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Isaac Penington
Member of the English Parliament
for City of London
In office
Preceded byParliament suspended since 1629
Succeeded by
Lord Mayor of London
In office
Preceded bySir Richard Gurney, 1st Baronet
Succeeded bySir John Wollaston
Personal details
Bornc. 1584
Died(1661-12-16)16 December 1661
Tower of London, England
  • Robert Penington (father)

Sir Isaac Penington[1] (c. 1584 – 16 December 1661)[2] was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1640 to 1653. He was Lord Mayor of London in 1642 and a prominent member of Oliver Cromwell's government.


Penington was the son of Robert Penington and followed him in becoming a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers. He inherited several estates from his father and purchased one of his own. He made a fortune as a wine and cloth merchant. From 1626 he acted as financial agent to his second cousin, Admiral John Penington. He increased his commercial holdings in 1629 by becoming a partner in the brewery business of his second wife's family. He and his wife, Mary, the widow of Roger Wilkinson, a Citizen of the City of London,[3] were both staunch Puritans.

In 1638 Penington was elected Sheriff of London and became an alderman of the City of London for Bridge Without ward on 29 January 1639. He was Prime Warden of the Fishmongers Company in 1640.[4]

In April 1640 Penington was elected a member of parliament (MP) for the City of London in the Short Parliament.[5] He was re-elected MP for City of London for the Long Parliament in November 1640 and sat until 1653.[6] On 16 August 1642 Parliament appointed him Lord Mayor of London after removing the Royalist Sir Richard Gurney, 1st Baronet from the position. He became Colonel of the White Regiment, London Trained Bands, in 1642[7][8] and from 1642 to 1645 he was Lieutenant of the Tower of London.[4] In that capacity he was present during the execution of William Laud. He became Governor of the Levant Company in 1644, retaining the position to 1654.[4]

In January 1649, Penington was appointed a commissioner of the High Court of Justice at the trial of King Charles, but he was not one of the signatories of the King's death warrant. He served on the Rump's Council of State and on several government committees. He was made a knight in 1649. From 1650 he was the sole representative of the City of London in the Rump Parliament until it was forcibly ejected by Oliver Cromwell on 30 April 1653.[9]

After the Restoration, he was tried for high treason and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Tower of London, where he died on the night of 16 December 1661.[10]

Marriage and children

Penington married twice:[11][12]

  • Firstly, in 1614–15, to Abigail Allen, a daughter of John Allen of the City of London, by whom he had six children:
    • Isaac Penington, the Quaker;
    • Arthur Penington, who became a Roman Catholic priest, and was living in 1676;
    • William Penington (1622–1689), a merchant of London, who also became a quaker and follower of John Perrot;
    • Abigail Penington (married about November 1641);
    • Bridget Penington;
    • Judith Penington. An acquaintance of Samuel Pepys.[13] Letters from Isaac Penington the younger to his sister Judith imply that she also became a quaker.
  • Secondly he married Mary Young, a daughter of Matthew Young, and widow of Roger Wilkinson, a Citizen of the City of London.[14]

See also


  1. ^ His name was spelt Isaac Pennington (House of Lords 1660, pp. 51–53)
  2. ^ Lindley 2004.
  3. ^ Bosville Macdonald, Alice (Lady Macdonald of the Isles), The Fortunes of a Family (Bosville of New Hall, Gunthwaite and Thorpe) Through Nine Centuries, Edinburgh, 1927, p.78 [1]
  4. ^ a b c Beaven 1908, pp. 47–75.
  5. ^ Willis 1750, pp. 229, 233.
  6. ^ Willis 1750, pp. 240, 246.
  7. ^ Roberts, pp 30–3.
  8. ^ White Rgt at BCW Project.
  9. ^ Beaven 1908, pp. 261–297.
  10. ^ House of Lords 1662, pp. 51–53.
  11. ^ Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 15, (Owens-Pockrich), pp. 740-741
  12. ^ Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 44, Penington, Isaac (1587?-1660) by Charlotte Fell Smith [2]
  13. ^ "Judith Penington (The Diary of Samuel Pepys)". 8 November 2008.
  14. ^ Bosville Macdonald, Alice (Lady Macdonald of the Isles), The Fortunes of a Family (Bosville of New Hall, Gunthwaite and Thorpe) Through Nine Centuries, Edinburgh, 1927, p.78 [3]


Further reading

2 Annotations

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Pennington. I am unwilling to be troublesome to the Court. This I shall take the boldness to say; (which shall be nothing but truth) I never had a hand in plotting, contriving malicious practices against his Majesty, demonstrated by utterly refusing to sign the Warrant for his Execution though often sollicited thereunto; I cannot deny but I sate amongst them that day of the Sentence but I cannot remember I was there when the Sentence passed. My sitting amongst them was out of ignorance, I knew not what I did, therefore I hope you wil believe there was nothing of malice in any thing I did. I was misled to it.
---An Exact and Most Impartial Accompt of the Indictment, Arraignment, Trial, and Judgment (according to Law) of Twenty Nine Regicides. 1679.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Col. Isaac Penington Snr. MP, former Lt. of the Tower of London, has a BCW biography:

Isaac Penington was the eldest son of Robert Penington, a London merchant with estates in East Anglia, and second cousin of John Penington, who became an admiral in Charles I's navy.

Penington made his fortune through trading in cloth and French wine. From 1626, he acted as financial agent to Admiral Penington.

Through his second wife, Mary Wilkinson, whom he married in 1629, he extended his commercial interests to include a partnership in her family's brewery business.

Penington and his wife were zealous Puritans and members of the congregation of St. Stephen's in Coleman Street.

Penington became involved in politics in 1638 when he was elected as a London sheriff.
In 1639, he became an alderman, and in 1640 was elected as a London MP to both the Short and Long Parliaments.
He led demands for the abolition of Episcopacy and was active in enforcing the destruction of idolatrous images in London churches.
During the early 1640s, he worked with fellow militant Puritan John Venn to mobilise support against the King's unpopular advisers Strafford and Laud. Penington used his influence in the City of London to raise funds for Parliament, and in January 1642, may have sheltered the Five Members after the King's failed attempt to arrest them.

When Parliament removed the Royalist Sir Richard Gurney from office in August 1642, Penington was appointed lord mayor in his place.
He became a member of the City militia committee in September 1642 and exhorted the citizens to build fortifications for the defence of London.
He was appointed lieutenant of the Tower of London in July 1643. Penington was uncompromising in his hostility to the King's cause.

He was replaced as lord mayor by the more moderate Sir John Wollaston in October 1643, but continued in his role as an intermediary between Parliament and the City.

In January 1649, Col. Isaac Penington was appointed a commissioner of the High Court of Justice.
He attended the King's trial, but did not sign the death warrant.
However, he assisted Mayor Thomas Andrews in proclaiming the abolition of monarchy in the City, and was a member of the Council of State from 1649-52.

Penington's fortunes declined during the 1650s.
He was obliged to resign from his office as alderman in 1657 because of financial difficulties.

His eldest son Isaac Penington junior (1616-79) became a Quaker, while another son became a Catholic priest.

Penington surrendered at the Restoration, hoping for leniency because he had not signed the King's death warrant. His remaining lands were confiscated and he was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Tower, where he died in December 1661.

Keith Lindley, Isaac Penington, Oxford DNB, 2004


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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.