Richard Kyrke Penson as a Church Restorer in Victorian Gower by Geoffrey R. Orrin Richard Kyrke Penson (1815-85), the subject of this article, was born on 19th June 1815, the day following the battle of Waterloo. He was the son of Thomas Penson (1791-1859), county surveyor of Denbighshire and Montgomeryshire, and the grandson of Thomas Penson (1760-1824), the founder of the Penson dynasty and architect, engineer and county surveyor of Flintshire.2 Richard Penson's father had married Frances, the daughter of Richard Kirk (1747-1839), a Wrexham ironmaster.3 Penson was educated at Oswestry Grammar School where the headmaster was the Reverend Dr. James Donne (1764-1844). Donne's interest in anti- quarian studies had a great influence on the young Penson.4 After serving a period of apprenticeship in his father's architectural practice in Oswestry he was sent to London to pursue his studies for about five years from 1843-47. He married in or about 1847.5 In 1847 he became one of the founder members of the Cambrian Archaeological Association and in 1852 he read a paper on Ludlow Church before the Association at the Ludlow meeting in that year.6 In April, 1853 he was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.7 Following his admission to the Society he was appointed with Professor Edward Freeman of Trinity College, Oxford and one of the most distinguished architectural historians of his day, to be one of the Cambrian Archaeological Association's two special Assistant Secretaries for architecture.8 Penson had showed a natural bent for church building and restoration as early as 1836 when he designed Holy Trinity Church, Oswestry. Also, in 1853 he was appointed county surveyor of Carmar- thenshire and Cardiganshire.9 About 1856 he formed a partnership with Archibald Ritchie in premises at 51 Wind Street, Swansea. At that juncture he resided with his wife, Clara Maria Penson, and their young daughter, Clara, at Ferryside on the opposite side of the Loughor estuary to the Gower Peninsula. Richard Penson built, restored and enlarged several churches in Swan- sea and Gower during the 1850s and early 1860s. These included Pen- maen (1854-55), Cockett Chapel of Ease (1856), Llanrhidian (1856-58), Kilvey (1858-59), Oystermouth (1859-60), and St. John's Morriston, Swansea (1859-62).12