appreciate Marion's thoughtfulness in sending these along so that we can all enjoy them.
For those of you planning a trip to search out our Denton roots in England, we are
sure this page will be most helpful.
June 1998 by Marion Paris Marriott)
The first four pictures are all taken at All Saints' Church, Hillesden, Buckinghamshire, England.
This is the
door of the church which still bears bullet holes inflicted by
The nave of the church from the rear.
Effigies of Sir Thomas Denton and his wife, Margaret Mordant, 15??.
Bust of Sir
Thomas Denton, grandson of the Sir Thomas above, husband of Susan Temple and father of Sir
Alexander and others.
The next four pictures were taken in Cumbria, England, east of the city of Carlisle and west of Hexham; the nearest village is Haltwhistle.
church at Upper Denton.
Looking toward Denton Fell
Among the lichens, a cross thought to have been carved by a Saxon parishioner.
St. Cuthbert's Church at Lower Denton; still an active parish of the Church of England. Again, Marion looked at every tombstone. All date from the 19th century.
(Source of the following: Verney, Frances P., ed. Memoirs of the Verney Family, volume two, London: Longmans Green and Co., 1892, pp.188-207)
All Saints' Church is of the decorated Henry VII period. During the Protectorate of King Edward VI, the Buckinghamshire estate was granted to Thomas Denton, an eminent lawyer and treasurer of the Temple (one of the courts of law in London). Sir Thomas represented Bucks. in the Parliament of 1554. The effigies, (picture above) recumbent figures of Sir Thomas and his wife, Margaret Mordant/Mordaunt were carved from alabaster.
Two generations later comes Sir Thomas who married Susan Temple of Stowe. This Sir Thomas was M.P. for Bucks in James I's first three Parliaments, then Knight of the Shire, and again represented Bucks in the first Parliament of Charles I. Sir Thomas died in 1633 and was succeeded by his son Alexander, who represented Bucks in four of Charles l's parliaments.
Alexander's siblings included Dr. William, who was Court physician to both Charles I and Charles II; John, a barrister; Margaret, who married Sir Edmund Verney; Elizabeth Denton Isham, Susan Denton Abercrombie, Dorothy Denton (Doll) Leake/Leeke; Paul, Thomas, George, and William.
In the early spring of 1644, after separate assaults, Sir Alexander and several hu7ndred others were captured by Cromwell's forces. The house was burned beyond repair, almost to the ground. The church, which was used as a garrison, suffered damage.
Sir Alexander was first imprisoned at Newport Pagnell and then taken to London where he was committed to the Tower on March 15, 1644. His sister Elizabeth Isham and her husband Thomas were also held in the Tower for a period of time. By his own petition Sir Alexander was moved to Lord Petre's house when the Tower became full, but died of a "fever," still in captivity, on January 1, 1645. William Laud, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was beheaded on Tower Hill nine days later.
Dr. William, who also the headed a large family, lived in London, as did other family members. Many of his letters to the Verney family have been preserved. In 1658 his remains were buried before the altar in the floor of Hillesden Church, according to family custom. Verney has estimated that the Hillesden family used fewer than a dozen baptismal names over and over. William, Thomas, and John were prominent men's names; Elizabeth, Susan, Mary, and Margaret were women's. Verney notes that first cousins bore identical names. I suspect that those practices are a major source of confusion for us and why separating the lines has confounded us. Of some help may be the distinction that Verney makes among Loyalists and Dissenters: the latter group used Old Testament names to a far greater extent.
A note on the reliability of this information:
Frances Verney's sources consisted almost entirely of family correspondence, records, and other papers that the Verneys had kept for centuries at their seat, Claydon House. The volumes make fascinating reading if one has an interest in the Tudor and Stuart era or the Civil War. The erudition, affection, care, opinion, and wit that the letters reflect is overwhelming to me. Perhaps such sophistication should not be unexpected since the men were graduates of Oxford (about 30 miles away) and the women were tutored at home in what appears to have exceeded the standard household and gentlewomen's arts of the time,
The tiny villages of East Claydon and Hillesden are just a few miles apart. The countryside is gently rolling, much of it farmland and meadow. Sheep must number in the thousands. The nearest town is Buckingham. The winding lanes are edged by tall shrubbery or stone walls, aspects that make driving very exciting. (Ask Ridge Marriott about dodging huge vehicles that speed around blind curves!) The exterior of Claydon House can be seen in the recent film version of Jane Austin's Sense and Sensibility.
In Cumbria the land is rugged, more nearly resembling the borders area of Scotland, which is a short distance to the north. Denton Fell is one of the higher peaks at some 700 feet, and the enormous amount of rain makes the trees grow tall. The forests are dark. Early one morning Ridge spotted a couple of red stag, the animals we know as elk. Both Carlisle and Durham are lively cities known for their cathedrals, especially Durham. The only word I can find to describe Durham cathedral is awesome; it reminded me of Chartres. Durham castle is nearby. It rained the day we went to hilly Durham, and the slippery cobblestones discouraged us from much walking, unfortunately. Upper and Lower Denton, along with the hamlets of Haltwhistle and Birdoswald, are hard by Hadrian's Wall.
With best wishes,