Penderel, Richard (DNB00)

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PENDEREL, RICHARD (d. 1672), one of five brothers who were primarily instrumental in the escape of Charles II after the battle of Worcester in 1651, was the son (reputedly the eldest) of William Penderel and Joan his wife. He was born on the Shropshire border of Staffordshire, with which county his family had been connected as early, at all events, as the time of Queen Elizabeth. His father was under-steward of the estate of the old knightly family of the Giffards of Chillington, and it was in that capacity that he occupied Boscobel House, which had been built by the Giffards about 1580, partly as a hunting lodge and partly as an asylum for recusant priests. For the latter purpose its situation in the thickest part of the forest of Brewood, and the numerous secret chambers with which it was honeycombed, eminently fitted it. It has often been stated that Richard Penderel and his brothers were ‘poor peasants’ and ‘ignorant wood-cutters.’ As a matter of fact they were substantial yeomen, as their wills at Somerset House and other documents executed by them sufficiently prove; and there were, moreover, relationships, in what precise degree is unascertained, between them and the Giffards, as well as with Father William Ireland [q. v.] At the time of the battle of Worcester (3 Sept. 1651) Richard Penderel was the tenant under a lease for lives (see his Will, Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 1672) of Hobbal Grange in the parish of Tong in the county of Salop, while his brother William was the tenant of Boscobel itself; and another brother Humphrey occupied the picturesque half-timbered house, called Whiteladies, adjoining the ruins of the Cistercian priory of that name lying about half a mile on the Shropshire side of Boscobel. While spurring away from Worcester field on the night of 3 Sept. 1651, the king was advised by James Stanley, seventh earl of Derby [q. v.], to entrust himself to the care of the Penderels, by whom he had, not long before, himself been concealed at at Boscobel. The king and his party reached Whiteladies in the dawn of the following morning. There he changed his clothes, and Richard Penderel concealed him for the rest of the day in the thickest part of Boscobel wood. At night the king completed his disguise in Richard's house of Hobbal Grange, and under his guidance made an unsuccessful attempt to pass the Severn into Wales. Returning to Boscobel, he was concealed, sometimes in the Royal Oak, and sometimes in the secret chambers of Boscobel House, until Richard and Humphrey, with their brothers William, John, and George, were able to conduct him on 9 Sept. to his next hiding-place at Moseley Court, near Wolverhampton, the seat of Mr. Whitgreave [see Lane, Jane].

At the Restoration the faithful brothers were not forgotten. They joined the procession of royalists through the streets of London on 29 May 1660. Charles loaded them with benefits, made them, it is believed, gentlemen of coat armour (but of this there is no record at the College of Arms), and commanded that they should attend at court once a year. Upon each of the brothers a pension, payable to them and their heirs ‘for ever,’ was settled by letters patent under the great seal, the amount of Richard's pension being 100l. per annum. When at court Richard Penderel, who had been presented by the king with a ring which is still possessed by the family, resided in the house of Henry Arundell in the Great Turnstile, Lincoln's Inn Fields (it was demolished in 1883). There, in February 1671–2, he fell ill of a fever, and died on the 8th of that month. He was buried in the churchyard of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, beneath an altar-tomb, still standing, which bears a eulogistic epitaph. The tomb was ‘repaired and beautified’ by order of George II in 1739. His will, made on the day of his death, describes him as of ‘Hobbal Grange, Gentleman,’ and shows him to have been a man of substance. He was survived by his wife Mary (her surname is unknown), who lived until 1689, and eight children, four sons and four daughters. William Penderel, his next brother, succeeded his father in the occupation of Boscobel House, and also received a pension of 100l. per annum. He died in 1706, aged over eighty-four. Each of the five brothers left posterity.

Richard Penderel di Boscobello (1679–1732), only son of Edmund Penderel, the son of Humphrey of Whiteladies, and great-nephew of Richard, had Queen Catherine of Braganza for godmother, and served part of his novitiate in the Society of Jesus at the English College in Rome. He was released from his vows, and became a secret agent of the exiled Stuarts. He was exempted by name, with the rest of his family, from the penal laws against the catholics (Orders in Council of 17 Jan. 1678–9, 25 July 1708, and 6 April 1716), a circumstance which enabled him to conspire in England with comparative safety. He appears to have lived chiefly in Italy, and was created by Charles Emmanuel III of Sardinia Marquis Penderel di Boscobel or di Boscobello, a title which still exists.

There are several engraved portraits of Richard Penderel and his brother William. Zoust painted a portrait of Richard, which was formerly in the Jennens collection, and was engraved in mezzotint by Houston. The extant portraits of William all represent him at the age of eighty-four (cf. Bromley, Catalogue).

[The Boscobel Tracts, edited by J. Hughes, 1857; Foley's Records of the English Province of the Society of Jesus, passim; Un Agent des Stuarts (Richard Penderel di Boscobel) par Charles Sebastiani, Paris, n.d.; L'Intermédiaire des Chercheurs et Curieux, xxviii. 193; Wills in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury; Records of the Privy Council; family papers; see also Carlos, William.]

J. P. B.