Holy Trinity

John Betjeman, observed that ‘within and without, the church has the charm of old watercolours’.

Penn, Buckinghamshire

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HP10 8NY

It reflects the changing beliefs and fashions of generations of churchgoers for over eight centuries.The flint nave is late 12th century, as is the font, consecration crosses and stone tomb. The south aisle and low tower are early 14th century with the chancel and Lady Chapel largely rebuilt in brick in the 1730s.The clerestory and the fine queen post roof with arcading were added in the 14th century.

The ‘Penn Doom’, one of only five surviving wooden tympanums in the country, is a 12 foot wide painting of the ‘Last Judgement’ on oak panels and hangs above the chancel arch.There is also an attractive arrangement of 14th century Penn floor tiles set into the floor of the Lady Chapel, and a fine collection of Tudor and Stuart brasses of the Penn family.

There is a well preserved example of Queen Anne’s arms on the nave wall. Six grandchildren of William Penn the Quaker, founder of Pennsylvania, are buried in a large family vault under the centre of the nave. Heraldic shields on the roof corbels portray eight centuries of English history. There is a particularly fine collection of 18th and early 19th-century wall monuments mainly to the Curzons and Howes.

In the churchyard there are many well known names, and two are notorious: Donald Maclean who defected to Russia in 1951 and David Blakeley who was shot in 1955 by Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in England.

In the Second World War, the church tower was an observation post of the Home Guard’s nightly watch from a wooden sentry box erected on the roof. They could see Windsor Castle, Ascot racecourse, Northolt airport and the outskirts of London, as well as American planes landing at Brackley in Northampton some 40 miles away.

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Social heritage stories

  • National heritage here

  • Magnificent memorials

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Famous connections

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Captivating architecture

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Space to secure your bike

  • Parking within 250m

  • On street parking at church

  • Level access to the main areas

  • Dog friendly

  • Café within 500m

  • Accessible toilets nearby

  • Church of England

Contact information

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