1C21 – Sir John de Denton

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The junior or cadet branch of the Denton family fortunes were originated by Sir John de Denton, son of John (GU21).

Sir John was charged by the Justiciar of Galloway to support him by mounting a foray into Scotland on 9 January 1303. On 20 February 1306 he and three others were charged to levy a combat force of 140 men from Eskdale and Gilsland and bring them to Carlisle from where they would pursue Robert Bruce.

Originally John lived at Nether Denton, but Sir Richard de Denton was awarded Ainstable Manor by King Edward II and he subsequently passed this on to John. In 1343 John founded and built a new home for the family in Thursby and which he named Cardew Hall.

After his brother Richard’s death (1362-3) John inherited the custody of Lochmaben Castle and the lordship of Annandale. In 1368 (and again in 1381) he was appointed knight of the shire and also served as Sheriff of Cumberland in both 1371 and 1374.

Besides his cataloguing of lands and gentry John Denton the historian described an incident involving Sir John when Robert the Bruce undermined and burned the castle he was defending: when Baliol was banished Scotland, he (Sir John) Kept Still ye Principle house, till it was fired under him beaten and undermined ready to fall; whereupon his heirs give now in Remembrance thereof for a Chrest. John’s courage earned him the right to add a crest the Denton coat of arms which shows a golden demi-lion with a silver sword in its paw. This is apparently a Scottish crest.

It was described by the historian as a Castle flaming; wth a Lyon Rampant Issuant, wth a Sword in ye Dexter Paw brandished (dexter meaning right):

Illustration by William Gilpin in his 1687 manuscript, citing John Denton

Below is a somewhat detuned version of the crest. I think I prefer the sketched approach:

Denton coat of arms with crest awarded for the Annandale castle siege


Note it has martlets but has not switched the coloured bars

At Ainstable Church there was a memorial to Sir John which also showed the martlet version of the coat of arms and an illustration of his helmet that resembled the variant crest on the Denton coat of arms (that is pre-Annandale crest). This memorial had been located in the middle of the church but was moved to the west of the graveyard. The inscription on this rubbing is damaged and says Hic facet Johannes de D [e] ntoun, dominus de . . . nstapli, presumably meaning This facet of John Denton then the master of Ainstable. However, at death he was also the lord of the forest of Garnerie and Kirkpatrick and Agingrey (Irongray) in Scotland which he was awarded by Edward Baliol, King of Scots.

Sir John de Denton memorial at Ainstable – no longer extant

Sir John de Denton became the Lord Mayor of Newcastle in 1333, 1336-7 and 1340.

Let’s take a quick tour of some of John’s direct descendants in the Middle Ages.

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

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