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12 January 2016

Robert Horne Penney (1825-1902) - Ship-Owner

Judy Middleton 2015 (revised 2018)

 copyright © A.G.W. Penney
This fine photograph taken in 1900 shows 
Robert Horne Penney 
as a proud grandfather with A.G.W. Penney on his knee

Robert Horne Penney was the largest ship-owner recorded in the Shoreham Shipping Registers, being associated with some 41 vessels during his lifetime, besides at least two others registered at different ports while a handful of Shoreham ships were mortgaged to him. In partnership with George Robert Penney of Poole, R.H. Penney established the first tug-boat to work in Poole harbour called the Royal Albert, and later owned passenger ships sailing between Poole and Swanage. 

He inherited an interest in shipping from his parents George and Sarah Penney who enjoyed sailing their yacht Ann out of Poole harbour. On 11 September 1817 George Penney from Poole married Sarah Horne at Chichester because her family lived in Sussex but the Penneys continued to live at Poole. The wedding was a Quaker ceremony and George promised Sarah that with Divine Assistance he would ‘be unto her a faithful and affectionate Husband’. Seven other Quaker relatives signed the marriage document; they were Grover Kemp, John Kemp, Caleb Rickman, Sarah Rickman, Susannah Kemp, Priscilla Hack and Elizabeth Grover. Robert Horne Penney was the second son and he was born at Poole; there were to be eight siblings, five sisters and three brothers.

R.H. Penney moves to Southwick

 Copyright © G. Osborne
With thanks to Mr G. Osborne for granting permission for the reproduction of the above photograph. 
R.H. Penney lived in a house to the left of the high gabled Southwick Methodist Church in Albion Street, the only building to survive the massive redevelopment of the 1950s-1960s is the Schooner Public House on the right of this photograph.

copyright © J.Middleton
This photograph shows the corner site of Albion Street and Grange Road where Penney’s house at Southwick once stood.

copyright © J.Middleton
This elegant sailing ship with its tall masts is probably 
moored at Penney’s Quay.
In the early 1850s Robert Horne Penney came to live at Southwick, West Sussex where his cousin Edward Lucas had been a ship-owner and merchant since around 1819. The cousins shared the house called originally Alexandra House, which was an elegant old residence situated on a corner site in Albion Street with a nearby path leading under the railway arch to the Green; the house was in close proximity to Shoreham Harbour. Later on the quay due south of the house became known as Penney’s Quay and he had his own sail loft on the north side of Albion Street and warehouses behind his house. Penney renamed the house Alicandu but quite where this name came from nobody seems to know. Perhaps it was the start of his obsession with the letter ‘A’ because many of his ships were given names beginning with that letter. When the Penney family left the house, they moved to Alexandra Villas, Brighton. Was that a coincidence?

In 1852 Lucas decided to leave Sussex and take up a partnership in a bank at Luton, since absorbed by Barclays. Penney took over the Southwick business and he also fell in love with Lucy, his second cousin and the daughter of Edward Lucas. The marriage took place at Luton on 20 July 1853 and this generation of Penneys also produced a large family of children but sadly only three survived into adulthood. Two daughters died of diphtheria while the family were living at Southwick.

The children of the marriage were:

Guilielma Penney born 1854 died 1864
Lucy Hannah Penney born 1856 died 1871
Edward Lucas Penney born 1859 died 1864
Ada Margaret Penney born 1861
Robert Alfred Penney born 1863
Gertrude Lucas Penney born 1866 died 1871
Sidney Rickman Penney born 1867

copyright © J.Middleton
The erstwhile Penney’s Wharf was photographed on 7 April 2015.

It was only natural that Robert Horne Penney should take a keen interest in Shoreham Harbour. He was one of the Shoreham Harbour Commissioners and when that body was wound up in 1873 he became a Shoreham Harbour Trustee. Although there was a new title, many familiar faces were still on board. As the harbour limits had such a unique position straddling the borders of East Sussex and West Sussex and being part of five parishes (Aldrington, Portslade, Southwick, Kingston Buci and Shoreham) the net of qualifying trustees was cast wide. There were seventeen trustees and the subscribers appointed four members; ship-owners and traders had three representatives each; Shoreham traders, Steyning Justices and Brighton Town Council had two each while Worthing Local Board had one.     
In the 1874 Directory Robert Horne Penney was noted as having several strings to his bow because as well as importing timber, deals and boulders, he was also a ship-owner, wharfinger and coal merchant. In the case of the boulders, most of them were destined for Runcorn on Merseyside, either for use in the glass industry or building trade. By the 1920s bricks imported from Belgium were a common sight being unloaded at Penney’s Wharf. It is amusing to note that ordinary bricks were unceremoniously dumped on the quayside whereas ‘facing’ bricks were treated with greater care. By this time the firm was known as Robert Horne Penney & Sons and surprisingly enough it did not stop trading until 1992.

R.H. Penney moves to Brighton

 copyright © J.Middleton
Number 15 Alexandra Villas, Brighton photographed on 10 March 2015.

Perhaps because of his daughters’ deaths in 1871 or it may have better suited his business interests, R.H. Penney decided to move away. The Southwick house was renamed The Grange and a school was established there.

The Penney family moved to a brand new house at 15 Alexandra Villas, Brighton. The villa was ideally situated for Penney because a short stroll down the hill brought him to his office in Queen’s Road, which at first was located at 79 Queen’s Road but by 1888 it was at 82 Queen’s Road. He had closed his office at Southwick in 1879.  

  copyright © J.Middleton
Penney’s office was situated on the east side of Queen’s Road near Brighton Railway Station.
  copyright © J.Middleton
This photograph dates from 2009 and shows how the building containing Penney’s office has been swept away.

It is a measure of his business success that the Penney family was soon on the move again. This time it was to a large red-brick villa called Highcroft set in five acres of land at Dyke Road, Brighton. Like Alexandra Villas, this property too was newly built, being erected in 1876.

One problem with living so far from the centre of town was that there was as yet no gas main there. In order to have the convenience of gas, Penney was obliged to come to a special arrangement with the Gas Company for them to lay a gas main to his house. When the gas main was in place he wrote to the Lighting Committee of Brighton Council requesting them to install street lamps along Dyke Road to his house. He thought it was a reasonable request seeing as he had paid for the gas main to be installed but the Lighting Committee turned him down. 

His nearest neighbour was Mr Edward Thomas Booth of Bleak House who had his own museum of stuffed birds next door and Booth Museum is still there to this day.

 copyright © J.Middleton
Today Booth’s Museum is in fine fettle.

The 1881 census records R.H. Penney living at Highcroft with his three surviving children Ada, Robert and Sidney. But his wife was not at home on census night and perhaps she was away on a visit. But there were two visitors at Highcroft and one of them had an interesting Christian name. She was Guilielma Tylor, a 24-year old British born subject currently living in Switzerland. Penney’s first-born child who died at around the age of ten was also called Guilielma, which suggests that perhaps it was a family name. The other visitor had the exotic name of Kuskini Guldbrand, a young woman aged 18 who was also a British born subject but was living in Denmark at the time. Probably she too was linked to the Penneys, either by family ties or by trade. There were also three domestic servants in the household, all Sussex-born and 21-year old Ellen Richardson was born nearby in Portslade.

  copyright © J.Middleton
Today Highcroft is tucked away behind Quebec Barracks and you can just see the gables in this photograph. Note ‘South Court’ on the gate piers; the modern property was probably built on the site of South Lodge, once part of the Highcroft grounds.

By 1898 R.H. Penney’s two sons, Robert Alfred Penney and Sidney Rickman Penney, lived nearby in Highcroft Villas, the former in a house called Keldholm and the latter in a house called Larkbarrow at number 22.  

   copyright © J.Middleton
This magnificent house is 36 Highcroft Villas and next door to it behind the wall on the right is North Lodge, once part of the Highcroft grounds.

