James PENN (1854/5–1918)
His wife Mrs Eliza PENN, née Collis (1857–1932)
Their infant children Ernest, Gertrude, Mildred, Eric, and Dorothy PENN
St Paul (St Barnabas) section, Row 46, Grave J24½

James Penn



Affectionate Remembrance






Also of




James Penn was born at Commercial Road, St Ebbe's, Oxford in 1854/5 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 5 January 1855. He was the son of the cook Henry Penn and Elizabeth Lovegrove, who were married at Holy Trinity Church, Oxford on 17 July 1851. His parents had three other children baptised at that church: Ann (1852), Edmund (1853), and Henry (1856). At the time of the 1871 census James (16) was an apprentice to a house painter and living at 7 Cambridge Street, St Ebbe's with his parents and his younger brother Thomas (14), who was a carpenter's apprentice.

Eliza Collis was born in Oxford in 1857 and baptised at St Thomas's Church on 12 April. She was the daughter of the blacksmith Benjamin Collis and Ann Howkins, who were married at that church on 15 February 1847. Her four siblings were also baptised at St Thomas's: Ann (1847), William (1849), Charles (1853, died 1854), and Sarah (1855). At the time of the 1861 census Eliza (4) was living in a yard between 23 and 24 Hythe Bridge Street in St Thomas's parish with her father Benjamin (39), who was now a coachsmith, her mother Ann (41), and her older siblings Ann (14), William (12), and Sarah (6). In 1871 Eliza (16) was living at Steane's Yard, Upper Fisher Row with her widowed mother Ann (51), who was working as a tailoress, and her sister Sarah (17).

On 1 February 1875 at St Peter-le-Bailey Church in Oxford, James Penn (20) married Eliza Collis (18): both were described as living in Broken Hayes They had ten children, of whom only five survived infancy:

  • Annie Elizabeth Penn (born in Oxford on 12 August 1876 and baptised at St Barnabas's Church on 31 August)
  • Harold James Penn (born in Oxford on 6 January 1879 and baptised at St Barnabas's Church on 27 February)
  • Eveline Blanche Penn (born in Oxford on 9 June 1881 and baptised at St Barnabas's Church on 31 July)
  • Archibald Walter Penn (born in Oxford on 26 February 1883 and baptised at St Barnabas's Church on 22 April)
  • Ernest Edmund Penn (born in Oxford on 21 September 1885 and baptised at St Barnabas's Church on 29 October);
    died aged 17 months and buried on 26 February 1887
  • Gertrude Edith Penn (born in Oxford on 7 November 1886 and baptised at St Barnabas's Church on 5 December);
    died aged 14 months and buried on 28 January 1888
  • Mildred Ethel Penn (born in Oxford on 19 November 1887 and baptised at St Barnabas's Church on 11 December);
    died aged three months and buried on 10 March 1888
  • Augusta Mary Penn (born in Oxford on 10 March 1889 and baptised at St Barnabas's Church on 21 April)
  • Eric Joseph Penn (born in Oxford on 10 April 1890 and baptised at St Barnabas's Church on 4 May);
    died aged 23 months and buried on 30 March 1892
  • Dorothy Alice Winifred Penn (born in Oxford on 29 February 1896 and baptised at St Barnabas's Church on 12 April);
    died aged four and buried on 26 April 1900.

By the time of the 1881 census James (26), described as a painter & grainer, was living at 31 Nelson Street in Jericho with his wife Eliza (24), who was a tailoress, and their first two children Annie (4) and Harold (2).

Seven more children were born before the next census, but three of them (all born in the same 26-month period) died in infancy, namely Ernest Edmund Penn (1885–1887), Gertrude Edith Penn (1886–1888), and Mildred Ethel Penn 1887–1888). It is likely that they were buried in an area reserved for infants in St Sepulchre's Cemetery rather than in this grave.

By 1891 James (36) and Eliza (34) were living at 56 Great Clarendon Street with their six surviving children: Annie (14), Harold (12), Eveline (9), Archibald (8), Augusta (2), and Eric (eleven months). Annie and her mother were both now working as tailoresses.

Their youngest son Eric died in 1892 just before his second birthday, and their next child Dorothy, who was born in 1896, died in 1900: again they were probably buried in the infants' section of this cemetery.

Their son Harold was married in 1899:

  • On 23 July 1899 in Steeple Aston, Harold James Penn (20), described as a house decorator of 56 Great Clarendon Street, married Mary Gammage (25), the daughter of the labourer James Gammage, who was born in Steeple Aston and still lived there.

James (46), who now described himself as a [sign]writer, grainer, and painter, was living at the same address in 1901 with his wife and their three youngest surviving children: Eveline (19), who was a housemaid; Archibald (18), who was a van driver; and Augusta (12). Their daughter Annie (24) was a cook at 311 Banbury Road, Oxford.

Their son Archibald was married in 1907:

  • In the fourth quarter of 1907 in the Abingdon registration district, Archibald Walter Penn married Agnes Allen.

James and Eliza Penn were still living at 56 Great Clarendon Street in 1911, and the three children now at home were Annie (34), who was still working as a cook; Eveline (29), who was a parlourmaid; and Augusta (22), who was an assistant mistress at an elementary school.

