(including Forty Green, Knotty Green and Penn Street)


"The parish of Penn, containing Penn village and the hamlets of Penn Street, Knotty Green and Forty Green, covers an area of 3991 acres, of which 1664 acres are arable land, 722 laid down in permanent grass and 1268 acres consist of woods and plantations. The soil is heavy and contains chalk and flint, the former of which is worked in a pit in the south of the parish. The land rises from 223 ft. above ordnance datum in the extreme south of the parish to 563 ft. at the village. North of the village at Penn Bottom it drops to 372 ft., but rises again to 530 ft. at Penn Street, and in the north-west of the parish a height of 572 ft. is reached. The village, which is small but scattered, presents a picturesque appearance, and contains some cottages of 17th-century date but refaced with modern brickwork. Its high position is said to render it remarkably healthy... Penn Street, which is a hamlet of Penn and an ecclesiastical parish formed in 1850 out of the civil parishes of of Penn and Little Missenden, lies about 2 miles north of Penn and contains 1900 acres. The village is large and straggling and lies in one of the beautiful beech woods which cover the surrounding heights." [© copyright of the editors of The Victoria Histories of the Counties of England]



The following reference sources have been used in the construction of this page, and may be referred to for further detail. Most if not all of these volumes are available in the Reference section of the County Library in Aylesbury.

"Buckinghamshire Returns of the Census of Religious Worship 1851", Legg E. ed., 1991, ISBN 0 901198 27 7.
"Magna Britannia: Buckinghamshire", Lysons S. and Lysons D., 1806.
"The Place-Names of Buckinghamshire", Mawer A. and Stenton F.M., 1925.
"The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Buckinghamshire", Page W. ed., 1905-1928
"War Memorials and War Graves: Amersham, Chesham and area, Volume 10", Peter Quick.



War Memorials

War memorials in Penn have been transcribed by Peter Quick, and published in a booklet entitled "War Memorials and War Graves: Amersham, Chesham and area, Volume 10", available from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.



In 1798 the Posse Comitatus listed 197 men between the ages of 16 and 60 in Penn.

In the earliest government census of 1801, there were 927 inhabitants in 188 families living in 133 houses recorded in Penn.

Census YearPopulation of Penn

* = No names were recorded in census documents from 1801 to 1831.
** = Census documents from 1911 to 2001 are only available in summary form. Names are witheld under the 100 year rule.

Microfilm copies of all census enumerators' notebooks for 1841 to 1891 are held at the Local Studies Libraries at Aylesbury and Milton Keynes, as well as centrally at the PRO. A table of 19th century census headcount by parish is printed in the VCH of Bucks, Vol.2, pp 96-101.

Availability of census transcripts and indexes.

  • 1851 - Full transcripts and indexes for Buckinghamshire are available on CD-ROM, hard copy and microfiche from the Buckinghamshire Family History Society.
  • 1861 - Available on CD-ROM with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.
  • 1881
    • Available on CD-ROM from the Church of the Latter Day Saints, as part of the National 1881 Census Index.
    • Available on CD-ROM for Buckinghamshire, with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from Drake Software.
  • 1891 - Available on CD-ROM with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.

Church History


Details of the stained glass in the church can be found on the following web sites (the site includes many photos):

Penn Street

Details of the stained glass in the church can be found on the following web sites (the site includes many photos):


Church Records

The original copies of the parish registers for Holy Trinity, Penn have been deposited in the Buckinghamshire Record Office in Aylesbury, and they hold the following years:

EventDates covered
Christenings1560 - 1943
Marriages1560 - 1923
Banns1754 - 1900
Burials1560 - 1931

Copies or indexes to the parish registers are available from societies as follows:

Society Library*
Dates covered
Society Publications
Dates covered
1559 - 1837
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
1559 - 1901
Buckinghamshire Family History Society
1559 - 1837
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
1559 - 1901
Buckinghamshire Family History Society
1559 - 1837
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
1559 - 1901
Buckinghamshire Family History Society

* = material held in a Society library is generally available for loan to all members either via post, or by collection at a meeting.

