The Penn Gray Museum

About museum

Where?  

The Robing Room at the Stoke Poges Memorial Gardens

What is it? 

A display of relics relating to the Penn family and Thomas Gray, the poet. Other objects, books and furniture of local historic interest

Who were Penn and Gray?

The Penn family and Thomas Gray are intimately connected with the land surrounding Stoke Poges Memorial Gardens.

William Penn was the founder of the state of Pennsylvania, USA and was a  committed Quaker.  His son, Thomas bought Stoke Park, Stoke Poges in 1760 and lived in the Manor House.  Thomas' eldest son, John, then inherited the estate and demolished most of the Manor House, yet he built the fine white mansion house in centre of Stoke Park.

Thomas Gray was an outstanding poet of the 18th Century and was one of the most learned men in the world.  His masterpiece, 'The Elergy Written in a Country Churchyard' is believed to have been written in St Giles' churchyard, Stoke Poges. Parts of the poem are to this day often quoted in many countries.  He frequently stayed at his mother and aunt's home in Stoke Poges, when he was not working at the University of Cambridge.

Special exhibits:

  • An early 18th Century indenture document with William Penn's original wax seal.     It details his ownership of property in Pennsylvania.
  • A 19th Century oval portrait bust of William Penn
  •  A portrait of Thomas Gray with St Giles' church, Stoke Poges, in the background painted by Benjamin Wilson
  • A watercolour painting of St Giles' church, Stoke Poges with two people beside the tomb of Thomas Gray, attributed to Samuel Heronymous Grimm.
  • A large bronze bell with a coat of arms, inscribed, 'Robert Gayer Esquire 1660', thought to be the one that  'tolls the knell of parting day' mentioned in the Elegy

Open during office hours, Monday - Friday, 9.30-4.30pm (excluding Bank Holidays), free entry