John Whiteman PENSON (1832/3–1867)
St Giles section: Row 5, Grave B36

John William Penson




John Whiteman Penson

[DIED APRIL 21, 1867]





J. W. P.

1 8 6 7


John Whiteman Penson was born in Oxford in 1832/3 and baptised at St Aldate’s Church on 2 January 1833. He was the son of John Penson junior, a banker’s clerk at the Old Bank in the High Street, and Elizabeth Whiteman, who were married at St Aldate’s Church on 23 July 1820.

John’s two older sisters were also baptised at St Aldate’s: Eliza or Elizabeth in 1821, and Amelia in 1823. The family had moved to St Ebbe’s parish by early 1826, and three more of John’s siblings were baptised there: Eleanor (1826), Anne (1829, died the same year aged seven months), and Thomas Marson Penson (1830). At the time of the last baptism, John’s father was described as a gentleman, and was duly listed as a gentleman in Pembroke Street in St Ebbe’s parish in Pigot’s Directory for 1830.

John’s mother Elizabeth Penson died at the age of 36 at the end of 1832 and was buried in St Ebbe’s churchyard on 1 January 1833.

On 24 December 1834 his father remarried at St Aldate’s Church: his second wife was Mary Jacques.

The Ann Penson who died at Pembroke Street at the age of 78 and was buried in St Ebbe’s churchyard on 3 April 1835 was probably John’s grandmother.

John Whiteman Penson was only seven when his father John Pension junior died at the age of 46 in 1840. He was buried in St Ebbe’s churchyard on 23 February.

At the time of the 1841 census John (8) was living in King Street (now part of Merton Street) in St Peter-in-the East parish with his stepmother Mary Penson (aged about 40) and his older brother Thomas (10), and Sarah Jaques (85), who was probably his step-grandmother.

John’s eldest sister Elizabeth Penson died at Pembroke Street in St Ebbe’s at the age of 21 in 1842 and was buried in St Ebbe’s churchyard on 19 October.

Old Bank

In 1846 when John was aged 14, he became a clerk at the Old Bank in the High Street, Oxford (right), as his father had been before him, and he was to hold this job for the rest of his short life.

In 1851, when John was 19, he was lodging in St John’s Street.

On 24 July 1860 at North Hinksey (then in Berkshire), John Whiteman Penson, described as a gentleman of Littlegate, St Ebbe’s, married Jane Austin (born in Botley in c.1836, the daughter of the solicitor Joseph Austin).


At the time of the 1861 census John (28), who was still a banker’s clerk, and Jane (25) were living at 103 St Aldate’s Street with one servant. They had three children in the next three years:

  • Arthur Austin Penson (born in St Aldate’s parish in 1861 and baptised at St Aldate’s Church)
  • John William Penson (born in St Giles's parish on 18 March 1863 and baptised at St Martin's (Carfax) Church on 10 April)
  • Thomas Henry Penson (born in St Giles’s parish on 27 June 1864 and baptised at St Aldate’s Church on 20 July)

The family evidently moved to Park Villas at the south end of the Banbury Road between 1861 and 1863. Penson died there in 1867:

† John Whiteman Penson died at 2 Cleveland Villas (also known as Park Villas) at the age of 34 on 21 April 1867 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 26 April (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles’s Church).

His death notice in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 27 April 1867 read: “April 21, aged 34, Mr. John Penson, for 20 years a faithful and valued clerk at the Old Bank, in this city.” His effects came to under £800, and his widow Jane, at 2 Cleveland Villas, was his executor.

Penson’s fourth child was born a month after his death:

  • Amelia Elizabeth Penson (born at 2 Cleveland Villas on 19 May 1867 and baptised at St Aldate’s Church on 11 June).

John Whiteman Penson's widow Jane

At the time of the 1871 census Mrs Jane Penson (34) was making her living as a schoolmistress and was living at 12 Belmont, Lee in Lewisham with her daughter Amelia (4) and her sister Letitia Austin (23). Also living in the house were three governesses and ten female scholars aged between 8 and 16, plus a cook.

By the time of the 1881 census Jane (44) was a boarding house keeper at 21 Dalby Square, Margate and Amelia (14), was still at school and living with her.

In 1891 she was living at 38 Langdon Park Road, Hornsey, and her son Arthur (29), who was a dairy manager, was with her.

Jane Penson died at Gable Lodge, Chapel Road, Redhill, Surrey on 17 September 1895. The following notice was inserted in The Standard on 20 September 1895: “PENSON.—Sept. 17. at Gable Lodge, Edgehiil, Jane, widow of the late John Whiteman Penson, of Oxford, for many years resident at Lee, Kent, aged 60.”

Her effects came to £143 12s. 10d., and her executor was her son John.

Children of John Whiteman Penson and his wife Jane
  • Arthur Austin Penson (born 1861) married Lillian Alice Martha Brown at Edmonton in 1892, and they had four children: John Hubert Penson (1893), Arthur Morris Penson (1895), Lillian M. Penson (1896), and Mary Penson (c.1901). At the time of the 1911 census he was still a dairy manager, living at 39 Butter Avenue, Harrow. He died at South Lodge, South Cerney, Gloucestershire on 28 August 1947. His daughter was Dame Lillian Margery Penson.
  • John William Penson (born 1863) was a 28-year-old stock exchange clerk in 1891, paying a visit to Beckenham. In He married Margaret Alicia Turpin at Eastbourne in 1898, and they had one daughter, Margaret E. M. Penson (born 1900). At the time of the 1901 census John was a stockbroker, living in Hornsey with his wife and child. In 1911 he and his wife were living at 9 Thornhill Road, Croydon. He was still living at Croydon when he died at Teignmouth at the age of 82 on 18 January 1945.
  • (Thomas) Henry Penson (born 1864), known as Henry, was educated at the City of London School and Worcester College. In 1897 he married Sigrid Säve, the eldest daughter of Dr. T. A. Save, K.V.O., R.N.O., of Stockholm, and together they ran a small tutorial establishment in Wellington Place. He later became lecturer and tutor in Modern History and Economics at Pembroke College and lecturer in Economics at Worcester College, positions from which he resigned in 1922. During the First World War he was chairman of the War Trade Intelligence Department, and was knighted in 1918. In that year Sir Henry became the first chairman of the Anglo-Swedish Society. He was a Lecturer in Economics at Worcester College Oxford until 1922, and then Lecturer and Tutor in Modern History and Economics at Pembroke College, Oxford. His wife Sigrid died in 1938, and Sir Henry himself on 14 April 1955
  • Amelia Elizabeth Penson (born 1867) never married. In 1901 she was a nurse at the Homoeopathic Hospital in Great Ormond Street. She died at Croydon on 28 November 1946.



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