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David Dengate

Sexton of Rye, East Sussex

David Dengate was baptised 29 May 1825, In St Mary the Virgin Church, Rye, son of James and Frances Dengate. He spent his early years living in Rye, close to the church where his father worked as sexton, a job David undertook following his father's death in 1833.

The 1841 census shows fifteen year-old David living in Church Street, Rye with his widowed mother and two of his sisters Harriet and Catherine Tamsett Dengate. In 1851 David continues to live in Church Street, Rye with his mother and sister Catherine. His mother is recorded as a sextoness, while David's occupation is listed as gardener.

Aged 30, David married Eliza Parks on 25 June 1855 in St Mary the Virgin Church, Rye. His occupation was recorded as sexton. Witnesses to the marriage were William Durrant Clerk, Emily Parks, Wiythers? Clark? and David's youngest sister, Catherine Tamsett Dengate. David and Eliza had eight children: David James, Catherine Emily, Samuel Robert, Eliza Eleanor, Frances Elizabeth, Albert Roland, William Edward and Caroline Jane Dengate - all baptised in St Mary the Virgin Church.

The 1861 census shows David, Eliza, three of their children and his sister Catherine Tamsett Dengate living at 3 Church Square, where David was once again recorded as the church sexton. The family continue to reside at 3 Church Square at the time of the 1871 census.

Eliza Dengate died in August 1873 and was buried 12 August 1873 in Rye Cemetery, East Sussex. No headstone or marked grave 

exists for her.

Sometime between Eliza's death in 1873 and 1881, David moved to Folkestone with his children Catherine, Albert Roland, William Edward and Caroline Jane, where he worked as a fish salesman. The census shows the family living at 27 Sidney Street, Folkestone.

By the time of the 1901 census David is living in Birchington, Kent with his son Albert Roland and his family.

David died 3 November 1913 in Birchington, Kent aged 89 years. He was buried in All Saints Church, Birchington on the 6 November 1913. His grandson, William Henry Dengate and daughter, Caroline Jane Dengate were later buried with him.

The grave inscription, which is fast-fading reads: 'In/Loving M emory/of/Our dear father/David Dengate/Who died Nov 3rd 1913/Aged 89 years/Also of William Henry Dengate/Grandson of the above/Died July 15th 1926 aged 22 years/He giveth his beloved sleep/Also Caroline Jane Dengate/Daughter of the above/Died Sept 24th 1930 aged 58 years.'


The Dengate family home on Church Street, Rye

The view over Rye from the tower of St Mary's Church

David Dengate's grave in Birchington, Kent
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