Penn, Granville (DNB00)

PENN, GRANVILLE (1761–1844), author, second surviving son of Thomas Penn [q. v.], by his wife Lady Juliana Fermor, fourth daughter of Thomas, first earl Pomfret, was born at 10 New Street, Spring Gardens, on 9 Dec. 1761. He matriculated from Magdalen College, Oxford, on 11 Nov. 1780, but took no degree. Subsequently he became an assistant clerk in the war department, and received a pension on retirement. On 24 June 1791 he married, and settled in London. In 1834 he succeeded his brother, John Penn (1760–1834) [q. v.], in the estates of Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire, and Pennsylvania Castle, Portland. He was a member of the Outinian Society, founded by his brother, John Penn. He was in the commission of the peace for Buckinghamshire. Penn died at Stoke Park on 28 Sept. 1844. By his wife Isabella, eldest daughter of General Gordon Forbes, colonel of the 29th regiment of foot, he had three sons—viz. Granville John (1802–1867); Thomas Gordon (1803–1869), who took holy orders; William, of Lincoln's Inn and Sennowe Hall, Norfolk (b. 1811)—and four daughters, of whom Sophia, the eldest, married Colonel Sir William Gomm, K.C.B., and died in 1827. Pennsylvania Castle passed, on the death of the second son, Thomas Gordon Penn, to his first cousin, William Stuart, the heir-at-law, who transferred it to Colonel Stewart Forbes, a near relative. It was purchased, with its historical contents, by J. Merrick Head, esq., in 1887.

A life-size portrait is at Pennsylvania Castle.

Penn published a number of competent translations from the Greek, and many theological and semi-scientific works. ‘A comparative Estimate of the Mineral and Mosaical Geologies,’ London, 1822, was received with some approval in religious circles, but was severely censured elsewhere as an unscientific attempt to treat the book of Genesis as a manual of geology. A second edition, enlarged, and with answers to critics, appeared in 2 vols. London, 1825. ‘The Book of the New Covenant of Our Lord; being a Critical Revision of the Text and Translation of the English Version of the New Testament, with the aid of most ancient Manuscripts,’ &c., appeared at London in 1836. ‘Annotations to “The Book of the New Covenant,” with an expository Preface, with which is reprinted J. L. Hug's “De Antiquitate Codicis Vaticani Commentatio,”’ followed in 1837. These two were republished together, London, 1887, and are still valued. The revision is based on the ‘Codex Vaticanus,’ marked B by Wetstein. More useful in a different direction is Penn's life of his great-grandfather, Admiral Sir William Penn [q. v.], 2 vols. London, 1833.

His other works were:

  1. ‘Critical Remarks on Isaiah vii. 18,’ 1799.
  2. ‘Remarks on the Eastern Origination of Mankind and of the Arts of Cultivated Life,’ 1799.
  3. ‘A Greek Version of the Inscription on the Rosetta Stone, containing a decree of the priests in honour of Ptolemy the Fifth,’ 1802.
  4. ‘A Christian's Survey of all the Primary Events and Periods of the World, from the Commencement of History to the Conclusion of Prophecy’ (1811); 2nd edit. 1812; 3rd edit., corrected and improved, London, 1814. This work, dealing with the millennium, was attacked in an anonymous ‘Dissertation on the Seals and Trumpets of the Apocalypse,’ and was defended by Penn in
  5. ‘The Prophecy of Ezekiel concerning Gogue, the last Tyrant of the Church, his Invasion of Ros, his Discomfiture and final Fall; examined and in part illustrated,’ London, 1814.
  6. ‘The Bioscope, or Dial of Life, explained; to which is added a Translation of St. Paulinus's Epistle to Celantia on the Rule of Christian Life, and an Elementary View of General Chronology, with a perpetual Solar and Lunar Calendar, by the Author of “The Christian's Survey,”’ London, 1812; 2nd edit. 1814.
  7. ‘The Epistle to Celantia, translated from the Latin,’ 1813. This was republished with
  8. ‘Institutes of Christian Perfection of Macarius the Egyptian, called the Great; translated from the Greek,’ London, 1816; 2nd edit. 1828.
  9. ‘Moral Odes from Horace,’ London, 1816.
  10. ‘An Examination of the Primary Argument of the Iliad,’ London, 1821.
  11. ‘Conversations on Geology, comprising a familiar Explanation of the Huttonian and Wernerian Systems,’ &c., London, 1828; reprinted 1840.

[Works; Berry's Genealogies, ‘Buckinghamshire,’ p. 74; Gent. Mag. 1844, ii. 545; Crabb Robinson's Diary, 1869, i. 486, ii. 273; an autograph letter is Addit. MS. 27952, f. 157.]

C. F. S.