News from Budock Vean

The Pender Family of Budock Vean – PART 1, Peter & Mary

The Pender family lived at Budock Vean for nearly 200 years and under their stewardship the house and estate was to become one of the largest and wealthiest in the district. But who exactly were the Penders and what mark have their lives left in this quiet corner of Cornwall, and the rest of the world, for us to discover?

The Penders (sometimes spelt Pendar) can trace their lineage in Cornwall back to the 16th century and Oliver Pender of St Buryan in the west of Cornwall, but by the 17th century the family had moved to Falmouth, though not as yet to the comfort of Budock Vean.

Mr Benjamin Pendar (? – 1698) was Mayor of Falmouth in 1669, 1675 and 1686 while his son, Peter Pender (1679 – 1737), was a merchant in the town and also mayor twice, in 1713 and 1714. It appears that it was Peter that settled the family in Budock Vean. He was married to Mary Speed and had four children, Daniel, Peter, Benjamin and Mary and sometime before his death in 1737 the family appears to have moved to the estate just outside the town. In his book ‘A History of Constantine’ Charles Henderson tells us that Budock Vean was in the possession of “Mrs. Pender” in 1740, presumably Peter Pender’s widow. It was the couple’s son, Benjamin who then took on the lease of Budock Vean in 1750 for a term of 99 years.

Benjamin Pender (1716 – 1769) appears to have made his money working as a lawyer and a tax collector. His occupation is given in records as ‘Receiver of Land and Window Taxes for the County’, a job that one might imagine made him less than popular with his more wealthy neighbours. The now infamous Window Tax had been introduced in 1696 and in essence meant that anyone living in a house with more than ten windows would pay an additional charge on top of the 2 shilling house tax already levied by the government. This led to windows across the country being bricked up to avoid the extra payment.

In 1741 Benjamin married Margaret Paynter of Boskenna, a wealthy family from west Cornwall, and together the couple had six children – Peter, Benjamin, Francis, Mary, Margaret and Rachel – who would all have grown up at Budock Vean (with the exception of Peter who sadly died before his first birthday). Benjamin Jnr would inherit the estate (more of him later) and his sisters all made good marriages but it was his brother Francis Pender who was to go on to lead a much more colourful and adventurous life.