The Founder's Kin.

As preference has to be given to candidates for the Charity who are akin to the Founder on his father's or his mother's side, a genealogical record has to be kept, that kinship may be authenticated. On his father's side, his race in Notts, ended with himself. On the side of his mother, Barbara Denman, co-lateral branches still exist, and one, James Denman, is now a Hospital Brother, aged 81.

The Dane-men, or Denmans, are a most ancient Retford family, and have retained much of the ability and acquisi­tiveness of their Viking ancestors. They had a house in "Newgate," now Grove Street, in the reign of Phillip and Mary, for in the Court Rolls of this ancient Borough in 1554, is a record, viz.:—


East  Retford.



Item. —Mr. Denman for his goit (gutter or drain) not cleaned out on y est syde of hys cloyse, butty-ing on ye greene at  Newgattes town's ende ij. (2d.)
  Ffor the encroaching att y est end of hys howse; put to abyde ye order of Mr. Baylyffs and ye Councell " "
Item. —For hys goyte not fayed out on y northe syde of hys cloyse att Newgate Town end ij. (2d.)


Ffor incrochyng wh hys pale, on y est syde of hys howse; and on ye hie-ways iiij. (84)


Ffor hys goyte not ffayed agayns y more ij. (2d.)


(N.B.The pennies were then silver coins.)



Piercy makes a note—"1849: no one is now living who can recollect the old houses in New-gate (Grove Street), except as regards one house (Denman's) which stood about midway between Amcott House (which was the Wharton's : rebuilt by Sir Wharton Amcott) and Newgate Bridge, which house was demolished in 1816; but I was assured by several inhabitants that this house was the birthplace of Queen Anne . . . .  I discovered that this had originated from this house having been the residence of part of the Denman family, from whom that illustrious Princess sprang: a cham­ber was shewn, traditionally reported to have been Queen Anne's bedroom: probably that Queen's great-grandmother was born here (before the Denman's removed to West Retford). A number can well recollect it: the room was large, and particularly large was the old hall or kitchen."

There, in 1392, 15th year of King Richard II., lived William Denman (Hospital records), of West Retford, Armiger (Esquire), who had an only son, John (of Tinslowe or Tinsley, see ante, page 8), who had one son, Thomas Denman, from whom descended John Denman, of East Retforde, who died in 1517, was interred in East Retford Church with flat stone (now gone)—

"Hic Jacet Johannes Denman, Armiger, qui obiit 16 Nov., 1517, cajus anima proprietur deus.—Amen."

His son (inter alia) John, had a son, Nicholas, afterwards of West Retford, who was born about 1487 (tempo Henry VII.), and married (firstly) Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Eyre, of Holme, by whom he had one son—Ralph or Rauf —who married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Wentworth, of Wentworth Woodhouse, and died 1561; leaving a son, Nicholas, and apparently others, because his father, Nicholas, (who died 1561), devised by Will "to every one of my son Rauf's younger children, 33/4d."

The above Nicholas, senior, married twice, his second wife was Anne, seventh daughter of Humphrey Hercy, Esq., of Grove, and sister of Sir John (last of the Hercys), who brought unto him the Manor of West Retford, now Trinity Hospital Estate.

The above Nicholas and Anne had issue—the Rev. Wm. Denman, Rector of Ordsall, who died without issue A.D. 1568. On his stone was:—

"Filius Armiger, mihi mater militis hceres, nomine sum Denman arte-magistereram pastorem Ordsaliae mariae regnante remotum restituit Princeps Elizabetha gregi continuo et feci, &c, &c."

Translation.—My father was a squire, my mother was a Knight's daughter, my name is Denman; by profession I was a Master of Arts; in reign of Queen Mary I was ejected from ministry in Ordsall, Queen Elizabeth restored me to my flock; I continued and have discharged it; Retford would reap the fruit if I persevere, if anyone desirous of religion. Ordsall witnesses I have erected houses for the poor. At length, being dead, I lie under this heap—Dead! Ah! Mistake!—I live a blessed life; the earth has my carcass; my Spirit inhabits Heaven.

And also Francis, Thomas, and Edmund, as before stated on page 9.

We now return to the original line of William Denman, Armiger (living 1392), John (died 14—), Thomas (died 1483), John (died 15—), and John (1517), whose son Richard died in 1557, was buried at Ordsall, and left a legacy to the "Highe Aulter of the Church," and whose (second) son, Alexander, was buried in 1609 at East Retford; whose youngest son was Thomas, born 1587, was Alderman of Retford, and died  1663; he left a son, Obediah, born 1621, died 1672, and was buried at East Retford; and among other children he had Thomas Denman, of Retford, who married and afterwards lived at Bevercotes from about 1692, and was land steward to the Earl of Clare, afterwards Duke of Newcastle; he lived to be over 90 years of age, and was the direct ancestor of the Derbyshire family, of which the head is Lord Denman, of Dovedale; and of the Retford branch now represented by Thomas Hercy Denman, Esq. He married Anne Nicholson, of West Retford, 1688, and left six children, of whom his sons, John and Joseph, founded the two lines which we will designate as the Derbyshire Branch and the Retford (Bevercotes) Branch.

The Derbyshire Branch.

