Friday, April 18, 2008

Sir William Pennington – TV Show “The Tudors”

I love historical TV shows. One of my current favorites is “The Tudors” on ShowTime. I find the show very interesting and thought provoking. I think the producers and writers have made an honest effort to be as historically correct as they can given that they are producing and writing a television show. As I was watching the most recent show (4/15/08) I was a little startled when a loud voice yelled “Pennington”. I looked closely at the TV, just a little surprised to hear my name mentioned, and watched a sword fight between three men unfold. I did not know at first who the two attackers were but it was obvious the man they were trying to kill was the Pennington whose name they had yelled out at the start of the scene.

As the show went on, I learned more about the Pennington who was killed. He apparently was a defender of Anne Boleyn, at that time a mistress for King Henry VIII and who later would become the Queen of England, and later beheaded.

Okay, I have to admit it, I was really curious about who this Pennington was and why was he a defender of Anne Boleyn. It was time to do a little research on the Internet.

I thought you might enjoy a few quick tidbits of what I found on the Internet because it seems that Sir William Pennington was not only connected to Henry VIII but also to Muncaster Castle.

I started my search on the Internet using my favorite search engine, Google. I started to do a search using Yahoo and Ask.com but decided I didn’t have the time right now so I saved those tasks for a future search.

I did a Google search for “Sir William Pennington: Tudors” & for “Sir William Pennington”. The results were very interesting. Not only did I find many websites with information, I found several books as well. For those of you who have not yet discovered this treasure trove available from Google, you should take advantage of this great research library. Google can display books that are available when you use their specialized book display. If you find a book of interest to you during one of these searches, many times they are available in PDF format for free and which you can add to your Google Library and download the PDF files.

First, I learned that Sir William Pennington was murdered around 1531. This helped to place the murder I saw on the Tudors TV show and its proper historical place for me. Not being a history expert, I did not know off the top of my head exactly when King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn were married. Next I learned that Sir William Pennington is a well documented person in English history. Then I learned about the family connection between Sir William Pennington and Muncaster Castle in England.

The first book I found was titled “The History and Antiquities of Allerdale Ward, Above Derwent” by Samuel Jefferson, 1842, Cumberland (England) - 462 pages. There were a couple of paragraphs in the book about one Sir William Pennington. I'm not positive the William Pennington who was killed in 1531 is the same person described in this book due to the dates mentioned. Not being a professional genealogist or one who can accurately interpret old English writings, I really can't tell if this text is referring to the same Sir William Pennington that was killed and 1531 or one of his descendents. However I thought it might be interesting to Pennington researchers to read what this book has to say. I quote:

“John Pennington, Esq., his son, married Mary, daughter of Sir John Hudleston; on which marriage in the 23rd Edward IV. The estate was settled upon the issue mail. And he having only a daughter Isabel, married to Thomas Dykes, of Warthle, Esquire, the estate came to the second brother, William Pennington, Esq., who was succeeded by Joseph Pennington, Esq., son and heir. Sir William Pennington, knight, son and heir, married Isabel, daughter of John Farrington, of Warden, in Lancashire, Esq., with whom he had a manor of Farrington."

The author goes on to say, "Joseph Pennington, Esq., married Margaret, daughter of John Fleetwood, of Penwortham, co. Lancaster, Esq. He was succeeded by his son and heir, Sir William Pennington, first Baronet, so created 21st June, 28th Charles II., 1676. He married Isabel, eldest daughter of John Stapleton, of Warter, co. York, Esq., (son of Sir Philip Stapleton, knight,) with whom the manor of Warter came to the Penningtons. He had issue, Sir Joseph, 2nd baronet. Philip, died 1731, without issue. Elizabeth, married, firstly, John Archer, of Oxenholme, co. Westmorland, Esq. ; and secondly, Thomas Strickland, of Sizergh, in the same county, Esq. Margaret. Sir William died 1st July, 1730, when he was succeeded by his son, Sir Joseph Pennington, second Baronet, who married the … Among the gentry of the county of Cumberland who were chosen by Charles II. to be invested with the projected Order of the Royal Oak appears the name of William Pennington, Esq.”

The next reference I found in the Google search concerned one Sir Richard the Southwell. The reference refers to 1531, and 1534 - 1535 at which time Sir Richard the Southwell. It does state that he and two of his brothers were involved in the murder of Sir William Pennington. I find it interesting that he was obliged to pay £1,000 for a pardon which was later confirmed by act of Parliament. I guess nobility could buy their way out of almost any situation in those days. Below is an abstract from the website for Sir Richard the Southwell. Below is an abstract from that website.

