The Stephenson and Denton Families of Withernwick

(Most of the information below is thanks to Enid Thompson)

Many of the people who lived in Withernwick in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries would have been farm workers of various descriptions but there would have been a few who worked in what we would now call services. The Denton's were one such family as, for example, a Samuel Denton is recorded in Baines' directory of 1823 as a surgeon - click here. This would have been a rare profession in those days and it might require a great deal of imagination to visualise what his day to day job would have been in Withernwick; we can only guess at the diseases and accidents he would have had to deal with and the equipment and techniques he had available to him. This must have been Samuel Best Denton the son of Samuel Denton, also a surgeon of Withernwick, this Samuel died in 1818 aged 58 (so he was born in 1760).  Samuel senior's memorial tablet in St Alban's church is a clear testament to the prominance of the Denton family in the

village at that time. Obviously this is all from before the 1841 census and so here are some of the Denton family details. Click on the photo to see a larger version

Samuel Denton (snr) married Betty Stephenson in June 1789 in St Alban's, Withernwick.

Betty was the daughter of Robert Stephenson, she was born in Withernwick and was christened on 31st July 1768. Robert seems to have been a fairly colourful character. In 1754, along with Thomas Pattinson and Robert Cooke, Robert Stephenson is listed as licensed to sell ale, he is also listed as a butcher! But then in 1755 one Robert Stepenson, yeoman, was found guilty of selling ale without a licence and then again he is noted as a butcher of Withernwick and being guilty of keeping unlicensed premises. Maybe he had settled down to married life a little by the time Betty was born. I'm sure Withernwick was not short of characters at this time and so it is interesting to have this little snippet of one of them.

Anyway, back to the Denton's. Samuel and Betty had two children;

John (baptised 15th Aug 1790) and Mary (baptised 22nd July 1792)
It then seems that about 1793 that Betty died and Samuel remarried to an Eva Smith. Eva was baptised on 16th Jan 1763 in Wales, a small town in South Yorkshire near Rotherham, she was the daughter of a George Smith. Samuel and Eva had three more children:
Susannah (baptised 8th Nov 1795), Samuel (Best) (baptised 11th May 1797) and William Smith (baptised 20th Jan 1799).
Eva died in 1848 aged 85 and is also recorded on the above memorial tablet, although by this time she was living in Eastgate, Hornsea with her son, Samuel Best and his (second) wife Maria. He had obviously moved his practice from Withernwick to there at some point. Samuel's first wife was called Ann Elizabeth (nee Elliot) who had died in 1822, we can only guess that they had not been married long before her death, which may well have been in childbirth.

William Smith Denton (b 1799) is another colourful character who showed that the Denton family were somewhat more ambitious and adventurous than the average villager back in those days. William went on the become a pioneer railway engineer, click here to read more about him.

Obviously we are describing a period here before photographs and so we can only imagine what the lives of the people above were actually like. But clearly the Dentons and the Stephensons were colourful and interesting characters. It would be great to know, for example, where they lived, we might guess that the Dentons lived in a significant house, but I guess we will never know.

Click here for census details of the Denton family by the time they had moved to Eastgate, Hornsea.

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