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Ref No IE TCD MS 10334
Title Papers of the Penrose family of Waterford, Piltown and Tramore, 1729-1950
Creation Dates 1729-1950
Extent And Medium 17 archival boxes
Level Of Description Collection
Author Members of Penrose family
Admin Biographical History The original roots of the Penrose family are in Helstone in Cornwall, where they are mentioned in the Domesday Book. A branch of the family had settled in Yorkshire in 1580, before moving on to Ireland seventy-six years later. In 1656, Robert Penrose moved to Dublin; his brother Richard following nine years later. They may already have been Quakers, as George Fox, founder of the Society of Friends, had started preaching in 1646; twenty-three years later he was preaching in Ireland. Richard by that time had married an Irish woman called Anne Storye. William, the third of their five children, born in 1676, lived in Waterford, where he tanned hides, imported timber and exported agricultural produce. William’s second son, John, was born in 1706, and also went on to become a tanner and exporter of hides. He married Anne Cooper, of Cooper’s Hill, Carlow and they had four children, including Cooper Penrose, born in 1736. William’s younger son George, born in 1722, went on to found the Waterford Glass Factory in 1783, along with his nephew, also named
William. John died young, and the eldest son, Cooper, was raised by his uncle Samuel. Both men moved to Cork in 1763 and entered into partnership with John Dennis, also a Quaker in the timber business. Shortly afterwards, Cooper married Elizabeth Dennis, the only daughter of the Dennis family. They lived in an Elizabethan house, Woodhill, that John Dennis had purchased from the widow of Sir John Dickson Haman.

The partnership of Cooper Penrose, Samuel Penrose and John Dennis prospered, and included setting up a glass factory in Cork. Although Penrose businesses and homes were divided between Waterford and Cork, the family operated as a unified enterprise, with machinery, raw materials and capital moving between the two cities. Skilled workers also traveled between the factories, a mobility of labour that can lead to confusion in deciding whether items of cut glass are “Waterford Glass” or “Cork Glass”. Ultimately, as recognised by Mairead Dunleavy, they may be best described, simply, as “Penrose Glass”. Cooper and Elizabeth Penrose had two sons, James and William Edward, born in 1766 and 1768, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Anne, born in 1771 and 1774 respectively. In 1780 the family moved back into Woodhill, the Elizabethan house of the Dennis’s having been demolished and completely rebuilt. With the departure of James Penrose in the mid-twentieth century, the days of the Penrose family in Ireland were at an end.
Scope And Content These Penrose papers do not contain any references to the glass manufactory begun in Waterford in 1783 when George and William Penrose erected a glass house on the quay at Waterford and petitioned Parliament for aid to establish a flint glass manufacture, which was in fact established in 1784. It was sold off to the Gatchells in 1797 who moved to the Old Tan Yard in Ann Street.

Included are: family papers of the Penrose family, including 195 deeds, 1729-1915. These properties are mainly in Waterford city, but there are also properties in Cos Waterford, Cork, Wexford and in the Waterford city liberty in Co Kilkenny. Also includes papers, principally financial estate and testamentary of the Penrose family of Waterford, Piltown and Tramore through three generations from Jacob Penrose (b. 1794) to William Robert Penrose of Belline, Piltown and of Seaville, Tramore (early 20th-century).
Arrangement 10334/1: deeds (these deeds concerned have not been listed in chronological order, nor have they been indexed thoroughly. They have been sample-indexed to show what persons and properties are involved).
10334/2-78: family papers (items 63-72 are non-Penrose items in the Penrose papers, 1725-1918)
Access Conditions Please contact mscripts@tcd.ie
Copyright Please contact mscripts@tcd.ie
Language English
Related Material There are related Gatchell papers in the National Museum of Ireland, see Mairéad Dunlevy, 'Penrose Glass' (Dublin: 1989).
Public Note Mairéad Dunlevy, 'Penrose Glass' (Dublin: 1989).
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