People: Penne, John


Penne (Penn/Pen)





Marital Status


Spouse Name


Occupation Status

Barber to Henry VIII


John Penne (Penn/Pen) was a Groom of the Privy Chamber.  In 1527 he was admitted to The Worshipful Company of Barbers in London and was Master of the Company in 1539. He was appointed barber to Henry VIII and at one time was one of only fifteen people permitted to enter the King’s Privy Chamber.

He appears in Holbein’s oil painting of Henry VIII and the Barber Surgeons, and in an engraved copy of the painting from 1736 he appears in the group of men kneeling, sixth from the King’s left.

As a courtier he received a number of grants and leases of land in several counties, including the manor of Codicote in Hertfordshire which was granted to him in 1545 following the dissolution of the Abbey of St Albans.

On 16 February 1538 he had been granted a lease of the rectory of Eccles in Lancashire, following the dissolution of Whalley Abbey but the lease was forfeit because the rent remained unpaid. He was one of several courtiers who profited from the dissolution of the monasteries.

In the early years of the reign of Henry VIII, he married Lucy, daughter and heiress of Edmond Cheval who held the manor of Sisserfens in Codicote.

He died on 21 August 1558.

The image of Henry VIII and the Barber-Surgeons is reproduced from Young, The Annals of the Barber-Surgeons of London, courtesy of the Hathi Trust


Sidney Young, The Annals of the Barber-Surgeons of London, Compiled from their Records and other Sources, (London, 1890).

TNA: PROB 11/42B/160

‘Parishes: Codicote’, in A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 2, ed. William Page (London, 1908), pp. 345-348. British History Online [accessed 28 November 2022].

‘Henry VIII: April 1545, 26-30’, in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 20 Part 1, January-July 1545, ed. James Gairdner and R H Brodie (London, 1905), pp. 278-329. British History Online [accessed 28 November 2022].





EDC 5/2/1 – mentioned in the libel as holder of the head lease of the disputed tithes


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