Pennington, Penelope


The Penningtons lived at 12 Dowry Square, a beautiful town home in a three-sided square that remains intact to this day. At the opposite corner from the Pennington’s home was the residence (No. 6) that had previously housed Thomas Beddoes’s Pneumatic Institute where Humphry Davy (1778-1829), the famed chemist, arrived late in 1798 as Beddoes’s assistant and where Davy met Southey, Coleridge, and other young Romantics prior to his removal to London and a stellar career at the Royal Institution. Hays and Pennington became acquainted through Southey’s old friend, Charles Danvers (d. 1814) of Kingsdown, Bristol. Penelope Sophia Weston Pennington (1752?-1827) was the former  friend and correspondent of Seward, Williams, and Hester Lynch Thrale Piozzi (1741-1821). At that time she was living in London and had not yet married the American John Pennington (that would occur in 1792), who became Master of Ceremonies at the Hotwells in Bristol in 1785.  As Oswald Knapp notes in his edition of the letters that passed between Weston and Piozzi, Sophia Weston appeared frequently in Seward’s letters, often referring to her as ‘the graceful and elegant Miss Weston’, who, Knapp adds, ‘was then the leading spirit of “a knot of ingenious and charming females at Ludlow in Shropshire,”’ where Seward visited her in 1787.   See Oswald G. Knapp, ed., The Intimate Letters of Hester Piozzi and Penelope Pennington(London; New York: John Lane, 1914), p. 4.