As part of my research into the Tumbledown Cottage known as The Old Crow at Willersley, Herefordshire, I investigated the Penny family who occupied the cottage in the 20th century. While working on the history of this Penny family, at the back of my mind has been the realisation that my own BALL family had a link with a member of a PENN[E]Y family: surely there couldn’t be any connection between my family and those who inhabited the Old Crow!
In 1953 my father’s sister Alice Victoria BALL, then a fifty-three year old spinster, married one Frank Leslie PENNEY (shown right), widower, born in Birmingham in 1899, whom my brother and I knew as “Uncle Frank“. I’d never properly researched Uncle Frank’s ancestry, and the thought had never entered my head that there might be a connection with the PENN[E]Y family of Radnorshire, Herefordshire, and the Tumbledown Cottage.
But I was wrong! In 2015, I decided to investigate Uncle Frank’s ancestry and it soon became clear that Frank Leslie PENNEY was indeed a descendant of the same line as the Penny Boys of the Old Crow!
Frank Leslie PENNY (b. 1899, Birmingham) was the son of Joseph William PENNY (b. 1865, Handsworth, Staffs), the grandson of Emmanuel PENNY (b. 1837, Kington, Herefordshire), and the great grandson of Joseph PENNY (b. 1796, Stanner. Herefordshire). Furthermore, Emmanuel PENNY was a younger brother of the Joseph PENNY (b. 1825), long-serving subpostmaster at Winforton, from whom the Penny Boys were descended.
Uncle Frank’s great grandfather was the Penny Boys’ great great grandfather!
Of course I am not a blood relative of the Penn(e)y family – but this new-found connection between me and The Old Crow is truly an amazing coincidence.