Penshurst Place, as it stands today, still resembles that which Sir John de Pulteney, a former Mayor of London, constructed between 1338 and 1341. Located near Tonbridge, Kent, England, the estate had been purchased in 1338 from Sir Stephen de Pencester, Lord Warden of the Cinque (Five) Ports, and the manor house was built as a country home where Sir John could hunt. During the centuries that followed the manor accumulated a rich history. Following are just a few of the highlights.
After Sir John, Penshurst changed hands between a few dukes and, in 1483, was inherited by Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham. Edward was both a proud and wealthy nobleman, the son of Henry Stafford (the 2nd Duke) and Katherine Woodville, sister to Queen Elizabeth (the wife of King Henry IV). King Henry VIII had visited Edward, whom he considered a threat to the crown, at Penshurst in 1519 and even though the king had been lavished with what today would be over £1 million as a gift, King Henry VIII had Edward convicted of treason and executed in 1521, at which point the king took control of Penshurst.
Henry used Penshurst as a hunting lodge but it was also where he stayed when he visited nearby Hever Castle while courting his future 2nd wife and queen, Anne Boleyn. Fast-forward to the king’s divorce from his 4th wife, Anne of Cleves, when Penshurst became hers, for a short time, as part of the settlement. Sir Ralph Fane (also Vane), who was knighted on the field of combat, was granted Penshurst in 1550 by Edward VI, the 13 year old King of England. However, less than two years later, Fane was convicted and hanged for treason, at which time the manor was given to Sir William Sidney by Edward VI as a reward for Sidney’s services as steward and tutor to the household.
Penshurst has remained in Sidney family hands since 1552. For seven generations Penshurst Place had continuous residence and upkeep by the Sidney family but, by the late 18th century, the estate had started falling into disrepair. Restorations began in 1818 and the estate did well until damage was sustained during World War II. As a means to assist in funding needed restorations, in 1947, Penshurst Place was opened to the public. The family’s stewardship of the manor has resided, since 1991, with Philip Sidney, 2nd Viscount De L’Isle MBE, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Kent.
Over For Now.
Main Street One