From the Thorley Archives

The Pennington Files, Part One

Montague Pennington Florentio Romulus Sparrow, Rome, 1819,
Robert Pennington Remus Sparrow, Zurich, 1820,
George Waterloo Pennington Sparrow, Bruxelles, 1821.

These boys were all baptised on the Continent by their Grandfather, the much travelled Rev'd Thomas Pennington, Rector of St. James the Great, Thorley, 1798 - 1852. Altogether, Thomas' daughter Theodora Louisa and husband Robert Sparrow had twelve children - seven boys and five girls. All are recorded in the Thorley Baptism Registers. The three sons listed above were all 're-christened' at St. James, Thorley, 23rd April 1822.

After an academic career at Trinity and Clare Colleges, Cambridge, Thomas Pennington M.A. embarked on three long Continental excursions and wrote a book detailing his adventures. Following his marriage to Mary Sarah Sale in 1789 and the birth of Theodora in 1797 he came to Thorley in 1798. As well as Rector he also held the positions of chaplain to the Countess of Bath and later to Lord Chief Justice Ellenborough (Lord of the Manor of Thorley).

The Pennington Coat of Arms

Revd. Thomas Pennington is described by Elizabeth Grant (Frere) in 'Memoirs of a Highland Lady', 1806, 'as tall and thin and clever in an odd sort of way. They lived, this dreamy old clergyman, his managing wife, and spoilt child, in a parsonage standing in one of the shady lanes leading up to the church. The line of the front wall of the house was the line of the hedge that stretched on either side. The entrance was into the parlour without any passage or hall. The house was like a curiosity shop with a microscope that good Mr Pennington was ever ready to let us peep into.

The name 'Pennington' is preserved in Penningtons road in Thorley. Memorials to members of the Pennington and Sparrow families are to be seen on the South wall in St. James' church.

Bill Hardy
March 2005

The Pennington Files, Part Two

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