Penney’s Dyke Road property included a garden lodge, coach house, stables and extensive gardens. The Penneys delighted in entertaining worthy people in the grounds during the summer. R.H. Penney was especially interested in the Temperance Movement and the Band of Hope and such people were often entertained there. He was also keen on education and the furtherance of religious teaching; thus Sunday Schools and those connected with Bible societies were also welcome at Highcroft. No doubt local policeman and their wives were surprised to receive invitations too but R.H. Penney had a great sense of public duty and he was also a Justice of the Peace. The more his business prospered, the more he felt an obligation to do some good in the world and his wife gave donations to what later became Brighton Society for the Blind founded by the famous William Moon (1818-1884). Moon lived at 104 Queen’s Road, which was not too far away from Penney’s office.

copyright © J.Middleton
Band of Hope members signed a pledge to avoid alcohol; this group was photographed in 1913 by Mr Wiles, 
the well-known Hove photographer. R.H. Penney was President of Brighton's 'Band of Hope'.

copyright © D. Ransom
The Brighton Branch of The British Women's Temperance Association at a Garden Party at Highcroft in 1913

A list of Garden Parties and events held in the Highcroft gardens :-

July 1907 a Garden Party for the inmates of Brighton Workhouse.
August 1908 Garden Party for Brighton’s oldest postman Mr E. Wood who started working in 1844, the event attracted 200 people and musical entertainment was provided by the East Brighton Orchestra.
June 1909 a Garden Party for the inmates of Brighton Workhouse.
June 1909 Conference was held on the lawns by the Brighton Medical Mission
July 1912 Belgrave Street Congregational Church Sunday School outing.
August 1912 Brighton YMCA activity day
June 1913 Garden Party for the British Women's Temperance Association
June 1913 Garden Party was held for old people that lived in the Brighton Workhouse
June 1914 Garden Party for British Women's Temperance Association
June 1915 Garden Party for the Old Shoreham Road United Methodist Church.
June 1916 Belgrave Street Congregational Church Sunday School outing.

copyright © D. Ransom
The Brighton Branch of The British Women's Temperance Association at a Garden Party at Highcroft in 1914

A brief list of the charities the Penney Family were involved with

Mr R.A. Penney:-
President of Brighton Branch of ‘The Band of Hope’
President of the Relief Fund for ‘The Sick and Distressed of Brighton’
Treasurer of the Brighton Branch of ‘The British and Foreign Bible Society’
Committee Member for ‘The Relief of Distressed Widows’

Mrs R.A. Penney:-
President of the Preston Branch of ‘The National Women’s Temperance Society’
Committee Member for ‘A Shelter for Girls’ (looking after friendless girls in Brighton and Hove)
Mrs Penney was an active supporter of ‘The Free Church League for Women’s Suffrage’

Mr Sidney Penney:-
Secretary of the Brighton Branch of ‘The Wesleyan Brotherhood’.

Friends’ Meeting House

copyright © J.Middleton
The Friend’s Meeting House in Brighton also has a lovely, small garden, which is a rarity in a very crowded corner 
of Brighton.

R.H. Penney was regular in his attendance at the Friends’ Meeting House in Brighton, which was built in 1805 at Prince Albert Street and twice altered and enlarged in the same century. The land on which it is built once belonged to William Grover, his father also William Grover before him, and his grandfather John Grover before that. Grover is a surname that frequently crops up in relation to R.H. Penney. Today the notice board states the building belongs to the Religious Society of Friends.

Penney still employed the old Quaker mode of address using ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ in conversation and correspondence. Quakers were meticulous in their ways and they used ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ because it was always singular in meaning, whereas ‘you’ could be both singular and plural.

Penney insisted alcohol should not be allowed aboard any of his ships and therefore enjoyed a good record of safety. In his business dealings Penney built up a network of like-minded Quaker friends, many of them being relatives. Although early on in his ship-owning career, Penney owned some vessels outright, his later preference was to divide the 64 ship shares into small units, sometimes even going down to a single share. This had the advantage of minimising the cost of any losses and if the voyage were successful, the profit was spread more widely.

R.H. Penney as a Shipowner

In 1852 Penney purchased his first two ships from his father-in-law Edward Lucas. They were Trial and Menodora; both Canadian-built brigantines from the more economical end of the ship-building market. It was natural that Lucas should also own shares in other Penney vessels such as Alice Hawthorn, Andromeda, Aldebaran, Auriga and Southwick. Edward Lucas retired to Brighton where he died at Buckingham Road on 28 November 1874. Richard Lucas, also described as a Luton banker, had shares in Capella and Alfred Lucas, described as a Brighton gentleman, had shares in Antaries, Alpheta, Adara and Albeiro.

 copyright © J.Middleton
An evocative old postcard of Aldrington Basin with sailing ships and their tall masts; it is the eastern reach of Shoreham Harbour.

It should be noted that Penney had a fondness for his ship’s names to begin with a letter ‘A’. Some were named after stars, constellations and galaxies such as Adara, Albeiro, Aldebaran, Andromeda, Antares, Arcturus and Auriga or from figures in Greek mythology such as Alcestis and Asterion. Then there was Arbutus a more down-to-earth name since it is the strawberry tree genus while Atrato was the name of a river in Colombia. There was also a ship called Capella, perhaps an honorary ‘A’ because it is the brightest star in the constellation Auriga. Apart from being the first letter of the alphabet, perhaps another reason was that some of Penney’s ships sailed on a regular basis to the Antipodes. The Penney house-flag had a broad blue border with a central five-pointed red star, possibly representing the Southern Cross, a constellation that was conspicuous in the southern hemisphere. But the device placed on a black-painted funnel was a five-pointed white star.

copyright © J.Middleton
Thomas Glazebrook was Master of the Alastor.
R.H. Penney enjoyed a good reputation as an employer. He was known to be fair and just in his dealings and masters and sailors signed up for voyage after voyage. For example, there were the Pooles, all Shoreham master mariners; Captain Francis Poole sailed in Penney ships Jessamine and Osprey, finally leaving to become marine superintendent of the Penney Fleet. Edward Poole was captain of Ruby, Andromeda and SS Vesta and Edward Poole, junior, was captain of Atrato. Another loyal employee was Captain T. Boyling of Southwick who spent his entire working life of 41 years with the firm. First of all he was mate of Kingston, then he became master of Menodora, Neilly, Mary and Atrato. Another Penney stalwart was Captain Thomas Glazebrook master of the Cora Linn and Alastor. 

It is also pleasant to note that Penney was accustomed to treat shipbuilding workers to a special tea after a launch.

Quakers in History

George Fox (1624-1691) was the founder of the Quaker movement in the 1640s, which was a time of great social upheaval due to the English Civil War. Fox was an eloquent preacher and made a considerable impression wherever he went. He was not content to limit himself to his native Leicestershire either but travelled around Scotland, Ireland, and England and in 1671 visited North America. However, it was not all plain sailing as the authorities did not look kindly on his activities and he was frequently put in prison.

In 1682 William Penn (1644-1718) headed a party of Friends or Quakers who sailed for the New World aboard The Welcome in search of religious freedom and arrived in 1682. There were Sussex people on board including the Buckman family from Billingshurst and James and Anne Paine from Brighton.. It was not a surprising move when you consider Penn’s history. He was thrown out of Oxford University because his conscience forbade him from conforming to the Anglican Church. His writings were regarded as so dangerous that he was sent to the Tower of London, which ironically gave him the time to write a Quaker classic entitled No Cross, No Crown. Pennsylvania was named after him.

The Friends took root in America and they were in the forefront of the fight against slavery, emancipating their black slaves as early as 1788, whereas slavery was not abolished in British territories until 1834 and in the United States in 1865 after the American Civil War.

Quaker women adopted a plain style of dress and modest bonnets, considering bright colour and ornamentation unfitting. But it is interesting to note that women were treated more equally within the Quaker community than in the world outside. For example, women could even become ministers. Indeed, Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845) famous for her work towards prison reform in England was a Quaker minister. But the first female priests in England were not ordained until 1994 although the wider Anglican community abroad had taken the step before this. In the USA Quaker women were active in working for the abolition of slavery and equal rights for women.

As for Sussex, George Fox found time to tour the county with his message too. The first monthly meetings of Quakers in Sussex were held at Ifield and it is said that William Penn often attended meetings at Steyning.

The authorities were worried about Quakers and anyone in possession of their literature was liable to spend ten months in prison. There was also the thorny question of tithes, which everyone was obliged to pay towards the upkeep of parish church and priest. But the Quakers did not belong to the established church and saw no reason to contribute towards the cost. This was illegal and their goods were seized, often when they were languishing in prison.

The Scrase family who lived at West Blatchington felt the brunt of anti-Quaker feeling. John Scrase and Henry Scrase were sent to prison from November 1660 to January 1661 for attending a Quaker meeting at Lewes. Joane Scrase, widow, was in trouble for not paying her tithes. In 1663 her tithe bill was £90 and when the money was not forthcoming, officials descended on the family farm at West Blatchington and removed 28 ‘Beasts’ worth £120. In 1664 Richard Scrase and Walter Scrase refused to take the Oath of Allegiance and spent time in Horsham gaol for their pains. But the Scrases were still defiant and in 1668 a quarterly meeting with representatives from all the Quaker Meetings in Sussex forgathered at widow Scrase’s house on 2 December. There is also a tradition that Quakers used to meet in an upper room at Kemps, an ancient house in High Street, Portslade, which is still there.
copyright © J.Middleton
There is a tradition that Quakers used to meet 
secretly in this house called 
Kemps, High Street, Portslade.

Quakers at Lewes were hard pressed in the 1650s; they were mocked and abused on their way to and from the meeting house and when they were inside, Lewes people broke the windows, lobbed cow-dung through the gaps or endeavoured to set the place on fire. Meanwhile, the Officer of the Peace stood by and did nothing but rather encouraged the riotous behaviour.

