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George Major Dengate


George Major Dengate

George Major Dengate was baptised 29 July 1877 in Church-in-the-Wood, Hollington, the eldest child of George and Jane Dengate (nee Major—hence George’s middle name). George and Jane had three further children: Albert Edward (1880-1934), Cecil Walter (1887-1965) and James Ernest Dengate (1890-1918). 

The family lived for a time in Hollington where George worked as a bricklayer. The 1891 census shows the family living at 33 Paynton Road, St Leonards on Sea. George’s occupation was listed as a corn dealer. According to Jane Dengate’s granddaughter, Florence Jane Dengate, she was a local business woman who always ran some kind of sweets or newspaper shop while someone came in to look after the four boys. Jane’s granddaughter describes her as ‘prim and proper.’

Ten years later and the family were living at 35 Paynton Road which is also described as 'a grocer’s shop'. George was then working as a ‘general jobbing hand.’


At the age of 20 George Major Dengate married eighteen-year-old Amy Banister on 2nd August 1897 in Church-in-the-Wood, Hollington. George Major was working at that time as a gardener in Hollington. Soon after marriage George Major and Amy Dengate moved to 345 Battle Road, where Amy bore five children: Cecil Walter (1898-1965), Charles (1898-1901), George Major (1902-1926), William Ernest (1906-1969) and Florence Jane Dengate (b.1915).


Although George was working as a gardener he also had his own small holding in rough ground off of Harrow Lane and he would take his produce to Battle market on his pony and cart. One day his pony was stolen and George Major was forced to sell his pony for the money. His daughter, Florence, later overheard a group of gypsies talking about having stolen her father’s pony. They eventually had the pony returned but she was pregnant and no longer of any use to George without his cart. Florence describes her father a ‘dearest, lovely man.’

George and Amy’s son, Cecil Walter went off to fight in the First World War with the 9th Lancers but was hit by a sniper in the eye. He survived his injuries and was sent back home to recover. Another of their sons, George Major (Jnr) joined the army after the war had ended and spent a year in Singapore. Within a year of his return to he had died of appendicitis, aged 27 years. He was buried in Church-in-the-Wood on 22 April 1926.

In 1924 George Major had became church cleaner at Church-in-the-Wood, a role which he gave an increasing amount of work and dedication to, notably after 1943 when he undertook the role of church caretaker.

Amy Dengate died 21 September 1945 in Hollington and was buried five days later at Church-in-the- Wood.


Three years following Amy's death, George Major married Annie Norman, a 66 year old widow.

George Major Dengate died in December 1955 and was buried with his first wife and son in Church-in-the- Wood on 31 December.

Church in the Wood, Hollington
George Major Dengate, his wife Amy and their youngest child Florence Jane Dengate, c.1916
George Dengate, Jane Dengate, George Major Dengate (right) and Albert Edward Dengate (left)
George Major and Amy Dengate's grave
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