Monday, 6 February 2017

All Saints Church - aconites

Evangeline Brewster Dennis

Wandering through the churchyard this morning, I stopped awhile to admire the aconites blooming near the obelisk memorial to Evangeline Brewster Dennis. It is good to see this fine memorial now the overhanging vegetation has been lopped.

Evangeline Brewster DENNIS, d. 09 Sept 1919
The following information may be of interest:

First Names: Evangeline Brewster
Surname: Armstrong
Given Name: Evangeline Brewster
Sex: F
Birth: 1864 in Rochester, NY
Death: 9 Sep 1919 in Nocton, Lincolnshire Co. England

Source: or Hill Family Genealogy and Wikipedia

Evangeline Brewster was a descendent of Gen. Brewster who sailed on The Mayflower in 1620. There is a stained-glass window commemorating her in All Saints Church, proudly proclaiming her descent from one of the Pilgrim Fathers. It shows the Mayflower sailing westwards, beneath the figures of St Aidan and the Venerable Bede.

Source: All Saints Church, Nocton

Married to: John W Dennis M.P. [Nov 1915, London, England]

First Names: John William
Surname: Dennis
Sex: M
Birth: 16 May 1865
Death: 4 Aug 1949

John was a British politician. He was Mayor of Westminster in 1907-08, when he was described as Liberal Unionist. He was a Conservative Party Member of Parliament (MP) from 1918 to 1922 for the constituency of Birmingham Deritend. He was the first MP to represent the newly created seat.

Source: Wikipedia or LondonWiki

I was left intrigued by Evangeline's particular connection with Nocton and why she is buried alone in our churchyard. This set me off wondering whether this lady was actually connected to the Dennis family from Kirton in Holland, near Boston, who owned Nocton Estate from 1919, before its sale to Mr JH Dennis in 1926.

After a little more research, I found the answer in Volume 1 of 'The Last Years of an Estate Village' (Collected by Sheila Redshaw and compiled by Sue Morris) [ISBN 9781873257807]

John W Dennis was the eldest son of the legendary Messrs William H Dennis & Sons of Kirton in Holland, near Boston, who purchased Nocton Estate in 1919.  All William Dennis's sons were involved in the business and John was in charge of business in London and New York. As stated above, he became Mayor of Westminster as well as being the MP for a Birmingham constituency.

He worked for the Ministry of Food in Whitehall as their Potato Controller during the First World War... and his third wife was Evangeline Brewster from New York, USA. Tragically, less than four years after their marriage, Evangeline died on 9th September 1919 and was buried here in Nocton. It transpires Evangeline had slipped on a banana skin and broken her hip... presumably leading to complications.

The second son, Joseph, assisted John in London, but also worked in Jersey, St Malo and elsewhere in Europe. The third son, Herbert, worked for the business in South Lincolnshire and also managed the Nocton Hall estate from 1919, before purchasing it in 1926. Nicknamed 'Taffy', he was a dedicated countryman, a keen shooting and hunting man. You may remember my earlier blog about his faithful dog 'Don'. The fourth son, Thomas, was a brilliant linguist and spent much time travelling in the service of the potato. He was for many years the Chairman of the Lincolnshire Standard newspaper. The youngest son, Frank, purchased Frampton Hall, near Kirton in Holland, where they had all grown up.

More information about the family and business is contained in the publication mentioned.

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