DiCamillo Companion

Penshurst Place

  • House & Family History: Penshurst was purchased from the de Penchester family by Sir John de Pulteney in 1338. Sir John was an enormously wealthy man who made his fortune as a merchant and banker and served four times as lord mayor of London. At his death in 1349 (from the plague) Sir John owned 13 manors in seven counties and a large London house. Penshurst passed through a number of families, including, most notably, the doomed Staffords, dukes of Buckingham. The 3rd Duke entertained King Henry VIII at Penshurst at great cost in 1519. In 1521 the duke was tried for treason, beheaded, his honors forfeited, and his properties seized by the crown. In 1552 King Edward VI settled Penshurst upon Sir William Sidney; it remains in the ownership of his descendants today. Penshurst is most notable for the Baron's Hall, the finest surviving 14th century great hall (completed 1341) in England, complete with its unique octagonal central hearth (a fireplace was never installed). This amazing room features a 60-foot-tall chestnut beamed ceiling, arcaded windows, and a 16th century minstrels' gallery. It's likely that stone from Penshurst Place was used for the construction of the nearby Mabledon Park in the early 19th century.

    Comments: John Julius Norwich called the Baron's Hall "one of the grandest rooms in the world."

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The gardens were begun in the 14th century.

  • Architect: John Biagio Rebecca, Sr.

    Date: 1818
    Designed: Restorations in the Tudor-Gothic style

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    Architect: George Allen

    Date: 19th century
    Designed: Restored Harden Cottage

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  • John Bernard (J.B.) Burke, published under the title of A Visitation of the Seats and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, among other titles: Vol. I, p. 197, 1852.

    John Preston (J.P.) Neale, published under the title of Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, among other titles: 2.S. Vol. IV, 1828.

    Country Life: I, 576, 1897. XXX, 844 plan, 894, 1911. XXXI, 102 [Table], 366 [Settee], 438 [Cabinet], 1912. LII, 757 [Foreign Furniture], 1922. CLI, 554 plan, 618, 994, 1090, 1972. Feb 2 & 9, 2011.

  • Title: Penshurst Place Guidebook
    Author: NA
    Year Published: 1987
    Publisher: Derby: English Life Publications Ltd.
    ISBN: 0851012639
    Book Type: Light Softback

    Title: Movie Locations: A Guide to Britain & Ireland
    Author: Adams, Mark
    Year Published: 2000
    Publisher: London: Boxtree
    ISBN: 0752271695
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 1995
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 0300072074
    Book Type: Softback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade I

  • "The Beverly Hillbillies" (1967 - TV series; in the episode "Clampett Castle" Penshurst was used as the castle). "Anne of the Thousand Days" (1969). "The Prince and the Pauper" (1977). "Young Sherlock Holmes" (1985). "The Princess Bride" (1987 - for the sword fight scene). "Love on a Branch Line" (1994 - TV mini series, as one of the locations of Arcady Hall). "The Others" (2001). "Hidden Treasure Houses" (2004 - TV documentary by James Miller of Sotheby's). "The Other Boleyn Girl" (2008). "The Great Fire" (2014 - TV mini series). "Wolf Hall" (2015 - BBC TV mini series). "Mary Queen of Scots" (2018 - as Fotheringhay Castle and for the scene of Mary's execution).
  • Current Seat / Home of: Philip John Algernon Sidney, 2nd Viscount De L'Isle; Sidney family here since 1552.

    Past Seat / Home of: de Penchester family, until 1338. Sir John de Pulteney, 1338-49. Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, 15th century; Stafford family here from 1447 until 1521.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01892-870-307

    Fax: 01892-870-866

    Email: contactus@penshurstplace.com

    Website: https://www.penshurstplace.com/

    Historic Houses Member: No