Of John, who became an eminent apothacary of Bake­well, Co. Derby, who had two sons; (1) Joseph, M.D., of Bakewell, and afterwards of Buxton, died A.D. 1812, age 82— no issue. (2) Thomas, M.D., of Mount Street, Grosvenor Square, London, born 1733; entered Royal Navy in 1754 as Surgeon; Surgeon to the Royal Yacht to 1770; appointed "Man Midwife" to Middlesex Hospital; was author of valuable Medical Works; he married Elizabeth Brodie (Aunt of Sir Ben. Brodie, M.D.), and had one son, Thomas, born July 23rd, 1779, who was born in Queen Street, Golden Square, London, now called after him "Denman Street"; educated by the Poetess, Mrs. Barbauld, then at Eton, and St. John's College, Cambridge; called to the Bar 1806; was Solicitor General to Queen Caroline at trial 1820-1 ; Common Sergeant of the City of London 1822; Attorney General to King William IV. 1830-32; Lord Chief Justice of England 1832 to 1850; was created Baron Denman of Dovedale, Co. Derby, in 1834; and he married in 1804, Theodosia Anne, daughter of Rev. Richard Vevers, Rector of Saxby, Leicestershire, and grand-daughter of Sir Edmund Anderson, Bart., of Lea, Gainsborough, by whom he had industries, and not by articles "made in Germany." One of the sons of the above Charles Denman, the weaver, is now a Trinity Hospital Brother, age 81; another is Mr. Charles Denman, of Spa Common, who has been organist at Babworth, Gamston, and Eaton Churches for over 47 years; while other sons followed the cotton industry to Barnsley, and they and their descendants still live there.

Another Denman Branch exists at Saxilby and Torksey, in Lincolnshire, all "Founder's Kin," and several others in Notts.

1535.—Thomas Denman, Gentylmane, Richard Denmane (and two others), made complaint in the Star Chamber (tempo Henry VIII.) against Sir Roberte Nevyll, Clark, Parson of Ordsal, and Sir Edmund Webster, Chaplen and Parysshe Pryste of the same towne of Ordsal, that they had been "at the ffeste of pace, or ressurection off oure Lorde fefused the blessyd sacramente unless they would pay Peterpens to the Bysshoppe of Rome, &c, &c." The answeare of Sir Roberte Nevyll was—"The said bill of compleynt is craftyly and untruly seyned and imagined, &c. &c. — and that at the feaste of Eastre there was demanded only such lawfull profitt as appertaineth unto hys Parsonage of Ordsal: he prayed to be discharged from this suit." (No conviction recorded.)

1652.—The Rev. Marmaduke Moore, Vicar of Ordsal in 1652, during the Commonwealth, had his estate forfeited for treason, and was sequestrated from his benefice "for the heinous and damnable offence of playing at cards, three several times, with his own wife."

A.D. 1267, King Henry III.—Time of the Hercys, of Grove and West Retford. (On a vacancy in the living ot West Retford.)

Inquisition, 1267 (Torre's MS., York), re right of patronage to the mediety of the Church of West Retford, then vacant by death of Rob de Bugethame, of Weston, from the Saturday next after ye Feast of our Ladies Nativity, Hugh de Hercy, patron, being a minor. Ye Competitors—

1.—Galfried de St. Medardo, who presented Robertus de Sunfield, Clerk.

2.—Henry, King of ye Romans, who presented John de Dorset.

3.—Ye Archbishop of York, who, by reason of lapse, collated John de Benyngworth.

4.—Robertus de Mortayn, who presented Roger de Reddyngs.

5.—Prince Edward, by reason of ye Wardenship of Hugh de Hercy, a minor, who presented Thomas Fitz-Simon.

(The Archbishops claim was confirmed.)

At first there were two Rectors of West Retford. Afterwards the two medieties of this Church were con­solidated, on December 13th, 1307, under one Rector.

In Conclusion

Near three centuries have elapsed since the birth of the greatest benefactor the town of Retford has ever had, and no public memorial has yet been erected to his memory. Before 1921, the tri-centenary of his birth in 1621, the opportunity may occur—an appropriate site already exists. Entering the town from the Retford Station, by the new Victoria Road, a visitor, at its entrance into Albert Boad, exactly faces the new Municipal Public Baths, erected through the persistent advocacy of the late Ald. Denman. The end panel of the architecture faces up to the Station, and its naked plainness suggests adornment. There, on their own property, is a site where the long-delayed memorial of gratitude to such a benefactor might find a place. In the near future some "abstaining" Mayor who consciously objects to feasting his Corporation on champagne, might instead, thereof, here refresh the weary wayfarers with a drink of pure water gushing from a fountain. Above it, the Corporate body of the grateful and enlightened future, could place a " Busto"—copied from the ancestral Darrel monu­ment in the cloisters of Chichester Cathedral—flanked by columns supporting a pediment above it, and with an inscription on a marble slab below:—

John Darrel, B.A. and M.D.,
Born 1621. Died 1665.
A Great Benefactor to this Ancient Borough.
Founder of the Trinity Hospital in West Retford, and of a
Scholarship at Oxford for Poor Scholars of Nottinghamshire and
Lincolnshire; and, through his Trustees,
Donor, to this Town, of this Victoria Road.
Erected A.D. 1921. Obadiah Drinkwater, Mayor. Sapius Uptodate,  Town Clerk.