This article appeared in the Spring 1969 (Issue #15) edition of the Kent Archaeological Review.
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William S Penn, Obituary.
William S Penn, BSc, AIRI
It was with very great regret that those concerned with archaeology in Kent learned of the sudden death of William Penn, on November 11th, 1968, at the early age of 46.
Mr Penn, or "Bill" as he was known to diggers and non-diggers alike, was a leading figure in field archaeology in Kent. His series of excavations at the Romano-British town of Vagniacae (Springhead near Gravesend) began in 1951 and continued every year with ever increasing scope and importance. By 1966 much of the plan of the settlement had been revealed and an important complex of temples uncovered. He published regular accounts of the work in Archaeologia Cantiana and this Review and by this work had already made a major contribution to Romano-British archaeology. This would have been the greater had he lived to complete his excavations on this important site.
Mr Penn became the first chairman of KARGC when it was founded in 1964 and held office until 1967. In these four years he was largely responsible for much of the early progress and the foundations which he then laid have proved a sound basis on which to build. He was a regular speaker at our annual conferences and his ready humour and "Springhead" propaganda were often the highlights of the day. At the time of his death he was Vice-Chairman of Group 11a of the CBA and President of the Gravesend Historical Society.
We offer to Mrs Penn, her daughter, the members of the Springhead Group and the Gravesend Historical Society our deepest sympathy and sincere regrets.
Bill will be sorely missed!