Richard Dengate was born 9 October 1819 to James (1788-1964) and Charlotte Dengate (1782-1867), who had married in Wittersham but moved around 1815 to Tenterden then Newenden. Richard was baptised 13 October 1818 in St Mildred’s Church, Tenterden. Richard is shown on the 1841 census living at New Barn with his brother, James, and their parents. Ten years later and the family are still at New Barn, where James (snr) is recorded as a farmer of 107 acres. It is not known when Frogs Hill (or Frogs Farm) came into the family, but Richard certainly worked with his father on the land for a good many years. James’ will of 1853 gave all his stock, goods, chattels and property to Richard ‘...for his own use and benefit subject however to the suitable maintenance and support of my wife (his mother) Charlotte Dengate during her life...’ James, perhaps not wishing history to judge him badly also made clear why his other son, James did not inherit anything upon his death: ‘...the reason why I do not leave my said son James Dengate any part of property is that he has already received his full share thereof...[he received lands in Northiam].’ A year after his father’s death, at the age of 46, Richard Dengate married Mary Barnes on 13 January 1865 in Sandhurst Parish Church. The witnesses to the ceremony were William and Jane Barnes. The couple had one child, Mary Charlotte Dengate, baptised 17 December 1865 in St Peter’s Church, Newenden.
In the mid 1800s many farm owners paid their workers in pewter hop tokens and Richard Dengate was one such farmer who issued them from Frogs Farm. The tokens could the be spent in the company store or used as an interim payment and exchanged for cash at the end of the hop- picking season. Many of the hop-pickers were Londoners who came to Kent for a working holiday.
It was likely that soon after Mary Charlotte’s Dengate birth the family moved to Hill House. Richard was noted on the 1881 census as a ‘farmer of 187 acres employing 4 men.’ In R.S. Spelling’s book ‘Newenden’, he mentions Hill House and its occupants: ‘It was owned by the Dengate family, and the small building on the left of the house was used in the late 1800s as a gambling den by Mr. Dengate, who would sit and drink and play cards with his friends. There are niches in the walls where they would stand bottles as they gambled for such prizes as a cow, a sheep or even small pieces of land.’
The family continue to reside at Hill House in the 1891 census, with the addition of a servant, Agnes Masters.
Mary Dengate died 4th March 1892, aged 68 years, in Newenden and she was buried five days later in St Peter’s Church. Richard Dengate died 29th September 1893 and was buried with his wife on 3rd October. His will directed that his estate of £244 be given to his daughter, Mary Charlotte Dengate, who continued to live at Hill House for the rest of her life. After her parents’ death Mary Charlotte’s cousin, Miss Emily Skinner moved into Hill House.
Mary Charlotte Dengate, with her mother, Mary Dengate
Lost, a Wether Sheep, between Burwash and Newenden, on the 1st or 2nd April; pitch marked R.D., tivered across the back, and fork in each ear; supposed to be gone away with a drove into Romney Marsh— whoever will give information shall be re- warded accordingly by applying to Richard Dengate, Newenden.
Kentish Express & Ashford News, 22 April 1882