Select Pennington Surname Genealogy

Here are some Pennington stories and accounts over the years:

Gamel de Penitone

Gamel de Penitone, who lived during the reign of Henry II (1154-1189), took his name from the place-name Penington in Cumbria where he had his manor.  His bore an Old Norse first name, suggesting Viking ancestry. 

He was described as a
great benefactor to Conishead Priory, to which he gave the churches (with all their appurtenances) of Penington and of Muncaster twenty miles to the west, together with the chapels of Aldeburg, Whitebeck and Skeroveton in Lancashire and Cumberland. 

Gamel had four sons, Benedict, Meldred, Gamel and

Sir John de Penington and the Luck of Muncaster

During the War of the Roses, King Henry VI became lost after the Battle of Towton in 1464.  Sir John de Penington rescued him near Muncaster.  In gratitude the King presented Sir John with a fragile glass cup called the "Luck of Muncaster" and a blessing that the family would never run out of male heirs so long as the cup remained unbroken. 

Though the cup still survives, the last male Pennington of this line died in 1917.

The Penningtons of Aston-by-Sutton in Cheshire

These Penningtons, sometimes Pinningtons, were yeomen farmers of Aston from 1635 to about 1850. 

At the time of the restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, John Pennington of Aston, yeoman, was indiscreet in voicing his opinion that he hoped the young king's head would come to the block as well as his father's. There were consequences for opening his mouth at such a time.  John was put in the stocks and whipped until the blood ran.  He was then chased out of town and put in Chester jail until his fine could be paid.  

Isaac Penington in Good Times and Bad

Isaac Penington represented the City in the Long Parliament and proved to be the Rothschild of the Roundheads.  When money was wanted in the early years of the Civil War, application was generally made to the city through Alderman Penington.  If the Houses were showing courage and faithfulness to the cause, the Alderman promised money and once offered a guard of 300 citizens.  But when compromise about Stafford was in the air, the money was withheld.  Isaac later sat on the tribunal which convicted Charles I of treason and executed him. 

Those were the good times. 

The bad times came at the time of the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660.  Isaac was thrust as a prisoner into the Tower where he had once been its governor.  He was tried and sentenced to death, but died of his infirmities before the day of his execution came around.  His estates were confiscated.  These included Chalfont Grange, the home of the younger Isaac Penington, which was given to the Duke of Grafton, the illegitimate son of the King. 

Young Isaac Penington had by this time become a Quaker and was to suffer six imprisonments for his faith between 1661 and 1672.  Upon one occasion he was arrested while in attendance at meeting; once while walking upon the street in a funeral procession; at another time when in bed; and again upon the occasion of the birth of one of his children.  It was while he was in prison that his family was turned out of Chalfont

Nathaniel Pennington of Atlantic County, New Jersey

The first of the Penningtons to come to Atlantic County was Nathan Pennington, great grandson of the Ephraim Pennington who had first settled in New Jersey.  Nathan was a soldier in the Revolutionary Army who had volunteered at the age of 19. 

During the Revolution he was taken prisoner and sent to Quebec in Canada where he suffered very much, nearly dying of starvation.  He managed to escape with some of his comrades, one of their number mounting to the top of the wall by standing on the shoulders of the others, and the others being pulled up by means of their bed clothing, which being tied together, then lowered to the opposite side. 

Nathan was stationed in Atlantic county later, being in charge of property captured from the enemy.  He and his wife Margaret resided in Mays Landing, in a part called Pennington’s Point where was located the shipyard in which he carried out his business as shipbuilder.  Nathan died in 1810.  His son John was born in 1791, lived at Mays Landing and was a sea captain, vessel owner, and for a time sheriff of the county.

Pennington Deaths at the Hands of the Apaches

Larcena Pennington had survived a murderous attack on her by Apache Indians in Arizona in 1860.  Nine years later her father Elias Sr. and brother Elias Jr. were not so fortunate.

Both men were killed by Apaches while working on their farm fourteen miles south of Fort Crittenden.  Elias the father was plowing, with his rifle slung to his plow handles, while Elias the son was repairing an irrigated ditch some distance away.  Just after the father had turned his back on his land, Apache Indians in ambush shot him down from behind. 

His son remained to fight off the Indians.  In so doing he was mortally hurt, but finally managed to reach the ranch house.  There he remained until rescued by cavalry from the fort.  Eight days later the young man died. 

This account appeared in
Robert Forbes’ 1919 book The Penningtons: Pioneers of Arizona.

Pennington and Sitting Pretty

The Pennington name has a long history in New Jersey.  It was given a new lease of life in 1924 when the musical Sitting Pretty, the sixth and last collaboration of Jerome Kern, P. G. Wodehouse, and Guy Bolton, came out.  Sitting Pretty not only introduced many song hits, but it was also said to have done much to lay a foundation for modern musical comedy. 

Act One of Sitting Pretty started with the friends of Bill Pennington convening for a coaching party and picnic at the summer home of uncle William Pennington in Far Hills, New Jersey.  Bill’s chorus girl friend, Babe, questioned young Bill about his prospects.  But Bill was later to be disinherited by his uncle. 

Act Two began six months later, at Mr. Pennington’s winter estate in Florida.  A lavish costume ball was in progress, celebrating May’s “coming out."  The guests, dressed in the period of the 1850’s, danced polkas, lancers, and waltzes.  Bill sought out May and proposed and they lived happily ever afterwards.

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