and to raise at least £100 for this enterprise in each village.
In June 1919 the Vicar tells us that “it has now been provisionally arranged to place a memorial tablet in the Parish Church to the memory of those fallen in the war from Penn Street, Woodrow and Mop End.” After paying for this, any surplus money could go towards a Recreation Room that could be used as a kind of club for the many young men, including those returned from the Army, living in the village. Money was starting to come in and some of the young men organised a house-to-house weekly collection. A social in May raised £5 from admission and refreshments, all of which had been donated.
Holmer Green residents were raising money and in July up to nearly £40 had been donated. Some people were paying by weekly and monthly subscriptions so on the whole the response had been gratifying. Rev Browning urged upon all Holmer Green people the desirability of contributing something towards this fund. “However liberally we may respond to outside appeals we ought not to do so at the expense of our own memorial.”
In May 1920, it is reported that a design had been chosen and a site in the Churchyard given by the Vicar for a memorial in Holmer Green. More donations were received to cover the cost. In October the faculty for the erection of the War Memorial Cross in the Churchyard was received and work started soon after by Mr G Darlington of Amersham. (The bound volume for 1921 is missing and I think this is when the Holmer Green Memorial would have been completed and dedicated. Has anyone any information about this?)
In the December 1920 Newsletter, a meeting in Penn Street Schoolroom it was agreed that the most suitable place for a memorial would be on ‘The Piece’, close to the road, if Lord Howe consented.
In July 1922 it is recorded that on 11th June 1922, “A large number of people – estimates varied between 700 and 1000 – assembled on the Village Green for the Unveiling and Dedication of the War Memorial Festival of the Parish Church (in Penn Street).” Penn and Tylers Green Brass Band accompanied the hymns, and “by the kindness of the Commanding Officer,” two buglers came from Halton Camp to play the Last Post and the Reveille at the end of the ceremony. Earl Howe gave an address and invited Private Eric Randall, who lost a leg in the war, to unveil the memorial. At the conclusion of the Ceremony about 350 people packed in to the Parish Church for Evensong, when the collection was given to St Dunstan’s.
Hilary Hide, Holmer Green Today
2nd Lt. John Dennistoun Campbell BEAVER,
Kings Royal Rifle Corps, attchd. 13th Battalion.
Died at Highlands, Woodrow, May 15 1918
of wounds received near Monchy-le-Preux,
Pas de Calais, France, April 10 1917.
Buried Penn Street Churchyard.
Born at Eyrecourt Castle, Ireland, Jan 2, 1893,
3rd son of Hugh Edward Campbell Beaver & Cerise,
Bryn Glas, North Wales
Lance Cpl. Leonard James CALLOW 4128
East Surrey Regiment, 9th Battalion
Killed in Action, Age 30, September 25, 1915
Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France, Panel 65-68.
Baptised: 2 Nov 1884, Richmond Yorks, Woodcarver.
Parents, James & Julia Maria Callow, nee Parker.
Wife: Lily Louisa Callow, née Butcher,
Connection with Penn Street, Unknown.
Guardsman/Private, Albert Victor CLARKE 24902
Regiment Grenadier Guards 4th Battalion
Age 22, Killed in Action: 23 Mar 1918
Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France, Bay 1.
Baptised; 05 Sep 1895 Helhoughton, Norfolk, gamekeeper .
Parents Edward & Bessie Clarke, gamekeeper,
Keepers House, Woodrow, Amersham. Brother of Geoffrey Clarke.
Private Geoffrey CLARKE, 51164, Bedfordshire Reg’t B Coy 4th Battalion
Age 19, KIlled in Action 25 May 1918,
Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France Panel 28 & 29.
Born c1899, Amersham. Parents Edward & Bessie Clarke, gamekeeper,
Keepers House, Woodrow, Amersham. Brother of Albert Victor Clarke.
Private Arthur James COLE 11059, Gloucestershire Reg’t 3rd Battalion.
Age: 31, Died of Wounds, 23 Jun 1917, Salonika.
Pieta Military Cemetery, Malta, C.XIV.4
Pre-war occupation: telegraph messenger
Parents David & Fanny Agnes Cole, gamekeeper, The Grove, Penn Street
Lance Cpl. Archibald HALLETT, 16582, Coldstream Guards, 4th Battalion..
