Thomas Dengate, 1902
Born: 16 April 1830, Northiam, East Sussex
Baptised: 22 July 1832, St Mary's Church, Northiam, East Sussex
Married: 16 March 1852, St Peter and St Paul's church, Peasmarsh, East Sussex
Died: 3 October 1908, Peasmarsh, East Sussex
Buried: 9 October 1908, St Peter and St Paul's Church, Peasmarsh, East Sussex
Thomas Dengate was born to James and Sarah Dengate on the 16 April 1830. He was baptised in St Mary's Church, Northiam on the 22 July 1832 along with his brother Walter.
St Mary's Church, Northiam, East Sussex, 2003
Thomas' brother Walter died in February 1833 and was buried in St Mary's Church, Northiam. Between Walter's burial and 1841 the family moved to Sedlescombe, where they are recorded on the 1841 census living in Mill House. Beryl Lucey, in her book on Sedlescombe history writes, "In 1841 when the Tithe Map was made, William Bates, farmer of Riccards, was the mill-owner and James Dengate, the miller's man. In 1849 both were still there. Bates owned also Whatlington Mill only a mile away and it was probably here that he lived in the larger and better house, letting the cottage of Hancox Mill to his assistant, James Dengate." Despite undergoing renovations and extension, including the front elevation, the cottage remains remarkably similar both inside and out to how it would have been in the 1840s.
Windmill Cottage, 2004
(Left) The highest point for miles: the site where the mill is believed to have stood
(Right) The remarkable views and high winds this site is exposed to
By 1851 Thomas had moved to Peasmarsh and was living at 112 South Side Street, working as a grinder in Peasmarsh mill for William Banister in whose house he was residing at the time. The following year, aged 21, Thomas married Frances Ashdown, daughter of Alfred and Hannah Ashdown on the 16 March 1852 in St Peter and St Paul's Church, Peasmarsh. Witnesses to the marriage were Edward Banister and Frances' sister Mary Ann Ashdown. At their marriage they were presented with a family bible which still remains in the Dengate family to this day.
St Peter and St Paul's Church, Peasmarsh, East Sussex
Thomas and Frances had 13 children, William, Alfred, Annie, Ernest Alfred, Fanny, John Thomas, Charles, Frederick, James, Hannah, Caroline, Ada and Bertram. The first few were baptised in the Rye Methodist Chapel, the latter children baptised in Peasmarsh Church of England. Thomas was a member of the Methodist circuit, as were several members of the Dengate family.
Thomas Dengate's Methodist tickets, 1880 and 1886
The 1861 Census describes Thomas as a grocer, living with his family in Main Street, Peasmarsh.
Frances Dengate, c. 1920
In 1871 the family were living in the King's Head Pub, Peasmarsh, East Sussex, with Thomas working as a Journeyman Miller (paid by the day). The next 20 years must have been a great time of change for the Dengate family in Peasmarsh as Thomas and Frances waved goodbye to their children Hannah, Fanny, Fred, William and Ernest who all left home during this time, moving a considerable distance away in such places as Hastings, Eastbourne, Dorset and Brighton. For many of the brothers and sisters, they would not meet again until the reunion of 1939. In the end, only Jim, Charlie and Tom remained in Peasmarsh for the rest of their lives, mainly continuing with agricultural work.
In 1881 the family are living in Main Street, Peasmarsh, Thomas still working as a Journeyman Miller. By 1891 the family are living back in the King's Head Pub in Peasmarsh with Thomas and Frances looking after their daughter Fanny's daughter Flora Dengate and daughter Annie's son Alfred Russell Dengate.
Three years later and further change came when Thomas and Frances' youngest daughter Ada died aged 18 on 4 August 1894. She had, according to her death certificate, been suffering from heart disease for two years prior to her death. Her brother John Thomas Dengate was present at her death.
In 1901 Thomas and Frances are back living on Main Street, Peasmarsh, this time looking after their daughter Annie's daughter Matilda Dengate (Tillie). Thomas and Frances' influence in both Flora and Matilda's upbringing was such that both named Thomas as their father on their marriage certificate and school records for Peasmarsh state that the parents were Thomas and Frances Dengate.
Frances and Thomas Dengate, c.1902, Peasmarsh, East Sussex
Thomas Dengate died 3 October 1908, aged 78 years of athermomatous degeneration of the arteries and senile decay. His son, John Thomas Dengate was present at the death. Thomas was buried in St Peter and St Paul's Church 9 October 1908.
Frances Dengate died 29 December 1924 at Flackley Ash, Peasmarsh, East Sussex aged 91. She died of a brain haemorrhage and her son, John Thomas Dengate, present at the death reported his mother's death. Frances was buried 2 January 1925 in St Peter and St Paul's Church, Peasmarsh, East Sussex. Unfortunately, there is no visible memorial to either Thomas or Frances in the churchyard.
Dengate Family Bible
Grateful thanks to Eveline F. Edwards for the photo of Frances Dengate, to Derek Dengate for the photograph of Thomas and Frances Dengate and to Stephanie Tagg for allowing me to photograph the Methodist tickets and the Dengate bible.
© Copyright N. Goodwin MMII