Recently I wrote about using land records to help sort out a confusing family here, and this week I’ve been applying that approach to try to sort out, once and for all, the kinships between the various Richard and John Denchfields of 17th and 18th century North Marston, Bucks.
Here’s what I did:
- Created a combined timeline of all the players in an Excel spreadsheet.
- Extracted all the references to land found in the Denchfield wills.
- Created a Word chart showing all the Denchfield landowners and dates of any land related activity
Laying the land transactions out chronologically made everything much more cohesive and confirmed a lot of what I believed to be true based on parish records and wills.
The biggest problem I have with the Denchfield kinships has to do with John Denchfield, iremonger, and his wife Parnell, whose union produced two sons, John (b. 1674), and Richard (b. 1677), who in turn both had sons named John born within two years of each other. John and Parnell’s son John married Elizabeth Purchas in 1713 and there is a general consensus among Denchfield researchers that it was this John who married Elizabeth Brewer in 1736 and had a large family of eight children, including my 5xGreat Grandfather; however, there is nothing in the parish registers to directly support this claim. Fortunately, by examining additional documents and applying inferential research techniques, the connection become clear.
- John the iremonger died in 1689, leaving his property in North Marston to son John, and his property in Quainton to son Richard, who was under age. Son John was left in charge of the Quainton property until his brother reached full age.
- In 1707 in North Marston, John Denchfield paid tithing on a cottage and Richard Denchfield paid tithing on 4 fields.
- In 1713, maltster John Denchfield married Elizabeth Purchas; second son John was born three years later.
- In 1714, Richard Denchfield and second wife Ann baptized son John.
- John Denchfield, yeoman, married Elizabeth Brewer in January 1736.
- In his will made two years before his death in April 1736, maltster John Denchfield bequeathed his house, malthouse, etc in NM to son John. He also left him the Half Yarde land he’d purchased recently from John Bunce.
- As part of the 1779 Enclosure Awards, John Denchfield was granted lot 129 in lieu of his Half Yarde land.
- In his will made in 1766, amended in 1777, and proved after his death in 1788, yeoman John Denchfield left his Father Brewer’s house to son Richard, and his Fathers’ Denchfield house and Enclosure award Half Yarde lot to son John.
Although nothing in this last will explicitly states who his parents were, when analyzed in conjuction with evidence from earlier parish records, land transactions, and other probate records, it indirectly proves yeoman John Denchfield, husband of Elizabeth Brewer, was born in 1716 and was the son of maltster John Denchfield and his wife Elizabeth Purchas. It connects the man who married Elizabeth Brewer (who probably attained the Brewer house as part of a marital settlement or upon his father-in-law’s death) with the John who’d inherited the North Marston house and Half Yarde from his father, who we know to be John Denchfield, son of John and Parnell.