Age: 21, Died of wounds, 24 Oct 1917
Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium, X.C.13
Born, c1891 Grantham, Lincs. Parents Walter & Alice Hallett, Penn Wood, Penn.
Private Jack (John) Frederick HANCOCK, 718116, London Regt.1/23rd Batt’n.
Age: 21, Died of wounds, 11 May 1918,
Pernois British Cemetery, Halloy-les-Pernois, Somme, France, I.C.19
Born: c1897 Penn St. Parents William Alfred (Dd.1898) & Alice Hancock, Penn St..
Gunner Ronald Sidney HEARNE 8980, Royal Garrison Artillery 156th Battery.
Age: 21, Died of wounds 07 Feb 1917,
Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-L’Abbe, Somme, France, V.G.34
Born c1896 Penn St. Parents Alfred & Annie Hearne, Rose Cottage, Penn St..
Sgt. Cecil HOPKINS, 593, Military Police Corps 58th Div Mounted Police.
Age: 34, Killed in Action; 11 Dec 1917
Cemetery Duhallow A.D.S Cemetery, Ieper, Belgium, Reference III.D.7
Born c1883 Amersham, Pre-war occupation tailors cutter.
Parents Charles & Emma Hopkins, butler, Bristol
Private Frederick Miles JAMES 28175, Queens Own (Royal West Kent Reg’t)
posted 20th Bn, London Regiment. Age: 37?, Died of wounds 30 Mar 1918
Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France, XXXIII.B.14A
Born 1880, Amersham, farm labourer.
Parents: Mary Ann James, Widow.
Wife: Mary James née Martin, Md. 1903, 18 Beamond End, Penn Street.
Private Willie KNIGHTS TF/241618, Royal West Kent Regiment 1st Battalion
Age: 38, Killed in Action: 04 Oct 1917
Hooge Crater Cemetery, Ieper, Belgium, VII.L.2
Born: c1879 Ratcliffe on Soar, Notts
Parents Frederick & Jemima Knights, game keeper, Penn Bottom.
Private George Frederick MASON 174, Royal Buckinghamshire Hussars
Age: 18, Killed in Action 21 Aug 1915, Gallipoli
Helles Memorial, Turkey, Panel 16 & 17
Born c1897 Little Missenden
Parents Charles & Elizabeth Mason, farmer, Mop End Farm, Penn Street
Corporal Horace MILES 157701,
Royal Engineers 179th Tunnelling Coy
Age: 26, Died of wounds 20 May 1918
St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France, Q.III.F.8
Born c1892 Amersham,
Parents Alfred & Almiria Miles, chair adzer, Mop End.
Private Sidney George MILES 33679
Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry 1/1st Bucks Battalion
Age 41, 15 Jun 1918, Killed in action
Boscon British Cemetery, Italy, Plot 1 Row B Grave 1
Date/Place of birth c1877 Penn Street, chair maker
Parents William & Annie Miles, Penn Street,
chair maker. Wife Sarah Ellen Miles, Penn Street
The Miles family also lost two cousins of Horace and Sidney, Charles and John Miles of Holmer Green.
Lt. Joseph James WIDDOWSON, Wiltshire Regiment 1st Battalion
Age: 20, Died of wounds 23 Oct 1916 .
Contay British Cemetery, Contay, Somme, France, II.A.27
Born: 28 Jul 1896 Bedford
Parents Joseph James & Alice Widdowson née Plumbe,
Father JJW born, married & buried at Penn Street, itinerant hotel manager.
Private Sidney WILKINS 23078, Worcestershire Regiment 4th Battalion
Age: 19, Died of wounds 19 22 Aug 1915, Malta.
Pieta Military Cemetery, Malta, A.IX.3
Born: c1896 Winchmore Hill, Penn Street
Parents George & Laura Wilkins, Windsor chair maker, The Old Griffin, Mop End.
Rifleman Frederick WINGROVE 573671, London Regiment A Coy
1/17th Battalion, Age: 20, Killed in Action 20 15 Sep 1917.
Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Ieper, Belgium, Panel 52 to 54
Born c1897 Amersham, Parents Thomas & Sarah A Wingrove,
wood worker (chair), Woodside Cottage, Penn Street.
Private Alfred WRIGHT 28877, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Age: 32, Died of wounds 20 Aug 1917
Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium, IV.I.3
Born: c1885 Amersham, general farm labourer
Parents William & Kate Wright, general labourer, Winchmore Hill, Amersham
Wife late Primrose Dorothy Wright, Died 1916..
Winchmore Hill Memorial Hall, Buried at Penn Street.
Stoker, 1st class William John ROSE K/38486, HMS Pembroke,
Royal Navy. Age: 27, Died of wounds at home, 23 Feb 1919
Penn Street, Holy Trinity, Churchyard, Bucks, north of church
Born: 30 Jul 1892 Amersham
Parents William & Cissie Rose, bricklayers labourer,
Winchmore Hill, Wife: Lily Iva Rose, Elm Tree Cottages,
Winchmore Hill. Died 18 Feb 1976, aged 84.
World War Two
Leading Aircraftman Cyril Charles ABBOTT 930487 RAFVR.
Age 37, Died 05 Oct 1945, Mansfield. Costing Clerk (gas works),
Parents: Charles and Ellen Elizabeth Abbott, Mansfield;
Wife Amelia Florence Abbott, née Mee, Md. Sep 1939,
Address 1939, ‘Highlands’, ??, High Wycombe.
Private Reginald William T BOVINGDON 6102682, Royal Sussex Regiment
Age 31, Died 27 October 1942, ALAMEIN MEMORIAL Column 61.
Parents Ephraim and Florence Emily Bovingdon; 9 Penn Wood View, Penn St.
nephew of Mrs. E. Archer, of Nettlebed, Oxfordshire.
Private Harry Vincent READ 5385854, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Age 29, Died 22 January 1944, 9 MINTURNO WAR CEMETERY Coll. grave I, L, 5-7.
Parents Richard and Ellen F. Read;
Wife: Julia Read, of Flackwell Heath, Buckinghamshire.
Gunner Christopher Penn Ware, 1552938,
1 Bty. 1 Searchlight Regt. Royal Artillery
Parents: Penn and Sarah Ware, of Holmer Green;
Wife: Elsie Elizabeth Ware, of Cwmdu, Swansea.
On the evening of January 16th 1902, the day of the opening of Parliament, King Edward left London by train, for Penn House, Buckinghamshire, the seat of Earl Howe. On Friday the King had an excellent day’s sport. His Majesty was accompanied by Earl Howe, Earl de Grey, Viscount Curzon, Lord Herbert Vane-Tempest, the Hon. H. Stonor, Mr. A. Sassoon, and General Sir Stanley Clarke. Game was plentiful and his Majesty was very fortunate in choice of position, securing a number of fine birds. A record bag for the Penn preserves was the result of the day’s outing, 1,203 pheasants, twenty partridges, ten hares, and twenty rabbits being brought down.
Luncheon was served early in the afternoon in a tent close to Penn Farm, where most of the ladies of the house party joined the shooters. On Sunday his Majesty attended divine service at Penn Street Church with the members of the house party.
The visit was reported in great detail in the local newspaper, with details of the shooting party, the King’s visit to Penn Street church on the Sunday morning, a drive around High Wycombe in the King’s motor car on Sunday afternoon, and the King’s departure to Windsor on Tuesday morning.
The visit was also reported in ‘The Sphere’ magazine of 20th January, 1902.
Click the link or image below to open the page from The Sphere as a PDF file, (opens a new browser tab). King Edward VII visit to Penn Street 1902
The description of the church and the view from the tower, “The church stands on very high ground, the top of the church tower being 600ft above sea level. Windsor castle is easily seen from the tower”, reads as if the author may have mistakenly included a description of Holy Trinity, Penn, rather than Holy Trinity, Penn Street, which sits in a slight hollow in Penn woods.
From the South Bucks Standard, January 7th 1910.
Sir Alfred Cripps stood as Liberal candidate for the Wycombe constituency in the 1910 General Election. The newspaper reported the many meetings he held across South Bucks, including ones at Penn Street and Tylers Green.
