…Mary Denchfield of the Weald Grounds in the parrish of Wing in the County of Bucks Dary Woman Being of Sound mind and perfect memory praised be God for it… made a will on 7 January 1733/34. In it, she made arrangements for her nephew Richard Denchfield and her kinswoman Elizabeth Penn to receive 50 shillings apiece following her death, with the bulk of her estate going to her nephew Mathew Denchfield. The record of her burial at Wing’s All Saints Church on 7 March 1734, described her as a “widow from Cotsloe,” a hamlet just west of the village, which is today known as Cottesloe Farm on Cublington Road.
All Saints Parish Church in Wing
But who was she?
If she really was a widow, she made no mention of it in her will, nor did she acknowledge any living children or grandchildren.
Richard Denchfield, labourer of Whitchurch, wrote a will in 1749, probably from his death bed a day or two before he died in early October. His estate, probated on the 28th of that same month, consisted of no inventory (Note 1). He was survived by his widow, Mary Cheshire, and their only son, 11 year old Thomas. It’s not clear what happened to the widow Mary, although there is a record of a Mary Denchfield marrying Thomas Rickart in Whitchurch in 1752 (Note 2). Richard’s son Thomas grew up to marry Mary Henley on 15 July 1762 and fathered 10 children. Who was this Richard, labourer of Whitchurch? I suspect he was the son of Richard Denchfield and his first wife Elizabeth, baptized in North Marston on 12 June 1709. That Richard was a farmer in North Marston, likely the son of ironmonger John and Parnell Denchfield. The elder Richard had inherited his father John’s house (…more)
It never ends….any given decade in the 1600s, 1700s, and 1800s finds two, if not more, men named John Denchfield strolling the streets of North Marston, marrying women named Ann, Mary, or Elizabeth, raising sons named John and Richard, involving themselves in church business, land conveyances, marrying daughters named Ann, Elizabeth, and Mary to fellow gentleman farmers,and in the process leaving a paper trail that has confounded Denchfield family historians for hundreds of years. or NOT. Maybe I’m the only one confounded. Maybe to everyone else it’s clear. But the more Denchfield facts I discover, the more confused I become.
In the 1730s, one such John Denchfield made a living making malt brandy, on propreties he owned in North Marston and Quainton, Bucks. Among family historians, he is thought to be the son of John Denchfield, ironmonger, whose 1688 will, transcribed here, left property in Quainton to underage son Richard, (…more)
John Denchfield made the following will on 4 December 1766 and, 11 years later on 4 January 1777, he added a clause regarding his wife Mary. The evidence from this document provides an important clue to solving the John Denchfield/Mary Gurney mystery I wrote about previously here. The will was proved on 6 December 1788.
In The name of God Amen I John Denchfield Elder
of Northmarston in the County of Bucks being in perfect
Mind and Memory do make and Ordain this my Last Will
and Testament. First of all I Give and reccomend my Soul
into the hands of Almighty God hopeing to be Saved by
his Mercy and the Merits of our Blessed Saviour Jesus Christ
And my Body to the Earth to be Buried in a Christian like and
Decent manner at the discretion of my Executor hereinafter
named: And as Touching that Little worldly (…more)
When John Denchfield, maltster of North Marston, made his will in 1689, he instructed that his beloved wife Audrey was to receive food and lodging for three months following his death as, he rather cryptically noted, she was otherwise well provided for.
Audrey’s own will, written 4 August 1704, a few months before her death, offers an explanation of how she was cared for after John’s death, and hints at who Audrey Denchfield was.
The Last Will & Testament of Awdry Denchfield made ye 4th day of Agust 1704
In the Name of God Amen I Awdry Denchfield of Thornborough in the County of
Bucks Willow being in sound & pfect mind & Memory though weak in Body——
praise be given to Almightly God do make & Ordaine this my present Last Will and —
Testament in manner & forme following (…more)
John Denchfield was the son of Mathew Denchfield, whose own will is transcribed HERE…. John was born 30 November 1639, and at the age of 19 was, as we know from his father’s will, engaged in an apprenticeship, which most likely involved the iron trade, as John made his living as an iremonger.*
Although there is no record of a marriage in any of the existing Buckinghamshire parish registers, it appears John was married at least twice: first to Parnell, with whom he had seven children, and then to Audrey who is named in his will.
Eli was an enormous help with the transcription
Here is the transcription of John’s (rather long-winded) will, made 18 June 1689. It was proved in November of the same year. It’s a lot to digest….I’ll be back later in the week with an abstract and some thoughts on what this document (…more)
The will made by an ailing and aging yeoman Mathew DENCHFIELD is transcribed here and helps to shed light on the structure of his family in the early part of 17th Century North Marston. It was written in his 56th year, when his health was declining and he was no doubt contemplating his own mortality. The fact that it was nun cupative, or giving orally, would seem to indicate that his health was so poor he was unable to write.
Mathew was the son of Richard DENCHFIELD and Margaret INGRAM, who were married in North Marston on 7 March 1601. As his baptism took place at St. Mary’s Church on 7 March 1601, just nine months after the wedding, it’s reasonable to say that Mathew was their firstborn child. No other Denchfield baptisms in the parish register are attributed to this couple, however as there were many gaps in (…more)
amanuensis noun \ə-,man-yə-’wen(t)-səs\ one employed to write from dictation or to copy manuscript
from the Latin (servus) a manu slave with secretarial duties first known use 1619
Mathew Denchfill [Denchfield] (1601-1660)
Mathew was the son of Richard Denchfield of North Marston, and grandson of Gefferie Deanchfield whose will is transcribed here.
We know from the St. Mary’s register that Mathew was baptized on 7 March 1601. (His name in the register is spelled “Matthie.”) His first wife, Joan Stream of Oving, Bucks, died in October 1632, less than two years after they were married in Oving on 30 June 1631.
Matthew’s second marriage, to Mary Spencer, took place in North Marston on 25 January 1633, and it was this marriage that produced four children:
Prudence DENCHFIELD (10 Nov 1633 – 17 Jun 1680)
Richard DENCHFIELD (13 Feb 1637 – after (…more)
My English Denchfields were a fixture in North Marston, Buckinghamshire in the 17th & 18th centuries. They were landowners, overseers of the poor, and occasionally members of the clergy. They also (sigh) had a penchant for naming their sons John and Richard. Although the Denchfield name appears in every generation of the extant St Mary’s registers, enormous chunks have been ripped out of the books creating large gaps, some as long of twenty years. Because the damage occurred before there was time to copy the entries into the Bishop’s transcripts, we can’t rely on the church records to prove certain events. Needless to say, tracking the North Marston Denchfields through the years can give a family historian a big headache. But fortunately for my family history, the wills made by several of the early Denchfields have provided the documentary evidence needed to map out the familial relationships in (…more)