One of the most famous Sussex Quakers was Richard Carver of Brighthelmstone. He was mate of the coal brig Surprise that Captain Nicholas Tettersell sailed to France with the fugitive King Charles II aboard in 1651. Apparently, Carver carried the King ashore on his shoulders. Carver knew the identity of the fugitive but kept his mouth shut. After the restoration with Charles II safely on his throne, Richard Carver made so bold as to visit the King in 1669. This time it was the King who recognised him and was very friendly towards him. Carver said he had only helped a fellow man in distress when he assisted the royal fugitive and now he wished the King to set free some Quakers who were in prison, having been deprived of all their possessions. Moreover, he produced a list containing 100 names of those thus afflicted. The King must have blanched at such a request because he explained the country gentlemen complained much about Quakers. But he did allow six prisoners to be released.

In 1688 the Toleration Act brought some relief when Quakers were officially allowed to meet in registered premises. But the Act did not occur during the reign of Charles II who had died by then; it happened in the reign of King James II in the same year in which he was deposed. 

It is interesting to note that Quakers have been at the forefront of establishing many English businesses that have since become household names. For instance, Cadbury’s, Fry’s and Terry’s in the confectionary world, Huntley & Palmer of biscuit fame, Clark’s the shoe enterprise, Barclays and Lloyds in banking and on the practical side Bryant & May who made matches and Abraham Derby noted for his iron-working.

The Quakers excelled in the commercial world because they were hard-working people but it must be partly due to the fact that other avenues of advancement were closed to them. For example, they were unable to enjoy a university education because of their refusal to take the relevant oath. But in October 1828 University College, London opened its doors and it was the only university in the realm that did not require the oath. One of the founder members was Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid (1778-1859) a Jewish gentlemen and Hove landowner. He embraced the cause because Jews and other non-conformists were also barred from universities. Goldsmid purchased the site in Gower Street and later endowed the first Chair of Geology as well as University College Hospital. 

Even in the twentieth century the Quaker way of life was not an easy path to follow. They were pacifists and therefore became conscientious objectors in both world wars; this hardly made them popular with the general public, who interpreted their reluctance to don uniform as displaying a lack of patriotism or even smacking of cowardice. But it took courage to defend the Quaker view that it was unlawful to kill another human being, never mind whether or not he was an enemy, before authorities who desperately needed more manpower.

R.H. Penney’s Will

Robert Horne Penney died on 14 December 1902  (his will was dated 8 May 1896) and the executors were his son Robert Alfred Penney, Caleb Rickman Kemp of Bedford Lodge, Lewes, and Montague Spencer Blaker, a Lewes solicitor. Penney and Kemp received £500 each for the trouble of being executors while Blaker received £200. The gross value of the estate came to £92,444-2-3d and the net value of R.H. Penney’s personal estate came to £51,951-9-1d. The executors had to re-swear the will in October 1903 presumably because the estate had increased in value to £94,390-9-3d. The will ran to thirteen pages.                   

It is often said that the deaths of children either drive the couple apart or bring them closer together. The Penneys seem to have enjoyed a close relationship. If Penney’s will is anything to go by, he seemed most concerned that his widow should be well provided for. Lucy Rickman Penney received Highcroft and the lodge, stables, coach house and land plus ‘all my horses, carriages, harness, garden tools and implements, potted plants, household furniture, plate, linen, china, glass, books, prints, pictures and ornaments, liquors, fuels, consumable household stores and provisions’. In other words absolutely everything at Highcroft. He also left her £500 in cash. But he had second thoughts about the money and there were two codicils to his will, both increasing the money to be paid to his widow; in October 1897 it was to be £1,000 and in October 1901 the amount was increased to £2,000. Besides this, he also left £24,000 on trust to the three executors to invest and his widow was to be paid the interest and an annual income from it.
His two sons, R.A. Penney and S.R. Penney received £8,000 each
His daughter Ada Margaret Wallis, wife of John Ernest Wallis, received £8,000 invested.
The children of his late brother Harrison Penney received £500 each; they were Norman, Charles Albert, Ann Hobson, Maria Constance and Sarah Catherine.
Gertrude Mary Janson, niece of Harrison Penney, received £100
His brother-in-law John Edward Lucas received £500
Jane Lucas, widow of his brother-in-law Alfred Lucas, received £500
The children of Alfred Lucas received £500 each; if they were over 21 they could have cash but for children under 21 the money had to be invested as shares in the Friends’ Provident Institution
His sister-in-law Hannah Knight and her children received nothing ‘not from any want of affection’ but because they were already amply provided for
His wife’s cousins Ellen Lucas, Isabella Lucas and Elizabeth Mary Appleton received £125 each
His sisters Catherine Penney, Elizabeth Horne Penney and Mary Penney were also remembered and so were his cousins William Penney of Poole, chemist, and Benjamina Rickman Penney of Poole.
Richard George Saunders, head clerk, and John Boyling, clerk received £100 each but only if they were still in his employment at the time of his death. It would be interesting to know if John Boyling was related to the T. Boyling who was captain of some of Penney’s ships.
Each captain and the over-looker were left £50 provided they had been working for him for five years or more at the time of his death
He left £100 to each of the following charities
United Kingdom Band of Hope Union
National Temperance league
United Kingdom Alliance for the Suppression of Liquor
He left £200 to each of the following charities
Bedford Institute First Day School
Home Mission Association
The Peace Society
British and Foreign Bible Society
London Temperance Hospital
Friends’ Foreign Mission Association
Friends’ Home Mission Association

 copyright © D.Sharp
R.H. Penney's son Robert, was Chairman of the Shoreham Harbour Trustees and was
at the opening of The Prince George Lock in 1933

Some Shareholders in the Penney Ships

The Rickman Family

The Rickman family figured in R.H. Penney’s ship shares. Penney’s mother-in-law was Benjamina Rickman before she married Edward Lucas. John Rickman, described as a Falmer gentleman and later as a Brighton gentleman, owned shares in Capella, Astrad, Lyra, Altair, Alcestis and Antares. Mary Hannah Rickman, a Lewes spinster, owned shares in Andromeda while Rachel Rickman, a Ringmer spinster, had shares in Antares.

The Wallis Family

R.H. Penney’s son, Sidney Rickman Penney, married Emmeline Wallis and from this marriage A.G.W. Penney was born, the last in the male line to carry on an interest in R.H. Penney & Sons. R.H. Penney’s daughter Ada Margaret, married John Ernest Wallis. R.H. Penney’s brother Harrison was apprenticed for seven years to Arthur Wallis, Brighton lithographic and letterpress printer, bookseller and stationer. When his apprenticeship was completed, Harrison moved to London and married Maria Ianson in 1852.

The Wallis family were well-known local Quakers, particularly the Brighton merchant with the wonderful name of Marriage Wallis. He had shares in the Astrad, Andromeda, Aldebaran, Alcestis and Lyra. In 1863 Marriage Wallis became one of the first three trustees of what later became known as the Alliance Building Society. He was also Treasurer of the Soup Fund and Relief Committee as well as being a founder member of Brighton’s Y.M.C.A. In 1884 he placed £500 into a special fund enabling the Y.M.C.A. to purchase Steine House, one of Brighton’s most interesting houses because of its association with Mrs Fitzherbert. 

 copyright © J.Middleton
Marriage Wallis donated £500 in order that the YMCA could purchase Steine House.

The Glaisyer and Kemp Families

The partners of long-established Brighton chemist Glaisyer & Kemp also had shares in some of Penney’s ships. The firm was established in 1790 when John Glaisyer was noted as a ‘chymist and drugist’. (sic) A treasured possession was an ancient Bible printed at Lyons in around 1562; In contained 1,200 pages of Latin text illustrated with wood-cuts. In 1803 a youngster by the name of Waring Kidd of Godalming was apprenticed to John Glaisyer, the younger of Brighthelmston. It was a seven-year undertaking and the father was obliged to pay £100 for the privilege. The lad had to be a model of good behaviour because under the terms of the contract he was not allowed to play cards, dice or any unlawful game, neither could he ‘haunt taverns or the Playhouse’.

In 1812 Isaac Bass (1782-1855) a tallow chandler of Brighton and a Quaker, married Sarah Glaisyer, daughter of John and Sarah Glaisyer of Brighton. George Aitchison has an interesting anecdote to relate about Isaac Bass. It concerns an eccentric little house constructed by a Mr Jenkins in the eighteenth century. The house was graced with a turret and a cupola while the whole exterior was covered with scallop shells. Unfortunately, it stood in the way of Bass’s ambitious to drive a modern road through the jumble of old streets. He told Jenkins that he could name his price but Jenkins was not interested and naturally wished to remain living in the house he created. One day a smart coach drawn by four horses drew up outside the Shell House and Jenkins was cordially invited to step inside and enjoy a drive to London. By the time he returned to Brighton the Shell House had gone. Isaac Bass owned shares in eight boats, some of them fishing boats registered at Shoreham but it was mostly in the 1820s, 1830s before R.H. Penney came on the scene.   

