Landscape record 0687400000 - Penn Wood


Penn Wood: managed woodland from medieval times, known from historical sources, and with a range of archaeological features

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded


Type and Period (1)

  • MANAGED WOODLAND (Medieval to Modern - 1066 AD to 1999 AD)


Penn wood was part of the Manor of Taplow until 1197. The Domesday entry for Taplow notes that it had wood sufficient for 700 pigs (approxiamtely 1750 acres), btu I is not until 1203 that the name Penn Woods appears it in historical record. An agreement was reached between the lords of the manor of Wycombe and the commoners with regard to common pasture for pigs on both Wycombe Heath and in Penn Woods. A separate manor of Segraves was established in 1222 and in 1325 a dispute notes that the Seagrave manor included 100 acres of woodland. The accounts from 1372 show entries for the sale of 'tallwood' to London. In 1360 Sir Walter De Manny, lord of the manor, was is in dispute with John le Rans Junior over trees cut down from his 'Penwood'. In 1725, Daniel Defoe writes of the huge quantity of beech wood being supplied to London for wheel rims, firewood, tunnery, and furniture. The market for firewood declined with the increase of the use of coal as a fuel. In 1838, only 12 acres were still producing underwood by being coppiced and pollarded. The establishment a chair-making industry changed the woodland management regime. In 1840, William Hearne started a chair factory behind the Hit or Miss pub,and the census shows four other chairmakers, four sawyers, a pegler and timber dealre. In 1851, many of the mature beeches in both Penn Wood and common Wood were felled anticipating the Inclosure Award of 1855. The wood passed into the owernship of Lord Howe. Between 1858 and 1921 some 300,000 beech and oak trees were planted to fill in gaps as the woodland regenerated. The rhodendrun drives were planted for the benefit of the Countess of Howe. By 1900, the Wycombe chair industry was importing the majority of its timber from North American and the woods began to be neglected. Most fo the larch was extracted by Prisoners of War during the First World War. Lord Howe sold Penn Wood to Ernest Cook in 1940, and a monument was errected to the new owner in the form of a fountain (since removed). Penn Wood became a miltary training area in World War II and a camp of missen huts, pre-fabs and concrete roads was built at Penn Street (B2)
The survey carried out for the Woodland Trust on its purchase of Penn Wood in 1999 notes boundaries from the medieval period and from the inclosure in 1855, hollow ways, a ha ha surrounding the churfh, various ponds and quarries, and the base of the fountain. The sites interpreted as dell pits or probable natural solution hollows are not plotted as monuments in the SMR, but frequently noted across the interior of the wood (B1).
Penn Wood management plan 2000-2005 (B3).

Sources (8)

  • ---SBC20076 Bibliographic reference: John Blair and Nigel Ramsey (eds). 1991. English Medieval Industries. pp194.
  • ---SBC20077 Unpublished document: Laurence Keen. 2001. Correspondence from Laurence Keen regarding the medieval Penn tile industry.
  • ---SBC20078 Bibliographic reference: E S Eames. 1980. Catalogue of medieval lead-glazed earthenware tiles in the Department of Medieval and Later Antiquities, British Museum.
  • ---SBC20079 Unpublished document: Miles Green. 2003. Penn Tiles.
  • <1>SBC20067 Unpublished document: Neil Sanderson. 2000. Ecological and Historic Landscape Assessment of Penn Wood.
  • <2>SBC19623 Bibliographic reference: Miles Green. 1999. The History of Penn Wood.
  • <3>SBC24193 Unpublished document: The Woodland Trust. 2000. Penn Wood Management Plan: Draft Plan - Summer 2000.
  • <4>SBC25062 Digital archive: Environment Agency. Environment Agency LiDAR data.


Grid reference SU 9150 9600 (point) (Exact)
Civil Parish PENN, Chiltern, Buckinghamshire

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (32)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • Event - Survey: Ecological and historic landscape survey (EBC16289)

Record last edited

Mar 17 2020 7:10PM

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