A while back, I transcribed the will of Awdry Denchfield, widow of John Denchfield. From the bequests in Awdry’s will, it appears she had been the widow of a Mr. Knowles at the time of her marriage to John Denchfield, and that she was the mother of at least three daughters and one son:
- George Knowles, under age
- Elizabeth Collins
- deceased daughter, wife of William French
- deceased daughter, wife of John Chandler
From other records, I was able to infer that John and Awdry’s marriage must have taken place after 1677, but the marriage is not recorded in the parish registers for North Marston, where the couple lived until John’s death in 1689, nor did it turn up in a search on FamilySearch. The Buckinghamshire Family History Society ran a search on Denchfield, and its many variants, in their database of marriages from all extant parishes in Buckinghamshire, with no success. Then, quite serendipitously, the industrious Mike Dewey came upon a handwritten pedigree of the Denchfields of Whitchurch and scrawled at the bottom was a note about a marriage in 1682 between John Denchfield of North Marston and Awdry Knowls, in Hartwell, a village about 10 miles from North Marston.
According to the list of parishes included in the BFHS database, a Denchfield marriage in Hartwell should have shown up. I ordered Phillimore’s Buckinghamshire Marriages, and there is was, in Volume III, p. 66:
Joh. Detchfield, of North-Maston, & Awdry Kowls, of Oving, lic. 6 July 1682
The marriage didn’t show up in the search of the BFHS database because Detchfield was not one of the defined variations. Checking FamilySearch again, a search of John Denchfield (not exact) marriages in Buckinghamshire in 1682 +/- 10 years produced 176 hits, but only one marriage in England, and it wasn’t the one I was looking for.
I was able to locate the record in FamilySearch using the name Detchfield, and following the path of the batch revealed that record was from the microfilm of the Phillimores book. Incidently, the FamilySearch record makes no mention of John being from North Marston, or Awdry from Oving.
The FHL catalog shows microfilm of the Hartwell parish registers does exist, film 1042383 Items 16 – 22, so I will order that to corroborate the Phillimore’s index.
Who was Awdry Knowls? A burial of George Knowles in 1681, was recorded in Oving. Given that Awdry has a son George, it’s possible this is a record of her husband’s death. I will try to locate a marriage for a George Knowles to a woman named Awdry.
John Detchfield and Awdry Knowls were married by license. I wonder if a copy of that license exists somewhere. Would it provide the name of John’s first wife, mother of his children?
“Denchfield Family of Whitchurch Pedigree.” Ref D58/23. Pedigrees of Whitcurch families compiled 1895-1909. Antiquarian Notes and Papers of G.W. Wilson Relating To Whitchurch. Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies, Aylesbury.
North Marston Saint Mary: Part 3 (of 4) Marriages & Banns. Aylesbury: Buckinghamshire Family History Society, 2005.
Oving All Saints: Part 1 (of 2) Baptisms & Burials. Aylesbury: Buckinghamshire Family History Society, 2007.
Phillimore, W. P. W., editor. Buckinghamshire Parish Registers. Marriages. Vol. III. London: Phillimore & Co., 1907. Digital facsimile CD-ROM. Phillimores Buckinghamshire Marriages, Volumes 1-9. S&N Genealogy Supplies, 2003.