Thomas Glaisyer was registered as a pharmaceutical chemist in 1852 and his partner John Kemp registered the following year. Edward Glaisyer later joined the firm and was registered in 1878. In 1891 Glaisyer & Kemp were among the first traders to apply for electricity to be supplied to their Brighton premises. They traded at 11/12 North Street and in 2015 there is still a Glaisyer & Kemp at 24 Church Road, Hove.
 copyright © J.Middleton
Glaisyer & Kemp are still business at 24 Church Road, Hove

The family connection came about when George Penney’s sister Susanna married Grover Kemp in 1816. George Penney was R.H. Penney’s father and Grover Kemp and John Kemp were two of the witnesses at R.H. Penney’s wedding. Grover Kemp was also related to Thomas Read Kemp, the instigator of Kemp Town. Grover Kemp was a Brighton druggist and a Quaker minister. One of their children was Caleb Rickman Kemp of Lewes who became Mayor of Lewes twice and was also a J.P. for Sussex. The couple’s middle daughter Sarah married George Penney of Poole. 

A descendent of the family was Thomas Glaisyer born at Brighton in 1888. Although he came from strong Quaker stock, he grew away from his roots and became an Anglican priest and, remarkably, so did his three brothers. It may have had something to do with the family’s friendship with the charismatic Father Wagner. The Revd Thomas Glaisyer was Rector of Kingston Buci from 1938 to 1961. In view of his family history, it was a fitting residence because Penney’s ships were registered at the adjacent Shoreham Harbour.

Thomas Glaisyer, the chemist, purchased shares in the Avon in 1862. It was his largest investment because he owned 32 shares. His next most important stakes were sixteen shares each in Atrato and Yarrow. Thereafter the proportions went down and his least holding was three shares. His other ship-shares were in Capella, Arcturus, Southwick, Andromeda, Alderbaran, Altair and Italy.

John Kemp also had sixteen shares in Atrato and Yarrow. Then, like his partner, the number of ship-shares decreased until he had four in each of the following, Southwick, Adelbaran and Lyra. Other ship-shares were in Arcturus, Italy and Auriga.

Robert Glaisyer died on 28 April 1885 aged 74 years. Marriage Wallis delivered the address and Caleb Rickman Kemp of Lewes read the prayers. Glaisyer was laid to rest in the Friends’ Burial Ground at Black Rock.

The Hack Family

Daniel Hack was a Brighton merchant and a Quaker. He had some shares in the following Penney ships Arcturus, Yarrow, Astrad, Andromeda, Alderbaran, Cora Linn, Lyra, Altair and Alcestis.

Daniel Pryor Hack was fond of books and he created a proprietary library in a room in the Friends’ Meeting House in Ship Street. In 1879 when he was in his 85th year he wrote to the Mayor of Brighton and Town Council offering £500 to create a Free Library. He wrote ‘It is my earnest desire, in making this offer, to introduce no book which might have a tendency to detract from the precious truths contained in the Holy Scriptures, or to lower the standard of morality enforced therein.’

 copyright © J.Middleton
In 1879 Daniel Pryor Hack donated £500 to create a Free Library at Brighton.

The Robinson Family

The Robinson family travelled to the Meeting House at Brighton twice weekly and knew Daniel Prior Hack.  Martin Robinson came from Surrey and settled at Saddlescombe and he and his wife had eight children. The youngest child was Maud who later on wrote an enchanting memoir of her childhood at Saddlescombe. The farm supported 900 sheep; each flock roamed the Downs freely during the day under the watchful eye of shepherd and dog but at night the flocks were folded on arable land, thus keeping them safe while at the same time enriching the soil. The Robinson girls were sent to a school at Lewes run by three Quaker ladies but the boys were obliged to travel all the way to Ackworth, near Pontefract in Yorkshire to attend a Quaker boarding school established in 1777; home visits were rare.

Martin Robinson had a few shares in Penney ships Astrad, Andromeda, Lyra and Alcestis. Joseph Robinson, a miller at Crawley owned three shares in Aldebaran while Mary and Jane Robinson, gentlewomen and spinsters of Crawley, owned one share in the same vessel. Henry Robinson and Joseph Robinson, millers of Lewisham, Kent, owned four shares each in the Cora Linn.

It is interesting to note that Isaac Brown of Ackworth owned five shares in Aldebaran. Isaac Brown was the first principal of Flounders College and the Robinson boys attended its forerunner at Ackworth. 

Ships Associated with Robert Horne Penney (In Order of Registration at the Port of Shoreham)

There were 64 ship shares in each vessel. It is interesting to note there were some female shareholders in Penney’s ships but they were either spinsters or widows because married women had no independent rights at that time.
To put R.H. Penney’s ship-owning career into perspective, it should be noted that in 1874 there were no less than 161 sailing ships registered at Shoreham and some 88 were built locally.

1852 Trial– Brigantine, built at New Brunswick, Canada in 1847: 146 tons. The vessel was purchased from Edward Lucas on 1 July 1852. On 27 August 1852 a mortgage was taken out on the ship with Edward Lucas, formerly a Southwick ship-owner but by then a banker of Hitchin, Hertforshire. The mortgage was cleared on 4 December 1854 and in 1858 the vessel was transferred to Poole.

1852 – Menodora – Brigantine, built at Prince Edward Island, Canada, in 1846: 166 tons. The vessel was purchased on 2 July 1852 from Edward Lucas. On 5 October 1852 an £800 mortgage was taken out on the ship with Edward Lucas. In October 1862 the vessel was transferred to Hartlepool.

1854Ruby– Brigantine, built at Aberdeen in 1805, lengthened at South Shields in 1844, purchased by Edward Lucas and rebuilt in 1844: 188 tons. The master was Edward Poole. The vessel was re-registered in January 1856 when William Hamshar Hardwick became the new owner; he was a Southwick ship-owner and coal merchant. The vessel was lost near Filey in 1861. W.H. Hardwick died on 16 March 1867. (It should perhaps be mentioned that some ancient coal brigs were notoriously leaky. The owners were not worried because the cargo of coal was not spoilt by sea-water sloshing around in the hold but the conditions must have been intolerable for the crew. The coal brigs continued in use long after their sell-by date because they were coastal vessels).

1854 – Blue Bell – Brigantine, built at Shoreham, Sussex by James Britton Balley: 198 tons. The vessel cost £2,558 and was adorned by a female demi-figurehead. John Hugh was the master and he also became captain of Capella.  It seems Blue Bell must have held a special place in Penney’s heart because he kept her for over 30 years, which is something of a record for him. Unlike other Penney ships, she never strayed far from home being engaged in the coastal trade and sometimes venturing to the Baltic or France. In December 1878 she had a cargo of barley aboard and was sailing from St Malo to Yarmouth when she was caught in a vicious winter gale. She lost her masts and her boats and was brought home to Shoreham in a sorry state. Her cargo was unloaded while she was repaired and then it was back to sea.
The average cost of providing food per man per week for the crew of Blue Bell between 1858-1876 was put at 9/-.
She continued trading until the 1880s when even a doting owner such as Penney must have realised the vessel was just too elderly for further work. She was sold and broken up at Port Talbot with the register being closed on 30 July 1886.

1856 – Osprey – A three-masted topsail schooner constructed at Shoreham by James Britton Balley in 1856: 216 tons. The vessel cost £3,164, there was a bird figurehead and there were painted ports. Perhaps her name was apt because the ship gained a reputation of being a fast sailing ship. Francis Poole was the master. The ship was altered to a two-masted brigantine and re-registered on 21 January 1861. In December Osprey was sold to William Hamshar Hardwick. On 18 March 1867 the vessel was abandoned at sea lat. 50 17 N. long. 16 4 W.

1856 – Empress – Schooner built at Jersey in 1856: 93 tons. George Griggs, oyster merchant of Shoreham, owned her. Griggs mortgaged the vessel with R.H. Penney twice. The first time was in 1857 for £200 plus 5% interest per annum, which was cleared in 1859. The second time the mortgage was for £500 plus 7% interest. The vessel became the property of R.H. Penney by default. On 18 June 1868 Penney sold her to Thomas Glaisyer who sold it back in September the same year. On 12 January 1878 R.H. Penney sold her to Richard Penney of Poole. She stayed with the Penney firm until 1894 and was one of the last sailing ships they owned.

1858 – Clio – Brigantine built at Prince Edward Island, Canada, in 1857: 217 tons; billet figurehead but after re-fitting in June 1858 she had a scroll figurehead. On 31 December 1869 the vessel was lost off Flamborough Head.