Their daughter Eveline was married in 1917:

  • On 17 September 1917 at St Margaret's Church, Oxford, Eveline Blanche Penn (35), described as a lady's maid of 71 Kingston Road, married Cecil Howard Maxted (29), a Corporal in the 1/8 Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment based at the Reserve Camp in Tunbridge Wells.

James Penn died in 1918:

† James Penn died at 71 Kingston Road at the age of 63 on 25 April 1918 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 30 April (burial recorded in the parish register of St Barnabas's Church).

He may have been granted a burial space in the St Barnabas rather than the St Giles section of the cemetery as he was in the choir there. A photograph of his funeral appeared in the Oxford Journal Illustrated on 8 May 1918, together with the following text, which explains his connection with the parish of St Barnabas:

The funeral of Mr. James Penn, 71 Kingston-road, who passed away on Thursday week, took place on April 30. The first part of the burial service was held in St Barnabas Church, and was conducted by Father Bown. At the Requiem Mass the Vicar (Rev. A. G. Bisdee) officiated. The service was fully choral and the organist was Mr. Morris. After the service the coffin was taken to the grave in St. Sepulchre’s Cemetery on a bier, followed by the choir and clergy and acolytes. The Rev. A. G. Bisdee officiated at the graveside. The chief mourners were Mrs. J. Penn (widow), Mr. and Mrs. Harold Penn (son and daughter-in-law), Mr. and Mrs Archibald Penn (son and daughter-in-law), Misses A. and G. Penn (daughters), Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Maxted (daughter and son-in-law), Miss Dorothy Penn (grand-daughter), Mr. and Mrs. Edward Penn (brother and sister-in-law), Mr. Tom Penn (brother) and Mrs A. Casemore (sister). Wreaths were sent by relatives and friends, also from clergy and choir of St Barnabas Church, “With deepest sympathy. From the patrol leaders and corporals, 5th Oxford B.P. Girl Guides.” The coffin bore the inscription: “James Penn, died April 25, aged 63 years.” The deceased had been a choirboy at All Saints’ Church, and had sung in the choir at St. Barnabas for 38 years on Christmas Day, 1917. The funeral arrangements were in the hands of Mr. W. H. Wheeler, 61, Walton-street. The photograph shows the procession and bearers on the way to the cemetery.

His effects came to £178 6s., and his executor was his widow Eliza.

Their daughter Augusta was married in 1919:

  • On 27 December 1919 at St Margaret's Church, Oxford, Augusta Penn (29), described as a school teacher of 71 Kingston Road, married Albert Guyatt (29), a farmer of Saskatchewan, Canada and the son of the engineer John Guyatt.

Augusta Guyatt died in the Headington registration district at the age of 30 near the beginning of 1920, just weeks after her wedding.

Mrs Eliza Penn died in 1932:

† Mrs Eliza Penn née Collis died at Hayes in Middlesex at the age of 75 on 23 August 1932 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 27 August (burial recorded in the parish register of St Barnabas's Church).

Surviving children of James & Elizabeth Penn
  • Annie Elizabeth Penn (born 1876) never married. She is probably the Annie E. Penn who died in Uxbridge district at the age of 78 near the end of 1954, in which case she is likely to have been living with her sister Eveline..
  • Harold James Penn (born 1878/9) and his wife Mary Ann had three children baptised at St Barnabas's Church: Sydney Harold James Penn (1900), Reginald Ivan Penn (1901), and Dorothy Evelyn Penn (1905), but both the boys died shortly after their birth. At the time of the 1901 census Harold (22), who was a house painter, and Mary Ann (27) were living at 17 Nelson Street in Jericho. By 1911 Harold (32) was an assurance agent for the Prudential, living at 51 Havelock Road, Hastings with his wife Mary Ann (36) and their only surviving child Dorothy. Harold joined the Royal Navy on 8 October 1917 and served in the First World War on the President and the Daedalus. Harold died at 885 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth at the age of 83 on 7 April 1962. His effects came to £1,870 18s. 10d., and his executors were his daughter Dorothy and her husband Harold Archibald Ingram.
  • Eveline Blanche Penn, Mrs Maxted (born 1881) and her husband Cecil had one child, Cecil E. J. Maxted, who was born in the Brentford district near the beginning of 1922. Eveline died in Uxbridge, Middlesex at the age of 70 near the end of 1951.
  • Archibald Walter Penn (born 1883) was a 28-year-old woodman in 1911, living at “The Hut”, Kennington Lane, near Oxford with his wife Agnes (30) and their children Phyllis (3) and Beryl (nine months). He was living at Destiny, Exeter Road, Honiton, Devon when he died at the City Hospital in Exeter at the age of 71 on 19 June 1954. His effects came to £1,040 0s. 1d., and his executor was the garage proprietor Harry Edward Augustus Holton, the husband of his daughter Phyllis.



Please email stsepulchres@gmail.com
if you would like to add information

These biographies would not have been possible without the outstanding transcription services
provided by the Oxfordshire Family History Society

© Friends of St Sepulchre’s Cemetery 2012–2017