He was elected as MP for Wycombe at the 1910 General Election, but was raised to the peerage by the Liberal party in 1914, prompting a by-election. He took the title Lord Parmoor, the name of the village where he lived, in his Wycombe constituency.
His youngest son Sir Stafford Cripps, became a Labour politician who served in the 1945 post-war Labour Government.
There is a family history written by his son on the Frieth and Parmoor website.
A report in the Bucks Herald dated May 31st, 1890, gives details of fund-raising for the erection of a church in Holmer Green. The important person who opened the Bazaar, Princess Christian of Schleswig Holstein, was, before her marriage, Princess Helena, the third daughter of Queen Victoria. The following extracts give a flavour of the florid reporting of the time.
“Honoured by the presence of Royalty, the grand Bazaar which was opened on Thursday afternoon at Penn House, Amersham, in aid of the fund for building a church at Holmer Green, was a great success. The beautiful grounds at Penn were never seen to greater advantage than beneath the bright beams of the summer sun which favoured the gathering by its presence, and we are sure that the genial weather had a great deal to do with the great interest and enjoyment which those present appeared to feel in the proceedings. . . . The object for which the Bazaar was held was a laudable one. The want of a church in Holmer Green has long been seriously felt, and with the concurrence of the Vicar of Penn Street (the Rev. J. J. Lindeman) in whose parish Holmer Green is situated, the Countess Howe with her usual generosity and kind-heartedness, decided to hold a bazaar at Penn House, with the object of raising funds for the erection of a Church at Holmer Green. We learn that promises of £550 in money has already been given, and Earl Howe has already given a site. It is estimated that a suitable building would cost £800, but it is desired, if possible, to form, in addition, some kind of endowment fund which would support a clergyman to minister to the spiritual needs of the inhabitants of the hamlet.”
The Bazaar was held in an enclosed portion of the park on the right of Penn House, where several tents had been erected. A large one was devoted to stalls with a great variety of items for sale, a second one housed tea and light refreshments and in the third one a variety of entertainments went on during the afternoon. All the tents had boarded floors and there was a boarded path from the house into the bazaar tent, covered in red baize. The approach to the ‘Bazaar’ tent was lined with palms in pots.
Shortly before two o’clock Her Royal Highness Princess Christian of Schleswig Holstein accompanied by her husband, daughter, the Earl and Countess Howe and other house guests, left the house and went to the ‘Bazaar’ tent while the band of the Grenadier Guards played the National Anthem. Rev Lindeman spoke briefly of the necessity to have a church in Holmer Green, which had a population of 480 and was two miles from Penn Street. After this the Princess declared the bazaar open.
The many stalls were in the charge of Countess Howe, assisted by the Princess, and other titled and well-connected ladies (details in Bucks Herald link below) except for the Parish one which was in the hands of Miss Brine. Our reporter goes on to give a description of the items for sale:
“The articles upon offer were of the most extensive and beautiful description, each stall being loaded with a wealth of fancy articles, handsomely embroidered cushions, wicker tables, beautifully hand-painted screens, brackets, sticks, umbrellas, dolls (some most beautifully dressed), portraits of Lord Curzon, and views of Penn House, and needlework, terra-cotta ornaments and costly bric-a-brac of every description, which we have not space to particularise. The stalls were elegantly draped in various coloured art and Indian muslins, and looked exceedingly pretty.”
During the afternoon, the Band of the Grenadier Guards played a selection of popular music. The entertainments in the third tent included Professor Overton, a ventriloquist, and performances by Professor Johannes Wolff, “the celebrated violinist to the King of Holland”.
A contingent of County Police was also in attendance and the bazaar continued the next day.
Looking ahead, the church was opened in 1894.
Footnote: In 2017 £550 and £800 were worth £71,140 and £103,476 respectively.
Hilary Hide, Holmer Green Today
The original much longer article from the Bucks Herald, May 31st, 1890,
with details of attendees and musical entertainment, May 28th and 29th 1890.
News item from the South Bucks Standard, 27th July 1894, reporting the laying of the foundation stone of Christ Church, Holmer Green, by Lady Howe, Saturday 21st July 1894.
Thanks to Ron Saunders for finding this newspaper article.