1860 – Alice Hawthorn – Barque with three masts built at Shoreham in 1857 for William Scott Stonehewer, junior, Hove gentleman; female bust figurehead. She sailed to Tasmania on her first voyage. In 1860 R.H. Penney owned 22 shares and Edward Lucas owned 42 shares. Penney was described as a Southwick merchant. On 18 July 1863 there was a collision and the vessel foundered. According to Shoreham Shipping Registers the event occurred off Malaga but in the Penney Papers it was recorded as happening in the Black Sea.

1861 – Neilly – Barque built at Campobello, New Brunswick, Canada in 1855: 219 tons: female bust figurehead. It is interesting to note she was built for the Australian wine trade. According to the Penney Papers the vessel was purchased from Shaw, Savill & Co in 1861 for £1,250 subject to a certificate of sale dated 10 March 1860 ‘empowering Thomas Orfleur Master Mariner and Commander of the said ship to sell the ship at any port of the (United Kingdom) for a sum he may deem sufficient within twenty months of this certificate.’ R.H. Penney owned this ship outright. On 9 May 1878 the vessel was sold for a hulk or to be broken up.

1862 – Avon – Brigantine built at Prince Edward Island, Canada in 1862: 195 tons: female bust figurehead. R.H. Penney and Thomas Glaisyer were joint owners with 32 shares each. In May 1867 it was sold to two Shoreham ship-owners.

1863 – Atrato – Barque built at Kingston, Sussex by J. May & T.Thwaites who started out on their career by building fishing luggers at Hove and at Brighton before embarking on larger vessels at Kingston opposite the entrance to Shoreham Harbour; the Atrato was their largest ship up until that date: 292 tons: female bust figurehead. Masters of the vessel were William Henry Blann, Edward Poole and T. Boyling, the latter being captain for seventeen years. After the launch Penney entertained around 50 friends and associates to a cold luncheon laid out in a marquee erected in front of his house.
R.H. Penney, Thomas Glaisyer, John Kemp and Caleb Rickman Kemp owned equal shares in the vessel of 16 shares each. On 24 June 1871 John Kemp mortgaged his 16 shares with R.H. Penney for £400 plus 5% interest. The mortgage was discharged on 30 June 1873. The ship was sold to J. Bull & Son of Newhaven and transferred to Newhaven in 1895. She was run down and sunk off Tyne.

1864 – Capella – Barque built at Southwick in 1863 by John Shuttleworth: 279 tons: female figurehead. Shuttleworth’s yard was near the entrance to the canal and he built five barques for Penney, the others being Yarrow, Arcturus, Astrea and Andromeda; all of them were employed in the deep-water trade and some of them carried cargo of a different sort when they took emigrants to Australia and New Zealand.
R.H. Penney owned 28 shares and there were three other shareholders. Mr Penney threw a party for the workers, their wives and children. First of all there was a substantial tea and then in Mr Penney’s field various amusements and entertainments were laid on. John Hugh was the master and when the ship was re-registered in 1869 John Hugh was still captain. In the 1859s he had been captain of another of Penney’s ships, the Blue Bell. In March 1874 Capella was sold to foreigners.

1864 – Arcturus – Barque built at Southwick in 1864 by John Shuttleworth: 279 tons with a female figurehead. John Kenyon was the master. The ‘ship stranded on the reef one mile northwards of the island of Macronzie, Long Island’. Vessel lost 1 March 1869.

1864 – Yarrow – Barque built at Southwick in 1864 by John Shuttleworth: 286 tons: female bust figurehead. R.H. Penney, Daniel Hack, Thomas Glaisyer and John Kemp owned equal shares in the vessel with 16 shares each. William Wood was the master but when the ship was re-registered in 1869 D.E. Tidy was the master. In 1870 the Yarrow ‘lost rudder in Bay of Biscay, taken in tow by HMS Himalaya, towed by chain cable, caused vessels to come together and Yarrow’s bows stove in under Himalaya’s stern. January 1870 abandoned, crew landed at Gibraltar.’ According to the Penney Papers the Yarrow was ‘abandoned at sea in a sinking state’ on 15 January 1870 lat 46 30 N long. 9 25 W.  
There is a marvellous photograph in Cheal’s book of Shuttleworth’s yard at Southwick taken in 1864 showing three of Penney’s ships; Yarrow and Arcturus are being fitted out while Astrea is on the stocks. However, it is sad to record that none of these fine ships had a long career and by 1870 all three had been lost at sea.

1865 – Mary – Brigantine built at Prince Edward Island, Canada in 1864: 244 tons: female figurehead. Eli Coleman was the master. RH. Penney was the owner. The ship was re-registered in 1869. Ten years later she was sold and broken up at Great Yarmouth.

1865 – Astrea – Barque built at Southwick 1865 by John Shuttleworth: 392 tons: shield figurehead. R.H. Penney held 12 shares, the largest holding, and eight other people owned the other shares. The ship was totally wrecked on 26 November 1867. According to Penney’s Papers she was ‘lost in Black Sea, Captain Cobby drowned’.

1865 – Southwick – Built of wood at Sunderland in 1865: 237 tons: shield figurehead.
James Lowther was the master. R.H. Penney only held 8 shares in this vessel while Edward Lucas held 16 and Thomas Glaisyer held 10; there were five other shareholders as well. When the ship was re-registered in 1869 R.H. Penney held 16 shares and there were six other shareholders..
On 16 March 1869 the Southwick set sail from Sunderland bound for Alexandria and was never heard of again. The Register notes that the ‘underwriters consider her lost and have paid the Insurance’. The Penney Papers provide additional information about where she went down ‘supposed on the Knock’.

1866 – AndromedaBarquebuilt at Southwick and launched on 20 December 1865: 354 tons: shield figurehead. Miss Penney, daughter of R.H. Penney, christened the ship but while the ship was moving towards the river, she ‘burst the ways and stuck in the mud’. It was necessary to summon the steam tug to haul her out. As was usual on these occasions Mr Penney entertained his employees and their wives and families to tea.
Edward Poole was the master; he was later to become captain of S.S. Vesta. Eight people held shares in the vessel and R.H. Penney’s holding was the largest. When the ship was re-registered in 1869 Penney’s shares had dropped to four and there were three additional shareholders.
11th voyage – 1873/1874. The Andromeda sailed from Liverpool to Cardiff in ballast; then she loaded up with a cargo of coal bound for Singapore; on the homeward voyage she carried a general cargo from Singapore to London.
12th voyage – 1874/1875. She sailed from London to Penang and Singapore with a general cargo; she also carried a general cargo from Singapore to Glasgow.
Repair Account – ‘7 new sails, repairing old sails, carpenters’ repairs, sundry, ropes, oil, paints and ship chandlery’ £379-12-2d. Sundry repairs in Singapore £239-5-7d’.
There is a letter from R.H. Penney ‘merchant, ship-owner and wharfinger, Southwick, Shoreham’ with a residence at 15 Alexandra Villas, Brighton. The letter was unsigned and so was probably an office copy. It was simply addressed to Dear Friend.
‘I herewith send thee this ship’s a/c for last voy: and thy personal a/c respecting the same up to the same time, by which thou wilt see that she is still behind £14 – as before advised I could not get anyone to entertain the purchase as she then was at the price of £2,000. She has been continued on an A1 class for 6 yr. Re-coppered and supplied with new bowsprit, main yard and rider keelson and generally overhauled at a cost of £667-11-11, my estimate was that it would not exceed £700. I have advertised her for sale and had many communications with parties respecting the sale. I had an offer of £3,200 subject to inspection, which I declined. I have had another offer viz: £3,400 subject also to inspection – payable £1,200 in cash, £1,000 @ 6 months, and £1,200 to remain on mortgage. This I accepted subject to the £1,000 being secured by mortgage, and to be paid @ 6 months. It was made after the vessel’s stores were on board for the voyage so I proposed they should either be put on shore or that he should take them at cost, payment @ 6 months, secured by mortgage, or in cash less discount – He declined these conditions and the ship sailed on the 6th – I did not want to advance on mortgage on the ship but offered to do so to help the sale, the rate was to have been 8%. I am in the habit of getting 10% as the risk is considerable – If my offer had been accepted I should have had over £2,400 upon her!! – As I have refused the £3,200 for her I will if thou thinkst I should have accepted it take thy shares at that rate, cash price thou paying thy share of the continuation and debt of £179-2-3d.
She has been fitted out with the usual stores for the voyage at a cost of £215-10-6d – which I consider part of the expenses of the voyage she is now on. All these amounts, namely – Debt £179-2-3d, Re-classing £667-11-11d and Stores £215-106d = £1,62-4-8d total I am willing to let remain against the ship for the present @ 5% per annum interest but if thou wishst to pay thy share to save the interest thou canst do so, Thine sincerely.’
This letter was among the papers of Penney’s fellow Quaker Edward Lucas who had five shares in the ship.
The average cost of providing food per man per week for the crew of Andromeda between 1867-1876 was put at 8/-.
In 1876 the Andromeda was sold at Cardiff.
It is sad to note that although the 1860s was a busy time for building deep-water merchant ships locally, by the 1870s that had ceased. New iron ships were built in the north.    

copyright © A.G.W. Penney
Edward Fox of 44 Market Street, Brighton photographed the Barque Andromeda in 1866.

