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Penn House itself dates from 1760, when Assheton
Curzon, the successor of the Penns, knocked down an earlier Tudor
building and replaced it with a modest-sized, but spacious country
mansion in red brick. Assheton Curzon was a considerable figure: he
sat as Member of Parliament for Clitheroe for nearly 40 years until
1790 and in recognition of his public service was elevated to the
House of Lords in 1794. During the nineteenth century, his grandson,
Earl Howe, entertained King William IV and Queen Adelaide at Penn in
his capacity as the Queen’s Lord Chamberlain.
These royal connections continued: in 1880 visits by the then Prince and Princess of Wales prompted the third Earl to enlarge the house considerably by adding new wings and a new frontage, thereby enabling him to accommodate sizeable and prestigious house parties. The final main addition came fifty years later: in the 1930’s the fifth Earl Howe, who was a prominent motor racing driver, built the mile-long drive to the house, suitably banked, for his personal enjoyment and convenience.
The large garden of Penn House is distinguished by its trees, and in particular by a cedar of Lebanon, which bears a small plaque commemorating the visits of King Williams IV and Queen Adelaide in the nineteenth century. The giant Wellingtonia in front of the house is 115 feet tall. Elsewhere, copper beech, weeping ash, oriental maple and poplar lend the gardens a varied yet unified character.