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The History of Penland

Thorough research has resulted in the understanding that the Lordship of Penland derived its name from the Penne family. First reference was made in 1278 when John, son of John, and William de la Penne are linked to the name of Penland. By 1308, John de la Penne is cited as bringing an action to recover woods and rents for Penland; being its sole owner by that time.

In the late 13th through to the early 14th Centuries there is little known about who exactly owned the title as many of the documents have been lost or destroyed over time. Court rolls held in the British Archives and also at the local document archive depository in Aylesbury indicate that Ralph le Penne held the title in 1443, Sir John, son of Ralph, is recorded as being owner of Penland.


John was appointed High Sheriff of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, made Knight of the Shire, and then called to Parliament as a member. His son, William, sadly predeceased him, and thus it was William’s son John who inherited the Lordship of Penland in 1477.

The Manor and the Manorial rights attached, including the title of Lord is quickly passed hands in the 1500's until 1553, Sir John is in trouble over the accounts of his monastic properties. He is pardoned however the debt stands at £28,000, an enormous sum for this time.

Queen Mary appoints Sir John as Sheriff of Oxfordshire and Berkshire and it was said that Mary treated him as he “henchman” in Oxfordshire. Sir John was summoned to Parliament as Lord Williams of Thame. This is in part to compensate him for the ending of the court of augmentations and to give him the dignity required to undertake his new role as Chamberlain to King Philip. He also receives gifts of 200 crowns from Mary and 1,000 crowns from Philip.

Lord Williams is also in favour with Queen Elizabeth. He is one of the Lords who escorts Elizabeth from Hatfield to London for her to take up the crown. Elizabeth appoints him as President of the Council in the Marches of Wales. By 1587 Isabel Le Penne dies and Richard inherits Penland. In 1608 Richard and his wife Agnes convey Penland to Ralph Smith and his wife Martha however in 1612 Penland manor and its lands was amalgamated with the Hall Barn estate however the title became dormant and once a Lordship Title has been created through English custom law it never expires, therefore with expert help and careful reconstruction it has been possible to legally reconstruct the Title of Lord of Penland once more.

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