1866 – Aldebaran – Composite barque built by Thompson at Sunderland in 1866: 399 tons: shield figurehead. This vessel was something of an experiment and at the time it was thought such composite ships were the way forward in shipbuilding. Iron was used for the frame, ribs and rafters while wood was used for the planking. But it was soon discovered that iron and wood were not compatible and extra expense was constantly incurred by necessary and frequent re-caulking. It became apparent that ships ought to be built entirely of either iron or wood and not mixed together and so the innovation quickly fell out of favour. But even an iron ship had its problems. Indeed old salts were amazed that such a vessel could sail at all; they fully expected an iron ship to be drawn down to the bottom of the sea by its own weight. Hot sunshine caused the metal to expand but an unforeseen difficulty was that iron affected the compasses and compensating devices had to be placed in the binnacle. There tended to be a problem with an iron ship’s keel too because it attracted marine growths and during a long voyage the accumulation affected the ship’s speed. Michael Bouquet writing in 1959 states that Aldebaran was R.H. Penney’s second composite barque and that his first was Anazi of 468 tons launched in 1865 at Portsmouth. If he did indeed own this vessel, she was not registered at Shoreham. But she too undertook voyages to the Antipodes like some other Penney ships.  
William Ellis was the master. When the ship was re-registered in 1869 George Griggs was the master. The ship was re-registered again in 1872 and George Griggs was still captain. R.H. Penney originally held 7 shares, the same number as Thomas Glaisyer and Edward Lucas but Daniel Hack held 9 shares; there were 10 other shareholders. In 1872 Penney reduced his ship-shares to four.
11th voyage – 1873/1874. Her voyage was from London to Singapore with a cargo of coal and earthenware and she returned from Singapore and Penang to London with a general cargo. There were repairs costing £271-6-7d that included ten new sails, sundry canvas, oils, paints, warp etc.  She then carried a cargo of 572 tons of coal and earthenware from Tyne to Singapore. On the return voyage from Singapore and Penang to London, she carried a general cargo.   
In December 1874 Edward Bailey sea apprentice on board the Aldebaran appeared before Shoreham magistrates charged with desertion, which took place on 30 November 1873 at Shields, the vessel belonging to R.H. Penney. Bailey was ordered to rejoin his ship and pay the costs of the prosecution. This episode was recorded in the Brighton Gazette but among Penney Papers there is a note ‘recovered cash paid to deserted seaman £1.15s’.
The average cost of providing food per man per week for the crew of Aldebaran between 1867-1876 was put at 9/-
On 15 November 1880 the vessel was stranded off Fåro Island at Gotland. According to the register, she became a total wreck but according to the Penney Papers she was ‘salved and ended up under Norwegian flag’.

1867 – Cora Linn – Iron barque built at Stockton-on-Tees in 1866: 499 tons: billet figurehead. She had already undertaken a voyage to Hong King and back before R.H. Penney purchased her for £8,886. James Chant was the master; he was later to be captain of S.S. Leverington. Penney sold shares totalling 26 to four other people. In 1879 Penney sold four shares to Joseph Rutter, Brighton Physician but he sold them back in 1874.
In January 1876 Cora Linn, laden with a cargo of wheat, was off Hull. Two steamers were towing her up the Humber to port at Goole, when she suddenly grounded on Old Warp Sand and capsized. Unfortunately, Captain York’s wife and two children were inside the cabin and drowned and young William Swan, an apprentice from Shoreham, was also lost.  

1867 – Lyra – Iron barque built at Sunderland by Iliff Mounsey in 1867: 411 tons: female figurehead. Lyra and Altair were R.H. Penney’s first iron vessels. Penney sold shares totalling 54 to thirteen other people.
In October 1879 the ship was sold at Dublin and re-named Erna. In June 1889 the vessel was sold to Danish owners. Some years later she put in at Shoreham Harbour homeward bound from South America. The unfortunate crew were suffering from scurvy due to want of essential provisions. A doctor went on board to tend to them and when the ship had taken on supplies, she sailed away.

1867 – Altair – Iron barque built at Sunderland by Iliff Mounsey in 1867: 399 tons: female figurehead. David E. Sidney was the master. Altair and Lyra were R.H. Penney’s first iron ships. R.H. Penney owned this ship outright for six weeks before selling shares to ten other people eight men and two women but the latter only owned one share each.
7th voyage – 1874/1875. The ship sailed from London to Rangoon with a general cargo and returned to Liverpool with a cargo of rice. The cost of repairs came to £409-9-2d and included new sails, sundry ropes, oils, paints and ship’s chandlery.
It seems there was a deserter from the Altair, just as there had been from the Aldebaran. The notes record ‘sale of deserted seaman’s clothes £1-1-0d’. Another seaman had his wages docked for being fairly useless, thus ‘wages deducted for ‘Incompetency of a Seaman’.
The profits were dented by the payment to Captain Tidey of £40 as compensation for the accident he suffered on the fifth voyage. The Altair was sold at Greenock in 1879 and the registry transferred to Glasgow.
The average cost of providing food per man per week for the crew of Altair between 1868-1876 was put at 9/-.

1868 – Alcestis Iron barque built at Sunderland by Iliff Mounsey in 1868: less than 400 tons: billet head. John Charles Richards was the master. R.H. Penney was the sole owner when the ship was registered in June 1868 but in September of the same year he sold shares to ten other people including one woman who held three shares. 
The New Zealand Shipping Company chartered the Alcestis. In 1879 the ship was sold at Liverpool and in 1882 the Stone Brothers of Auckland, New Zealand purchased her. She continued to sail between London and New Zealand and traded to Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin and Bluff under various captains – Captain Payne to Auckland and Wellington, Captain Norris to Dunedin and Bluff and Captain Munn twice to Bluff. The 1885 voyage to Bluff was an alarming experience when stormy seas washed the deck cargo overboard, besides smashing the deckhouse and fittings. In 1888 she made excellent time by sailing from the Lizard to the Solander Islands near Foveaux Strait, southern New Zealand, in just 93 days.
The average cost of providing food per man per week for the crew of Alcestis between 1869-1876 came to 9/-

1869 – Asterion Iron barque built at Sunderland by Iliff & Mounsey in 1869: 508 tons: David Coplan was the master. At first R.H. Penney owned the ship outright but he soon sold shares to twelve other people including two women who only held one share each.
In a similar fashion to Alcestis, Antares and Auriga, the Asterion traded with New Zealand. Between 1882 and 1889 she made ten voyages to Nelson, two to Auckland and one each to Dunedin, Napier and Bluff. Captain Foote was in command for five of the voyages and Captain Collingwood for three of them. Captain Collingwood was previously involved in East India trading but with Asterion he saw Auckland for the first time. The Antipodes was a popular destination and on 25 July 1883 Captain Collingwood reported that he had sighted thirteen other ships, all headed south. In July 1884 the ship was sold to Shaw Savill Company for £2,350. In 1891 Captain Foote had a very trying voyage because he experienced a succession of fierce gales, the worst one smashing a cabin door and ladders and damaging other items. The conditions lasted for twenty hours and even when the gale ceased, the waves were still mountainous causing Alastor to creak and groan and roll alarmingly. There was a further rough passage in 1897 when on her way to Nelson Asterion took three weeks to sail through ice fields. In 1899 she encountered such fierce gales in the English Channel that she was obliged to dock at Falmouth for repairs. 
In 1898 Asterion was sold to Sweden.

1869 – Italy – Wooden barque built at Cardiff in 1867: 285 tons: female bust figurehead.  Originally R.H. Penney owned the ship outright but he soon sold some shares to five other people. By 1874 all those shares had been sold back to R.H. Penney. George Bagley, master of the vessel, carried a note empowering him to sell the ship at Melbourne or any part of British Australia within twelve months; she was sold on 30 December 1874 at Melbourne.

1869 – Auriga – Iron barque built at Sunderland by Iliff & Mounsey in 1869: 539 tons: billet figurehead. R.H. Penney owned her outright at first but sold shares to fourteen other people including three women.
5th voyage–1873/1875. The ship sailed from London to Lyttelton, New Zealand with a general cargo; she then took on a cargo of coal from Newcastle, New South Wales and took it to Lyttelton; she carried a general cargo on her return voyage from Lyttelton to London. At London the ship was overhauled, her bottom scraped and painted; there were new sails, sundry ropes, oils, paints, ship’s chandlery plus other repairs and docking, which came to a total of £547-5-4d. Captain Alderton received a gratuity of £10. 
Similar to incidents on board Andromeda and Aldebaran, a seaman deserted Auriga but in the latter case he forfeited his wages of £41-9-9d.
The average cost of providing food per man per week for the crew of Auriga between 1870-1876 was put at 9/-.
There was also a passenger aboard who paid £9-1-6d for his keep.
Auriga traded with New Zealand for several years. She was sold to J. Hardie of Rye on 27 July 1885 and the registration was transferred to London in the following year.

