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  • Writer's pictureJessica Feinstein

Walter Penny of Wiltshire, shepherd

One of Ari’s 3x great-grandfathers was Walter Penny, the son of gamekeeper Henry Penny. Walter was born on 19 September 1860 at Fonthill Bishop, in Wiltshire.


Grazing ponies near Fonthill Bishop

He was christened on 21 October 1860.

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1916

In 1871, the family were living at Woodbine Cottage, and Walter was attending school. By the next census in 1881, he was working as an agricultural labourer.

On 23 February 1884 he married Lydia Monica Beckett at All Saints Church, Fonthill Bishop. The couple had thirteen children. By 1901 Walter was working as a shepherd, and in 1907 he appeared in a newspaper account of prizewinners at the Gillingham Agricultural Society’s Annual Show, where “a drizzling rain fell during the morning, and though the weather cleared up for a time several very heavy showers fell in the afternoon, driving the spectators to the tents and the shelter of the trees”.

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Salisbury and Winchester Journal

In 1911 the family were at 9 Zeals Road, Zeals.

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1911 census

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Photo of Walter, courtesy of Claire Hewlett

Walter died in 1925.

Ari, this is how you are related to Walter:

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