Denne, John

, D. D. an eminent divine and antiquary, descended from a family of good note in the county of Kent, was the eldest son of John Denne, gent, who had the place of woodreve to the see of Canterbury, by a patent for life from archbishop Tenison. He was born at Littlebourne, May 25, 1693, and brought up in the freeschools of Sandwich and Canterbury. He went thence to Cambridge, and was admitted of Corpus Christi college, under the tuition of Mr. Robert Dannye, Feb. 25, 1708; and was afterwards a scholar of the house upon archbishop Parker’s foundation. He proceeded B. A. in 1712; M. A. in 1716; and was elected fellow April 20, in the same year. Soon after, he took upon him the office of tutor, jointly with Mr. Thomas Herring, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury; and was ordained deacon on Trinity Sunday 1716, by bishop Trimnell; and priest Sept. 21, 1718. Not long afterwards he was nominated by the college to the perpetual cure of St. Benedict’s church, in Cambridge; whence he was preferred in 1721, to the rectory of Norton-Davy, alias Green’s Norton, in Northamptonshire, upon a presentation from the king; but this he exchanged, Sept. 30, 1723, for the vicarage of St. Leonard, Shoreditch, in London. In 1725 he was appointed preacher of Mr. Boyle’s lecture, and continued so for three years. His next promotion, immediately after taking the degree of D. D. was to the archdeaconry of Rochester, with the prebend annexed, being collated thereto July 22, 1728, by bishop Bradford, to whom he had been domestic chaplain for many years, and whose youngest daughter Susanna he married in 1724. He was instituted July 24, 1729, to the vicarage of St. Margaret’s, Rochester, but this he resigned, on taking possession of the rectory of Lambeth, Nov. 27, 1731, through the patronage of archbishop Wake. He died August 5, 1767, and was buried in the south transept of Rochester cathedral. His widow survived him upwards of thirteen years, dying on the 3d of December, 1780.

The historian of his college says very justly, that whether | Dr. Denne is to be considered as the minister of a parish, or as a governor in the church, he never failed, by an uncommon degree of application, to acquit himself with credit in each station. His abilities as a scholar and divine maybe estimated from his printed sermons, amounting to sixteen, preached on occasional subjects; a “Concio ad Clerum,174-5; “Articlesof inquiry for a parochial Visitation,1732; “The State of Bromley College, in Kent” and “A Register of Benefactions to the parish of Shoreditch,” drawn up in 1745, with notes, but not printed till 1772, 4to. His assiduityand usefulness in promoting what he conceived to be for the interest and credit of this parish, were conspicuous, in his successful researches after the benefactions, and the application of them 5 in the business of rebuilding the church from its origin to the completion; and in establishing upon the present plan the vegetable lecture* founded by Mr. Faircliild.

Dr. Denne was yet more frequently useful by his researches as an antiquary, and the valuable assistance he contributed to many eminent antiquaries in the publication of their works. At the time of his becoming a member of the chapter of Rochester, not a few of its muniments and papers were in much confusion; these he digested, and by that means rendered the management of the affairs of the dean and chapter easy to his contemporaries and their successors. He was particularly conversant in English ecclesiastical history; and this employment afforded him an opportunity of extending his knowledge to many points not commonly accessible. His attention to such matters began at a very early period; whilst a fellow of Corpus Christi college, he transmitted to Mr. Lewis, from M8S. in the libraries of the university of Cambridge, many useful materials for his “Life of Wicliff,” and when that learned divine was afterwards engaged in drawing up his “History of the Isle of Thanet,” he applied to Mr. Denne for such information as could be collected from archbishop Parker’s Mss. in his college. He also collated Hearne’s edition of the “Textus Rorfensis,” with the original at Rochester,


This lecture was founded by Mr. Thomas Fairchild, a gardener, who bequeathed a sum of money for a sermon on Whitsun Tuesday, to be preached on “The wonderful works of God in the Creation,” or “On the Certainty of the Resurrection of the Dead, proved by the certain changes of the animal and regrtable parts of the creation.” Among the preachers’ names, we find those of Dr. Denne, Dr. Stukeley, rev. AnselmBayley, rev. Dr. Henry Owen, rev. Dr. Morell, and the rev. William Jones of Nayland.

| and transcribed the marginal additions by I ambarde, Bering, e. carefully referred to the other Mss. that contain these instruments, as Reg. Temp. Ruff, and the Cotton library, with all which he furnished the late venerable Dr. Pegge. It was evidently his intention to have written a history of the church of Rochester, and his reading and inquiry were directed to that object, which, however, he delayed until his health would not permit the necessary labour of transcription and arrangement. 1

Masters’s Hist of C. C. C. C, Ellis’s Hist, of Shoreditch. Nichols’s Bowyer.