An ecclesiastical census was carried out throughout England on 30 March 1851 to record the attendance at all places of worship. These returns are in the Buckinghamshire Record Office and have been published by the Buckinghamshire Record Society (vol 27). The returns for Penn showed the following numbers:

Penn, Holy Trinity102 - Morning General Congregation
117 - Morning Sunday Scholars

140 - Afternoon General Congregation
112 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars

Penn Street, Holy Trinity106 - General Congregation
90 - Sunday Scholars
196 - Total

175 - Afternoon General Congregation
90 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
265 - Afternoon Total

Beacon Hill
Particular Baptist
40 - Morning General Congregation
10 - Morning Sunday Scholars

60 - Afternoon General Congregation
9 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars

35 - Evening General Congregation

Providence Chapel
Wesleyan Methodist
150 - Morning General Congregation
70 - Morning Sunday Scholars

100 - Afternoon General Congregation
80 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars

180 - Evening General Congregation

Winchmore Hill
Wesleyan Chapel House
17 - Morning General Congregation
34 [sic.] - Morning Total

73 - Afternoon General Congregation
73 - Afternoon Total

43 - Evening General Congregation
43 - Evening Total


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Penn which are provided by:




Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Penn has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



Penn was described in 1806 in "Magna Britannia" as follows:

PENN, In the hundred and deanery of Burnham, lies about three miles north-west of Beaconsfield, and nearly four miles east of High-Wycombe. Penn (as its name, signifying the head, or top, implies,) stands on very high ground: the counties of Berks, Oxford, Bedford, Herts, Essex, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey, and it is supposed some parts of Sussex and Northamptonshire, may be seen from the church tower. About half a mile from the church is a spot called Beacon-hill, which it is probable has been formerly used as a signal post. A manor in Penn was from a very early period in the ancient family of that name which became extinct in the elder branch by the death of Roger Penn esq. in 1735, when this estate passed by the marriage of his sister and sole heir to Sir Nathaniel Curzon bart. whose grandson, Lord Curzon, is the present proprietor. The greater part of Penn house was pulled down about the year 1760; the remainder has been fitted up by Lord Curzon as an occasional residence.

The manor of Segraves, in Penn, now considered as the principal manor, belonged, in the reign of Henry II. to the family of Turville. Being vested in the crown, Edward II. gave it to his brother Thomas de Brotherton, from whom it descended to the Segraves, Mowbrays, and Berkeleys. The Marquis of Berkeley gave it, among other estates, to Sir Reginald Bray: it afterwards became the property of the Penns, from whom it passed, by inheritance, to Lord Curzon. The site of Segraves is moated.

The Windsor family had a manor in Penn in the reign of Queen Elizabeth called Bilinges; this is supposed to be a farm now called Bailing, which has been many years annexed to Lord Curzon's estate.

The Baker family had a seat in this parish, which was sold by their representative John Baker Holroyd, now Lord Sheffield. By a subsequent purchase it became the property of baroness Howe, relict of the Hon. P.A. Curzon. The house is occupied as a school for the sons of French emigrants, particularly those of the nobility, and of officers who have fallen in the British service. The establishment was instituted by government, and originally consisted of 60 boys, with a head master and three assistants, but the number has been gradually decreasing, and the establishment will, of course, ere long cease.

In the parish church are memorials of the families of Penn, Curzon, and Baker. Among these is a monument erected in memory of the two first wives of Lord Curzon, , "two as excellent women as ever blessed the marriage state." The monument of the Hon. Penn Asheton Curzon, who died in 1797, is by Bacon. There is a monument also for Gen. Haviland, who died in 1784.

The rectory of Penn was given by Lord Segrave to the priory of Chacombe, in Northamptonshire. King Henry VIII. granted it to Daniel Penn, whose wife Sibel was nurse to King Edward VI. and Queen Elizabeth. It is now the property of Lord Curzon who is patron of the vicarage.

Penn-street, Knattocks, or Knotty-green, and Forty-green, are in this parish.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SU916933 (Lat/Lon: 51.631065, -0.677967), Penn which are provided by:


Names, Geographical

The most probable meaning of Penn's name is 'enclosure', but there is an alternative, as the Celtic word pen, means 'headland' which does describe the villages position on a notable hill.