When a “In the later part of this time of his wardship he lived with the family of his cousin, Henry Howard. In 1534 and 1535, through the influence of the Howards, Sir Richard served as Sheriff of Norfolk. Nothing further is known of Southwell's education and upbringing until his entry into Lincoln's Inn, where he retained chambers as late as 1545, when already of age, but his family had long been clients of the dukes of Norfolk and it is possible that he was brought up in the ducal household. He seems to have been well educated for when put in charge of Cromwell's son he is said to have personally instructed the young man in pronunciation and etymology.

Southwell was placed on the commission of the peace in 1531 but in the same year he was involved with two of his brothers in the murder of Sir William Pennington and in 1532 he was obliged to pay £1,000 for a pardon which was later confirmed by Act of Parliament (25 Hen. VIII, c.32). Cromwell seems to have helped Southwell in this affair and by 1535 he was one of the minister's trusted agents in East Anglia. It was to Cromwell's patronage that Southwell and his younger brother Robert owed their advancement in augmentations. Southwell was particularly active in the Dissolution, although his conservative sympathies appear in his appeal of Mar 1536 on behalf of Pentney priory. During the Pilgrimage of Grace the Earl of Surrey reported to his father the 3rd Duke of Norfolk that he had taken counsel from ‘my friend Mr. Southwell’ in the raising of forces in Norfolk.


The next reference I found mentions Sir William Pennington and Muncaster Castle. It was an article printed on the New York Times.com’s website. The article is titled “It's all in the family at Muncaster" by Donald Gooddard, a writer who lives in London. The article was published July 28, 1985. This webpage has an interesting history of Muncaster Castle. You may find this webpage of interest as it does offer a few more details of Muncaster Castle and the Pennington family.

The next reference I found was on a website about the Tudors. The website is titled “Tudors – Radcliffe of the Tower”. Some of you may recognize the surname Radcliffe from the articles written by Nick Penington, chairman of the PRA's DNA study.

The next reference I found was about Sir William Pennington and Muncaster Castle. The page is titled “Pennington, Baron Muncaster”. I found this page very interesting because it provides additional details about the history of the Muncaster Castle and Sir William Pennington.

The next reference I found was another book in Google's library titled “The Baronetage of England: Containing a Genealogical and Historical” by Thomas Wooton and Edward Kimber published in 1771. Below is an abstract from one page in this book can which concerns the Sir William Pennington and Muncaster Castle.

I received a messge from Paul Pennington, Group Leader for Group 28 who offers this observation: "All those inappropriate f's are really stylized s's." Thanks Paul for the tip. Knowing this will help us when reading the text below. Paul was kind enough to make corrections to make it easier to read. You can find Paul's corrected text of the abstract below the original abstract.

Original Abstract:

The next was, Sir John Pennington, admiral to King Charles 1. of whofe integrity the King was fo confident, that on his judgment he principally relied, in all his maritime acTions, and whofe memory is celebrated by the hiftorians of thofe unhappy times. Mr. Le Neve, in his MSS. mentions this as a very ancient family, and after citing feveral records to prove their antiquity, goes on to Jofeph Pennington, of Pennington in Lancafhire, and Muncafter in Cumberland, Efq; who died about 1640, leaving iflue by Ifabel, daughter of Alverey Copley, of Batley in Yorkfhire, Efq; widow of Sir Robert Savile, of Howley in. Yorkfhire, Knt. a fon, William, and a daughter, Bridget, married to Sir William Huddleftone, of Millum-caftle in Cumberland, Knt.
William Pennington, Efq; fon and heir, died Aug. 1652. He married Catherine, daughter of Richard Sherborne, of Stonyhurft in Lancafhire, Efq; by whom he had four fons and five daughters; i. Jofeph, of whom hereafter; 2. Alan Pennington, M. D. living at Chefter, 1665, who married Bridget, daughter of John Aleworth, of Somerfetfhire, and had a fon, William, four years old, 1663 ; 3. Richard Pennington, of Salford in Lancafhire, barrifter at law, and of Greys-Inn, who married Anne, daughter of Robert Blundell, of InceBlun- dell in Lancafhire, Efq; and 4. William. Of the daughters ; Ifabel was unmarried, 1605; Catherine, married Sir Jeffrey Shakerley, of Shakerley in Lancafhire, Knt. governor of Chefter; Elizabeth, was wife to Sir Roger Bradmaigh, of Haigh in Lancafhire, Bart. and Bridget, married Thomas Heber, of Stainton in Yorkfhire, Efq. Jofeph Pennington, Efq; eldeft fon and heir, died about 1659, leaving iflue by Margaret, daughter to John Fleetwood, of Penwortham in Lancafhire, Efq. Sir William Pennington, the firft baronet of this family, fo created, 29 Car. II. He married Ifabel, eldeft daughter of John Stapleton, Efq; (who was eldeft fon of Sir Philip Staple- ton, Knt. of the Wighil family) by whom he had two fons, and two daughters, Elizabeth, married, firft, to John Archer, Sir Jofeph, his fuccenor; and Philip, who died, 1731, of Oxenholm, near Kendal in Weftmoreland, Efq; and fe- condly, to Thomas Strickland, of Sizergh, in the fame county, Efq; and Margaret. Sir William died at Warter in Yorkfhire, July 1, 1730, and was fucceeded in dignity and eftate by his eldeft fon, Sir Jofeph Pennington, Bart. who was one of the knights of the fhire for the county of Cumberland, and married Margaret, fourth daughter »f John, late lord vifcount Lonfdale, by whvn D d z 'he …


