Thomas Dengate's signature
Thomas Dengate was baptised in St John the Baptist Church, Wittersham on 21st April 1693. He was the eldest of six children born to Edward and Elysabeth Dengate and he has the claim of being the first Dengate to be baptised in the village of Wittersham (although his name was spelt Dungate on his baptism entry).
Little documentary evidence exists on Thomas and his life, but we do know from various documents that he received some kind of education, as he was able to sign his own name (shown above), something several Dengates were unable to do in the late 1800s.
On 1st June 1721 Thomas Dengate married Mary Martin. In spite of their both originating from Wittersham, they chose to marry in St Margaret’s Church, Canter- bury. The pair’s marriage licence has thankfully survived the last 298 years, being held at Canterbury Cathedral Archives. The marriage licence begins, “Which day personally approved Thomas Dengate of Wittersham in the diocese of Canterbury Blacksmith and a Batchelor aged seven and twenty yeared and alleged that he intends to marry with Mary Martin of the same spinster aged one and twenty yeared...” His occupation of blacksmith is noteworthy, since it is the first documented of any Dengate.
Thomas and Mary Dengate had five children: Sarah, Edward, Thomas, Mary and William, all baptised in St John’s church, Wittersham (all baptised under the surname Dengate).
It is very possible that Wittersham Tree 2 connects with Wittersham Tree 1 at this point, since Mary Dengate died in June 1736, the very same year that Daniel Dengate, who heads Wittersham Tree 2, was born. Could it have been that Mary died of childbirth complications and this is why Daniel was never baptised?
Thomas Dengate's baptism in the Wittersham parish registers
Thomas acted as churchwarden for St Johns and in 1730 presided over a very bizarre case of incest in Wittersham [reproduced as written]: “9th Die July 1730. A form of words to be uttered and spoken by Thomas Randolph and Sarah Randolph of Wittersham in the parish Church there on some Sunday happening before the ninth day of July next ensuing immediately after prayers and before sermon begins being clothed with a white sheet and having a white wand in their hands shall with an audible voice say after the minister as follows viz.
Thomas Dengate died in 1766 at the respectable age of 73. He was buried in St John the Baptist Church, Wittersham on 12 December (under the surname Dengate)
The remains of Thomas Dengate's grave, Wittersham, Kent
(the word Dengate just about visible)
Good Christian People whereas we Thomas Randolph and Sarah Randolph have been convicted before our ordinary and by our own confession of the foul sin of incest to the Great offence of Almighty God breach of his majesty’s laws entail and evil example of others we do now before God and you present confess and acknowledge this our offence and declare ourselves heartily sorry for the same humbly beseeching Almighty God to pardon and forgive this our offence and all that are here by justly offended to be with this our penitent confession satisfied and contented and we do promise by Gods Grace to lead the remainder of our lives more honestly and chastly which God grant we may perform Amen. You must certify of ye performance hereof under the hands of ye minister and churchwardens of Wittersham aforesaid at or before the ninth day of July next if a court day otherwise ye court day then next following.
concordatnun atlis curace – John Sheldon, Reg? Curis?
Richd Thovesby curate