1872 – S.S. Leverington– Iron steam/screw schooner at Sunderland by J. Laing; 1,052 tons: compound engines built by J. Dickinson: combined horsepower 99. James Chant was the master: he had also been captain of Cora Linn in 1867. The original owner was James Galbraith, Glasgow ship-owner. He sold 60 shares to R.H. Penney who soon sold shares to thirteen other people including one woman. It was Penney’s first steam/screw ship.
6th voyage – 1873/1874. She carried ballast from Antwerp to Cardiff; at Cardiff she loaded 1,271 tons of coal and docked at Gibraltar; at Porman she loaded up with ore for the return voyage bound for Cardiff; at Gibraltar she took 596 empty casks on board. Also on this voyage the anchor had to be cleared at a cost of £8 and at Cardiff damage to a coal tip cost £2-10s.
7th voyage – 1873/1874. She carried a cargo of 1,272 tons of coal from Cardiff to Gibraltar; from Porman to Cardiff she carried a cargo of 1,373 tons of ore; at Gibraltar she took on 300 empty casks. An able seaman had the sum of £1-1-4d stopped from his wages but no reason was given.
8th voyage – 1874. She carried a cargo of 1,1791 tons of coal from Cardiff to Malta; on her return voyage her cargo was 1,496 tons of ore from Porman to Cardiff.
9th voyage – 1874. The ship carried a cargo of 1,181 tons of coal from Cardiff to Malta; on the return run she carried a cargo of 1,466 tons of ore from Porman to Cardiff. It is interesting to note that on this voyage the captain’s wife accompanied him and was accordingly charged £3-15s for her board; the amount of soap sold to the crew came to five shillings and six pence.
10th voyage – 1874. The ship carried 1,100 tons of iron from Cardiff to Dedeaugh and on the return voyage from Taganrog (in Rostov, Russia on the Sea of Azov) to Grimsby she carried a cargo of linseed. At Grimsby the ship underwent an overhaul including cleaning and painting the bottom, adjusting the compasses, which together with oils and sundry ship chandlery came to £105-14-6d. The cost of board for the captain’s wife and the services of a stewardess amounted to £11.
11th voyage – 1874. The ship carried ballast from Grimsby to Newport; at Newport she loaded up with 1,355 tons of iron and sailed to Nicolaieff; on the return trip she sailed from Odessa (Russia, on the Black Sea) to Cork with 6,711 tons of wheat. Apparently, the ship also stopped off at Malta and landed some passengers who were charged 2/- a day for the trip. Captain Lowe was given £20 gratuity.    
The average cost of providing food per man per week for the crew of S.S. Levrington between 1872-1876 was put at 13/-.
On 20 January 1894 the ship was sold to Sweden.

1872 –  S.S. Vesta – Iron steam/screw schooner built at Sunderland in 1872 by Iliff & Mounsey: G. Clark built the two engines: combined horsepower 98: 1,000 tons. Edward Poole was the master; he had also been captain of Andromeda. This was R.H. Penney’s second steamship and he owned 17 shares; there were eleven other shareholders.
5th voyage – 1873-1874. The ship docked at Bristol for cleaning the bottom, sundry ironwork, repairs to engines, sundry oils, paints and ship chandlery and the bill came to £342-11-2d. It appears the ship was on charter. The third engineer John Peake met with a bad accident at Constantinople and later died; the expenses arising from this came to £12-14 – 4d. There was a further expense at Bristol because of damage to a smack, which cost £2-4-0d. It is interesting to note that the income tax for 1873/1874 was charged at 3d in the £ on earnings of £1,783-1-9d and came to £22-5-9d.
6th voyage – 1874. The ship was again under repair with work being necessary on the steam winches as well as the engines; the ship also needed new sails and ropes. She carried a general cargo from Havre to Constantinople and Odessa and on the return trip carried a cargo of Indian corn to Trieste.
7th voyage – This time the ship’s boiler needed repair and new tubes were necessary; a survey was also undertaken. Captain Clarke received a gratuity of £20. The ship was on charter for four months.
The average cost of providing food per man per week for the crew of S.S. Vesta between 1872-1876 was put at 9/-.
On 18 March 1893 the ship was sold to Norway.

1875 – Antares – Iron barque built at Sunderland by Mounsey & Co the same year: 872 tons: female figurehead: the ship cost £12,800. The Antares, Alastor and Alpheta were the three largest vessels registered at the Port of Shoreham and were a matter of some pride to the locals. Captain Thomas Glazebrook, late of the Cora Linn was given the task of supervising the construction and fitting out of the three barques. He then took command of the Alastor.
R.H. Penney was managing owner but there were an astonishing 24 other shareholders, including seven women. It is interesting to note that three of the women shared a surname with the ship-builder responsible for the construction of Antares; they were Lucy Elizabeth Mounsey, Mary Emma Mounsey and Anna Priscilla Mounsey who all held one share each.
Shaw Savill Company chartered Antares. Similar to Alcestis and Auriga, Antares was also employed on the New Zealand run. Captain A. Lewis commanded her right from her launching and sailed her for a remarkable nine years. In 1879 Antares was bound for Dunedin but she did not travel very far because a gale in the English Channel caused such damage that she had to put in to Dungeness for repairs. In 1882 during a voyage to Auckland the ship was buffeted by two severe gales after passing long. 75 E and Captain Lewis reported a most vivid and spectacular display of the Aurora Australis. Captain Lewis had a ship full of emigrants for nine voyages to New Zealand but fortunately for those who did not enjoy being afloat Antares enjoyed a reputation for a speedy passage with her best time being 91 days. There was one occasion when she sailed back to Britain in just 74 days.   
In 1895 the vessel was sold to Norway and was lost in 1910.

 copyright © Marlipins Museum, Shoreham
The Barque Alastor presents a handsome picture as she heads out to sea.

1875 – Alastor – Iron barque built of tough, puddled iron at Sunderland by Mounsey & Foster the same year: 873 tons: female figurehead. It is interesting to note that her first set of sails came from Penney’s own sail loft at Southwick, being the largest sails ever created there. Alastor also carried a skysail, which flew above the royal and was the only Shoreham ship with such a sail. But despite being an elegant ship to look at, she took her time in reaching her destination and on one famous occasion in 1880 she took 125 days to reach Wellington. But she was unfortunate in that voyage when high seas smashed her wheel and she limped on steered by tackles. After being repaired she sailed home with a cargo of tallow and wool.
On 28 February 1888 Alastor was sailing in the Indian Ocean loaded with antimony ore from Borneo and homeward bound when she encountered a typhoon, which shifted her cargo alarmingly; she was left with mere stumps of masts. Perhaps the situation would have been fatal for a master with less experience but Captain Glazebrook calmly ensured the cargo was re-distributed, improvised a jury rig and limped into Port Louis, Mauritius. There the captain and crew had a welcome rest because they had to wait around for new spars to be despatched from England before they could continue with the voyage.  
But taking the longer view Alastor escaped the very worst weather and was more fortunate than Asterion in this respect.
One voyage of the Alastor proved to be so uneventful that a daredevil sailor offered to relieve the monotony by falling overboard in return for some tobacco.
Between 1877 and 1890 Alastor made ten voyages to New Zealand taking emigrants to a new life on the other side of the world and for these trips she was usually under charter to Shaw, Savill & Co. For her return voyage she sometimes called at Borneo to load up with antimony ore, and at other times visited San Francisco to take on board a cargo of wheat.
Thomas Glazebrook captained Alastor for twenty years. By the end of his career he had sailed around the world some fourteen or fifteen times in this vessel and others. He commanded the Alastor to Australia and New Zealand and he made so many voyages that his person was as familiar there as it was back in England. Captain Glazebrook was fond of horse-riding and it is said when Alastor docked in Wellington, a horse was immediately made ready so that he could enjoy a ride as soon as possible. Some grateful passengers wrote the following letter in 1883 to Captain Glazebrook of the barque Alastor.

 copyright © J.Middleton
The Alastor was photographed at Mauritius in 1888 having survived a typhoon and she looks a sorry sight indeed.