Corrected text provided by Paul Pennington, Group Leader for Group 28:

The next was Sir John Pennington, admiral to King Charles I, of whose integrity the King was so confident that on his judgment he principally relied, in all his maritime actions, and whose memory is celebrated by the historians of those unhappy times. Mr. Le Neve, in his manuscripts, mentions this as a very ancient family, and after citing several records to prove their antiquity, goes on to Joseph Pennington, of Pennington in Lancashire, and Muncaster in Cumberland, Esquire; who died about 1640, leaving issue by Isabel, daughter of Alverey Copley, of Batley in Yorkshire, Esquire; widow of Sir Robert Savile, of Howley in Yorkshire, Knight. a son, William, and a daughter, Bridget, married to Sir William Huddlestone, of Millum-castle in Cumberland, Knight.

William Pennington, Esquire; son and heir, died August 1652. He married Catherine, daughter of Richard Sherborne, of Stonyhurst in Lancashire, Esquire; by whom he had four sons and five daughters; 1. Joseph, of whom hereafter; 2. Alan Pennington, M. D. living at Chester, 1665, who married Bridget, daughter of John Aleworth, of Somersetshire, and had a son, William, four years old, 1663; 3. Richard Pennington, of Salford in Lancashire, barrister at law, and of Greys-Inn, who married Anne, daughter of Robert Blundell, of Ince Blundell in Lancashire, Esquire; and 4. William. Of the daughters, Isabel was unmarried, 1605; Catherine married Sir Jeffrey Shakerley, of Shakerley in Lancashire, Knight, governor of Chester; Elizabeth was wife to Sir Roger Bradmaigh, of Haigh in Lancashire, Baronet and Bridget married Thomas Heber, of Stainton in Yorkshire, Esquire. Joseph Pennington, Esquire, eldest son and heir, died about 1659, leaving issue by Margaret, daughter to John Fleetwood, of Penwortham in Lancashire, Esquire.
Sir William Pennington, the first baronet of this family, so created, 29 Car. II. He married Isabel, eldest daughter of John Stapleton, Esquire (who was eldest son of Sir Philip Stapleton, Knight, of the Wighil family) by whom he had two sons, and two daughters, Elizabeth, married, first, to John Archer, Sir Joseph, his successor; and Philip, who died 1731, of Oxenholm, near Kendal in Westmoreland, Esquire; and secondly, to Thomas Strickland, of Sizergh, in the same county, Esquire; and Margaret. Sir William died at Warter in Yorkshire, July 1, 1730, and was succeeded in dignity and estate by his eldest son, Sir Joseph Pennington, Baronet who was one of the knights of the shire for the county of Cumberland, and married Margaret, fourth daughter of John, late lord viscount Lonsdale, by whom.

I found another interesting reference to the parish of Pennington located in County of Lancaster, England. This reference was on “British history Online – The parish of Pennington”. This provided another piece of historical information about the Pennington family and Muncaster Castle. The source for this information was 'The parish of Pennington', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8 (1914), pp. 338-342. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=53324. Date accessed: 18 April 2008.