In the late 19th c a shepherd discovered a rock carving above High Grains, close to what was thought to be an ancient burial mound and thought it similar to ones at Bewcastle. There was an inscription ‘Bara wrote in memory of Gilles Bueth who was slain in truce by Robert de Vaulks. For his patrimony now called Llanerkasta‘.
This appeared to support a legend from the early 12th century. Ranulph le Meschin had given the lands of Gilsland to his brother William who lost them to Gilles son of Bueth of Bewcastle. However, when Henry II came to the throne he awarded these lands to Hubert de Vallibus (or Vaux). When they were passed on to his son Robert he was in dispute with Gilles. Robert arranged a meeting suggesting he wished to bring things to a peaceful end. However, Robert killed Gilles at that meeting. Subsequently remorseful he founded the priory of Lanercost as his penance. But this tale is disputed by some sources.
In fact it appears more likely that hostilities between the Bueths and Vauxs was halted by the marriage of Bueth-barn’s daughter Sigreda (or Sirith) to Eustace de Vaux. Certainly the de Vauxs permitted the Bueths back onto the land as subtenants, even though they apparently remained troublesome.
John Denton the Historian‘s account is interesting, providing an alternate definition of ‘Denton’:
The place in Gilsland where Denton stands is a great deep valley. The Irish call ” deep ” in their language Dgen. Upon that Irish word the place was called by the Saxons Dsein and upon the first habitations there Daein-town [hence Denton].
There are two Dentons there. Over Denton which is in Northumberland [Cumbria today] now the Withrington’s lands and stands beyond the great Bottom ; and Nether Denton in Cumberland late the
Dakers [Dacre’s] lands in the Low. Both of them are parcel of the barony of Gilsland.
The first possessor that I read of was one Wescop, to whom Hubert de Vallibus [de Vaux] Lord of Gilsland gave Denton in or about Hen 2 [Henry Second’s] time, Wescope gave it to one Gilles Bueth or Bueth’s Barnt (otherwise that Gillesbueth and Bueth Barn was but one person). He had issue Robert son of Bueth, who died without issue. His sisters were married to Addock, Lord of Bothcastre [Bewcastle] and to Eustace Vaux Lord of Hayton in Gilsland ; the one had Over Denton and the other had Nether Denton.
Today, Upper, or Over, Denton is easy to miss but I applied the Tameside/Denton motto of Persevere to find it, enabling me to take these two shots that sum up just how small the place is today.
So at least I was able to trace some actual robber baron Dentons in the form of these rather aggressive Cumberland ancestors who had appropriated the land and resources of old Roman forts along Hadrian’s Wall prior to and after the Norman Conquest.
One of their descendants Robert son of Bueth was recorded as guilty of rebellion, though he was let off with a fine. However, when he died without issue Gilsland had to be distributed between his two sisters.
Both sisters married rather well;
- Eda, who inherited Over Denton and Lanerton, married Adcock, the Lord of Bewcastle;
- Sigreda [GGM 22] (though reported by some as Alice or Sirith) inherited Nether Denton, and married Eustace de Vaux, aka Eustace de Vallibus. Eustace was Lord of Castle Carrock and Hayton (both situated near Carlisle). These had been awarded to him for his service to Henry II in his dispute over the crown with Stephen.
But it was Sigreda’s second husband that would resurrect the ‘de Denton’ name.
|de Vaux family:|
Robert and Aitard de Vaux followed in the retinue of Roger Bigod during William of Normandy’s invasion of England. The De Vaux family was given land after their service in the battle of Hastings. Robert and Aitard obtained lands in Norfolk. Hubert de Vaux obtained the barony of Gilsland, in Cumbria and Northumberland. Ranulf de Vaux obtained the lordships of Tryermayne, Sowerby, Carlatton and Hubbertby, in Cumbria. Robert de Vaux received the Barony of Dalston in Cumbria, however he soon returned to Normandy.
De Vaux of Hayton coat of arms, family branch descended from Eustace de Vaux.
The Barony of Gillesland has since that time descended from ancestor to heir, in unbroken series,
through the successive noble families of De Vallibus/Vaux, Multon, Dacre, and Howard,
down to its present possessor the Earl of Carlisle.
|Note on shorthand acronyms being used in the DFB:|
– GGF1 / GGM1 – means first great-grandfather /mother;
– GU11 / GA11 – means eleventh great-uncle / great-aunt;
– 1C3 – means first cousin three times removed