‘We … beg to take this opportunity of conveying to you our thanks for the uniformly kind and considerate treatment we have received while passengers under your charge from Glasgow to New Zealand. We are sensible that owing to your care the monotony of the three month’s life at sea has been minimised, and we will carry to our several homes in our new country a kindly remembrance of our intercourse with you and your officers during the voyage.’ There was some sort of gift accompanying the letter. 
The Alastor also traded with the west coast of North America and South America. At Santos in 1891 Captain Glazebrook and the Alastor’s crew, with the exception of two apprentices, became very ill with yellow fever and six men died. The vessel suffered damage during a stormy voyage rounding the Horn of South America. The Alastor put in to Valparaiso for repairs but when she sailed home it was with the mate in command. Captain Glazebrook was ill with typhoid fever and left ashore to recover. He returned home by steamer and never went to sea again. He lived in the end house of Kingston Terrace.
R.H. Penney was the managing owner of Alastor and the other shareholders were the same as for Antares.  
On 20 December 1895 the ship was sold to Norway; she was not broken up until 1952.

1875 – Alpheta – Iron barque built at Sunderland by Mounsey & Foster: female figurehead: 868 tons. The same shipbuilders were also responsible for Alastor, Antares, Adara and Albireo. George Essex Stone was the master. R.H. Penney was the managing owner with 24 shares and there were fifteen other shareholders.
On 22 November 1877 the ship was lost at Bembridge Ledge, a notorious spot off the east point of the Isle of Wight; the hull was sold for £200.

1877 – Adara – Iron frame schooner built at Sunderland in 1877 by Mounsey & Foster: 1,304 tons: steam/screw. J. Dickinson of Sunderland built the engine. John Clarke was the master. R.H. Penney was the managing owner with nine shares and there were nineteen other shareholders.

1878 – Telegraph – Sloop, steam/paddle built at South Shields in 1877: 93 tons. Thomas Boyling was the master. R.H. Penney owned this vessel outright. In 1890 she was sold to Richard Edward Pinney of Corfe Castle.

1878 – Royal Albert– Sloop built in Northumberland by Low Walker in 1862: 65 tons. In 1881 the ship was sold to Newcastle.

1878 – Albireo – Iron schooner built at Sunderland the same year by Mounsey & Foster; steam/screw: 1,325 tons: no figurehead. John Dickinson made the 2 engines: horsepower 120. Tom Lowe was the master. There were an astonishing 23 shareholders including R.H. Penney who only held four shares. Another shareholder was George Robert Penney, Poole ship agent, who died on 23 September 1889 and in his will appointed R.H. Penney as executor. On 7 February 1890 Penney sold four shares to John Dudney, William Dudney and John Dudney, junior, all of Portslade. The Dudneys ran Portslade Brewery and owned other property including some pubs. On 30 January 1893 the registration was transferred to London.

  copyright © J.Middleton
The Dudneys built a large new brewery at Portslade, which today is regarded as a fine example of Victorian industrial building.

1879 – Arbutus – Wooden vessel built at Southwick in 1863 by Shuttleworth for Jenkins & Co of London: 336 tons: female figurehead. The vessel was first registered at Shoreham in May 1877. Henry Field was the owner and master and the ship was mortgaged with R.H. Penney. On 6 June 1879 R.H. Penney purchased her and in 1881 she was transferred to Southsea. The new owner also took out a mortgage with Penney.
The female figurehead that once adorned Arbutus is to be found on display at the Marlipins Museum, Shoreham. She holds a sprig of Arbutus in her hand; this is also known as strawberry tree because it produces a fruit that resembles a strawberry.

1879 – Stella – Iron framework steam/paddle sloop built at South Shields in the same year by Softly & Son: 75 tons: no figurehead. Baird & Barnsley of North Shields built the engine; 30 horsepower. Eli Curtes was the master. R.H. Penney sold two lots of 32 shares to George Robert Penney of Poole in 1879 and 1881. Robert Penney of Poole sold ten shares to joint owners William Hall of Lancing and Edward Beves, timber merchant of Brighton. The registration was closed in 1930.
In the Marlipins Museum at Shoreham there is a picture of Stella painted by Robert F. Himian in 1892.

1879 – Aludra – Iron steam/screw ship built at Sunderland in the same year by Mounsey & Foster: John Dickinson of Monkswearmouth built the two engines: horsepower 140: 1,502 tons. Henry Jupp was the master. R.H. Penney was the managing owner with 12 shares and there were 20 other shareholders. The three Mounsey girls, who had single shares in the Antares, also had shares in Aludra but this time it was two shares each.
In 1894 she was sold to Sweden.

1882 – Cornet – Wooden steam/paddle ship built at North Shields in 1880: 25 horsepower engine: 54 tons. Robert Horne Penney and George Robert Penney shared ownership with 32 shares each. She was broken up in 1906.

1889 – Athena – Steel schooner built at Middlesborough by Raylton Dixon & Co in the same year. Richardson & Sons of Hartlepool built the three engines: combined horsepower 220: 2.279 tons. The Athena cost £29,000. R.H. Penney owned 58 of the 64 ship shares. In September 1898 she was sold to Sweden.

copyright © G. Osborne
With thanks to Mr G. Osborne for granting permission for the SS. Algores
poster to be reproduced on this website.

1899 – Algores – Steel frame steam/screw ship built at Maryport in the same year by Ritson & Co; compound engines built in Glasgow: 374 tons: the ship cost £7,750. R.H. Penney was the sole owner and this was his last ship. In February 1900 he sold eleven shares each to his two sons who were in business with him at 82 Queen’s Road, Brighton; they were Robert Alfred Penney and to Sidney Rickman Penney.

Ships Mortgaged with Robert Horne Penney

1862 – Avon – Brigantine built at Prince Edward Island, Canada in the same year. R.H. Penney and Thomas Glaisyer owned this ship but she was sold to new owners in 1867 and they took out a mortgage with R.H. Penney for $1,060 at 7½ % interest. On 23 January 1878 the mortgage was paid off. In April 1878 she was condemned by the Board of Trade at Portsmouth and sold as a hulk to be broken up.

1865 – Awthorn – Barque built at Southwick, Sussex in the same year: shield figurehead. John Shuttleworth, Southwick shipbuilder, was the owner. On 28 February 1865 Shuttleworth took out a mortgage on the vessel with R.H. Penney for £1,000 @ 10% interest; it was paid off by 24 April 1865. The vessel was then mortgaged for £2,500 with Maritime Credit Co Ltd of 15 Fenchurch Street, London. On 9 March 1873 Awthorn was wrecked near Yucatan.

1865 – Jessamine – Brigantine built at Monkwearmouth, Durham in 1840. Robert Brazier, Southwick ship-owner, owned her. On 27 May 1865 Brazier took out a mortgage of £250 @ 7 ½ interest with R.H. Penney, which was cleared in February 1869. The ship was sold in February 1869 and was lost on 21 September 1869.

1866 – Mary Louise – Brigantine built at Kingston, Sussex in the same year. The owners took out a mortgage with R.H. Penney in 1870 and it was paid off in 1877.

1867 – La Belle – Brigantine built at Prince Edward Island, Canada in 1866. George Burt Master Mariner of Southwick was the owner. In 1867 he took out a mortgage with R.H. Penney in 1867 for £800 @ 10% interest; the mortgaged was cleared in 1876. On 28 January 1877 the ship was lost near Yarmouth.

1875 – Clarissa – Brig built at Sunderland in 1869. The owner and master was George Burt of Southwick. Burt took out a mortgage of £1,300 plus 10% with R.H. Penney.

1877 – Tagus – Ship built at Alba, Clackmannan in 1866. George Burt was master and owner and he mortgaged her for £700 @ 8% with R.H. Penney. On 16 March 1888 the vessel was stranded at Newbiggin, Northumberland and sold off as a wreck.


Armstrong, Richard Powered Ships (1975)
Bouquet, Michael No Gallant Ship (1959)
Bouquet, Michael South Eastern Sail (1872)
Brett, Henry White Wings. Volume I. 50 Years of Sail in the New Zealand Trade 1850-1900
Brighton Gazette 5 December 1874
Brighton Herald 
Caplan, Neil Sussex Dissenters (1981) pamphlet
Census Returns
Cheal, H. Ships and Mariners of Shoreham (1909 reprinted 1981)
Divers, Nigel Southwick Remembered (1996)
Heaseman, Ted Memories of Southwick and Kingston Buci
Middleton, Moon, Matches and Microchips
Middleton, Judy The Lights of Brighton and Hove (1982)
Penney, N. My Ancestors (1920) privately printed
Robinson, M. A Southdown Farm in the Sixties (1938 reprinted 2004)
Stanley, Gladys The Sufferings of the Quakers in Sussex (N.D. 1980s) pamphlet

West Sussex Record Office
Robert Horne Penney’s will, probate granted 25 February 1903

Shoreham Shipping Registers
Penney Papers

Thanks are due to Mr D. Ransom for allowing me to reproduce two of his Wiles' British Women's Temperance Society photographs, see also his website at Wiles Postcards  

Copyright © J.Middleton 2015
page layout by D.Sharp