Pennasville History

Five generations of the Penna family have helped make it what it is today.

Pennasville has been owned by the Penna family since 1928 when John Penna Senior (grandfather of current owners Mark and Tony) noticed a small piece of land for sale close to the beach at Holywell Bay.

At the time John Senior was living at the farmhouse in Penhale he shared with his wife Carrie and their five children. Sensing there was a good opportunity, John Senior rode his horse the 15 miles to Truro to purchase the land for £100. 

With the arrival of the railways came Cornwall's first holidaymakers, and John Senior would collect summer visitors and locals in his horse drawn coach from Shepherds Station at Fiddlers Green and bring them to Cubert and Holywell Bay.

But with work in short supply due to the depression, John Senior travelled to America in order to provide for his family. By this point Carrie and the children had moved down to the new piece of land where the family had built a timber house which is still used today as the games room and reception at Pennasville.

Whilst in America, John Senior regularly sent money home and eventually there was enough to build the large house which stands just outside the entrance to Pennasville.

Meanwhile, Carrie opened a grocery and sweet shop, parked cars for 6d a day during the summer, and also put large bell tents on the land right out to the beach and rented these to holidaymakers, and the holiday park was born.

At this time John Junior, the youngest of the five children, was serving in Malta with the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy, but returned to join the family business as it grew.

Shortly after returning to Holywell Bay, John Junior met Sheila who was on holiday at Pennasville with her family from Essex. They married in 1959 and together with John’s sister Chrissie ran the park, the car park and grocery shop together. The shop is run today by Chrissie’s nephew David and his wife Chris.

After John Senior passed away in America, Pennasville passed on to John and Sheila they began building the 28 cottages that stand on the site today. The first eleven cottages were completed in 1983 with the latest two finished in 1997.

John and Sheila have now retired and Pennasville, its history, and its future, is now in the hands of their sons Tony and Mark and their wives Dawn and Joanne, who now have the pleasure of welcoming guests to Pennasville.

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