The name Pensby was given by the Old Norse settlers in the region, meaning a 'settlement on a hill'.
The "by" suffix is found in many of the other local Norse settlements such as Frankby, Greasby, West
Kirby, and Irby.
Records show that Pensby has always been a relatively small settlement with a population of only 22 in
1801, 48 in 1901 and 2,996 in 1951. Lower Pensby was previously known as 'Newtown'. The name
was derived from the building of new houses around the turn of the 20th century at the crossroads of
Pensby Road and Gills Lane.
Exploring Pensby in 1847 William Mortimer wrote:
"The township of Pensby is situated on a moorish flat between Heswall, Barnston and Irby; about fourteen
miles from Chester. It contains 334 acres valued at £334 and by the census of 1841 it had only 37
inhabitants, occupying the two or three farm houses of which the village composes.
Pensby is not mentioned in the Doomsday book. The first notice of it is found in the postmortem inq temp
21, Richard II, from which it appears probable that the entire township had belonged to one Peter Pennesby;
but it is known to have been divided into parcels during the 20th century when one third belonged to the
hospital of St Johns of Chester, one third to the Stanleys of Hooton and the Bold Family of Chester. After
the dissolution the manor was granted to the dean and chapter of Chester; from whom it passed to the
Harpurs; by then it was sold in 1668 to the Gleggs of Gayton and it is now held by John Baskervyle Glegg of
old Withington esq".
Philip Sulley in 1889 writes:
"There is no hall or manorial rights in existence. Tithes are paid to the vicar of Barnston, in which parish the
township is now included. Formerly it was in Woodchurch. Three farms extend to about 100 acres each,
but the land is cold and poor, situate on a bleak windswept hill. Some adventurous spirit has selected this
delightful spot as the site of a nursery, but as in addition to the wind and lack of shelter the soil is of the
stiffest clay, his success will not be phenomenal".