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Our History

our history

Here is a house that the Penn family lived in; a doorway that they approached, a threshold that they crossed, the windows that they looked out of. It is empty today, weathered and derelict. It was for some time the home of William, grandson of William Penn. His widow lived here, on her second marriage with Alexander Durdin, for only sixty days,when she died. It still holds great beauty. Sunlight and the shadows of green leaves play about its walls; in the drawing room there is a simple and elegant fireplace, in the dining room moulded rafters, and in the study an empty book-case; all tell of a simple and cultivated home. Extract from ‘A Memorial to William Penn in Ireland 1798-1948’.During much of the last William ‘s life, he seems to have lived mainly at a house called Sunville, a few miles from Shanagarry.Sunville today remains an interesting old house, though sadlybattered, empty and decayed. It stands on the slope of a long range of sand-stone hills, and it looks down, on the well tilled, fertile plain in which Shanagarry is hidden. It is a house that poetically, artistically and in the sunlight and shadow of its setting, still holds the past in tow for our retrospection.

One cannot help meditating on the strength of the Quaker way of life that was communicated by the grandson William to his wife Anne Vaux, who in turn in her short married life of sixty days so influenced Alexander Durdin that his son Richard went out to America and founded the town of Huntingdon. What a tenuous thread of family life woven into the history of the two countries. This old house tells us that the Penns have gone. But youth remains. There is beauty, challenge, vision in the movement of the breeze There is sunlight about the door. It is still the privilege of tote Society of Friends in Munster to be able to associate with the childhood of this land.