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Caroline Dengate


Carrie Dengate, 1963

Caroline Dengate (known as Carrie) was born 27 May 1874 in Peasmarsh, East Sussex to Thomas and Frances Dengate. She was baptised 23 August 1874 in St Peter and St Paul's Church, Peasmarsh.

The 1881 Census shows Caroline as a six-year-old living at home with her parents and siblings on Main Street, Peasmarsh, where she spent her childhood.

Caroline started at Peasmarsh School on 16 July 1883, the same day as her sister Ada and cousins Alfred and Matilda Dengate. She left the school on 9 August 1886, aged 12 years. Soon after this time she moved to Icklesham, East Sussex, where she worked as a general servant for the Elliott family. She was recorded here, aged 16 on the 1891 census.

Ten years later Caroline was living in Lawford, Essex and working as a Salvation Army Officer. Her future husband, William Henry Skinner was also a Salvation Army Officer, and it is likely that they met through their involvement with the Salvation Army. Carrie attended the Rye Corps (the nearest to Peasmarsh) of the Salvation Army before leaving in 1897 to become an officer.

Carrie married William Henry Skinner on 20 September 1905 in St Paul's Church, Malta. An announcement, which appeared in the Salvation Army paper, The War Cry, stated:

'Captain William Henry Skinner, who came out from [become an officer from] Clapton on November 21st 1899, and is now stationed at the N and M Home [Naval and Military] at Malta, to Lieutenant Caroline Dengate, who came out from Rye in 1897, and who was last stationed at Grand Rocque, Jersey on September 30th, at Malta'.

William and Carrie's first child, Victor Albert Thomas Skinner was born 2 December 1906 at the Old Post Office in Peasmarsh, where William was recorded as a Salvation Army Officer.

Around 1910, William Henry and Carrie left the Salvation Army and William became a Congregational Church minister. He and Carrie moved to the north of England, where they moved from church to church. The couple had a further four children; Ruby Kathleen, Bernard William, Ivy Frances and Myrtle. Both Victor and Myrtle died in childhood.

Her granddaughters say that, "Carrie had a soft gentle voice and manner, she played the piano, loved pork pies and liked visiting her husband's parishioners. Her husband, William Henry, was a stern man who had various ministries around England. He was a diabetic and had an amputation - Carrie waited on him hand and foot."

Carrie kept in regular contact with her sister Hannah Dengate and the pair met up often. She would have seen her other brothers and sisters rarely, since they all moved out of their parents’ farm in Peasmarsh in the 1880s and 1890s, although the siblings did all get together in Hastings in 1939. More information about this reunion can be found here.

After the war, when food was hard to come by, Caroline would skin rabbits or pluck hens very skilfully, evidently something she learnt to do back in her days at the Peasmarsh farm.

William Henry's last position as minister was with the Congregational Church at Kirkby Stephen, Yorkshire. He retired around 1947 and he and Carrie returned to Flockton. William had become a diabetic and around this time had his leg amputated. William Henry Skinner died 14 February 1954 at Flockton, Yorkshire.

Carrie Skinner went on to celebrate her 90th birthday in 1964, which the local paper reported: ‘On Wednesday last week Mrs Caroline Skinner, of 242 Burnsley Road, Flockton, reached her 90th birthday and a special party was given in the Zion Congregational Sunday School by the Women’s Guild. Mrs Skinner is well for her age and she cut the cake at her birthday party. Born in the village of Peasmarsh in Sussex, Mrs Skinner is the widow of the late Rev. W. Skinner, whom she married in Malta when Mr Skinner was serving as Chaplain to the forces at the base. The Reverend and Mrs Skinner came to Flockton in 1932 on Mr Skinner’s appointment as minister of the Zion Congregational Church, where he stayed until his retirement. Mrs Skinner has been a widow for ten years. She attends the Zion Chapel twice every Sunday an is the oldest member of the Darby and Joan Club. She received a total of 62 telegrams and greeting cards with flowers from her many friends.’

Carrie died aged 92 years on 27 September 1966 at Flockton, Yorkshire and was buried with her husband.

St Peter & St Paul's Church, Peasmarsh (2020)
William Henry Skinner
William Henry and Carrie Skinner in later life
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