John Story Penleaze was born near Christchurch in c.1786. He inherited considerable property and fortune on the death of his father in 1819 and subsequently sold the family home and bought the Bossington estate near Stockbridge. He was elected a burgess of Southampton in 1826, became deputy bailiff in 1828 and senior bailiff a year later. He was living at Beach Cottage in Oxford Street at this time although it is not known when he acquired the property. Politically he was a Whig. He supported the gradual abolition of slavery, Catholic emancipation and political reform. He stood unsuccessfully at the 1829 parliamentary election, but was returned in 1831 when the two pro-reform candidates, Penleaze and Arthur Atherley, defeated the anti-reform James Barlow Hoy.
In parliament he was a largely silent supporter of the Whig government led by Lord Grey. In February 1832, however, he presented a Southampton petition for a general drainage system and called for a survey of working people’s houses “to see that their health is preserved by a due attention to cleanliness”.
He retired from parliament in 1834 on grounds of age and ill-health and went to live with his son in Devon, having earlier sold Bossington estate. He subsequently held two consular posts, in Amsterdam 1840-41 and Barcelona 1841-54. He returned to England in 1854 to consult his doctor and died in Hereford in April 1855. The Southampton lodge of Freemasons, of which he had been a member, paid posthumous tribute to his “warm hearted character”.

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