The oldest parts of Penn House date from the 17th and early 18th centuries, when it served as the main residence of the Penn family, successive generations of whom were Lords of the Manor of Penn for nearly five hundred years. From being a modest-sized, albeit spacious, country mansion, the house was extensively augmented in the 19th century by their successors, the Curzon family. Assheton Curzon (1730-1820) was a considerable figure: he sat as Member of Parliament for Clitheroe for nearly 40 years until 1790 and in recognition of his public service was elevated to the House of Lords in 1794. During the nineteenth century, his grandson, Earl Howe, entertained King William IV and Queen Adelaide at Penn in his capacity as the Queen’s Lord Chamberlain.
These royal connections continued: in the 1880s visits by the then Prince and Princess of Wales prompted the third Earl to enlarge the house considerably by adding new wings and a new frontage, thereby enabling him to accommodate sizeable and prestigious house parties. Fifty years later, in the 1930s, the fifth Earl Howe, a prominent motor racing driver, built the mile-long drive to the house, suitably banked, for his personal enjoyment and convenience.
A 21st-century wing has recently been added to recreate a lost section of the house demolished in the 1960s.
The large garden of Penn House is distinguished by its trees, and in particular by a cedar of Lebanon, which bears a small plaque commemorating the visits of King William IV and Queen Adelaide in the nineteenth century. The giant Wellingtonia in front of the house is 115 feet tall. Elsewhere, copper beech, weeping ash, oriental maple and poplar lend the gardens a varied yet unified character.
The Estate’s Head Gardener, in association with local florists and craftspeople, runs a selection of gardening masterclasses during the year with themes such as ‘Gardening for small spaces’, Growing for Cut Flowers’, ‘Cottage Gardens’ and ‘Christmas Wreath Making’. Most of these events include a practical element and hopefully a beautiful wreath or arrangement to take home with you. See our events page or our Facebook Page for future events and booking.