Born in Eskrigg, Lancs. son of John Penny and has been called the first significant English entomologist. Studied as a teenager at Queen's College, Cambridge in 1546, moving to Trinity in 1550 where he graduated in 1551, became a Fellow in 1553 and then senior bursar. He was ordained and also acquired medical qualifications although he was barred from practising (see web entry on British History Online). He died in Gressingham, Lancs, where he lived for much of his life.