Denny, Sir Anthony

, knt. one of the gentlemen of the privy chamber to king Henry VIII., was the second son of Thomas Denny, of Cheshunt, in the county of Hertford, esq. by Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Mannock. He had his education in St. Paul’s school, London, under the celebrated grammarian Lilly; and afterwards in St. John’s college, Cambridge; in both which places | he so improved himself, that he became an excellent scholar, as well as a person of great worth. His merit having made him known at court, he was constituted by Henry VIII. one of the gentlemen of the bed-chamber, groom of the stole, and a privy counsellor; and likewise received the honour of knighthood from that prince; with whom being in great favour,*


At the sale of the earl of Aran’s curiosities in 1739, the gloves given by Henry VIII. to sir Anthony, were 8ld for 38l. 17s.; the gloves given by K. James I. to his son Edward Denny, csq. for 22l. Is.; and the mittens given by queen Elizabeth to sir Edward Denny’s lady, for 2o/. 4.?. All these were purchased for sir Thomas Denny, of Ireland, a lineal descendant.

he raised a considerable estate on the ruins of the dissolved monasteries. In 1537, Henry gave him the priory of Hertford, together with divers other lands and manors; and in 1539, Dec. 15, the office of steward of the manor of Bedwell and Little Berkhamstead, in Herts; besides which sir Anthony also obtained the manor of Buttenvick, in the parish of St. Peter in St. Alban’s, the manors of the rectory and of the nunnery, in the parish of Cheshunt; and of Great Amwell, all in the county of Hertford. In 1541, there was a large grant made to him by act of parliament, of several lands that had belonged to the abbey of St. Alban’s, lately dissolved; and not content with all this, he found means to procure a thirty-one years’ lease of the many large and rich demesnes that had been possessed by Waltham-abbey, in Essex; of which his lady purchased aftenvards the reversion. In 1544 the king gave him the advantageous wardship of Margaret, the only daughter and heir of Thomas lord Audley, deceased. On the 31st of August, 1546, he was commissioned, with John Gate and William Clerk, esquires, to sign all warrants in the king’s name. Though somewhat rapacious, he was liberal; in this reign he did eminent service to the great school of Sedberg in Yorkshire, belonging to the college wherein he had received his education; the building being fallen to decay, and the lands appropriated thereto sold and embezzled, he caused the school to be repaired, and not only recovered, but also settled the estate so firmly, as to prevent all future alienations. He was also a more faithful servant than his brother courtiers, for when Henry VIII. was on his death-bed, he had the courage to put him in mind of his approaching end, and desired him to raise his thoughts to heaven, to think of his past life, and to call on God for mercy through | Jesus Christ. So great an opinion had that capricious monarch of him, that he appointed him one of the executors of his will, and one of the counsellors to his son and successor Edward VI. and hequeathed him a legacy of 300l. He did not live long after this; for he died in 1.550. By his wife Joan, daughter of sir Philip Champeruon, of Modbury, in Devonshire, a lady of great beauty and parts, he had six children; of whom, Henry, the eldest, was father of Edward Denny, knighted in 1589, summoned to parliament in 1605, and advanced Oct. 24, 1626, to the dignity of earl of Norwich. Of sir Anthony Denny’s personal character, one of his contemporaries informs us, that his whole time and cares were employed about religion, learning, and the care of the public, and has highly commended him for his prudence and humanity. He was the early friend and patron of Matthew Parker, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury. The learned Henry Howard, earl of Surrey, wrote an excellent epitaph for him some years before his decease; tfnd sir John Cheke, who had a great esteem for him, honoured his memory with an elegant heroic poem. 1

Biog. Brit. Knight’s. Life of Colet, p. 392. —Strype’s Life of Parker, p. 2J. Annual Register for 1759, p. 81.