The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex
Alexander Dence, of Dence's Free School, son of Richard Dence and Mrs Dence Printer friendly version

Alexander Dence was born circa 1520 the eldest son of Richard Dence of Cranbrook. Little is known of Alexander's life other than that he created in 1567 a school for the children of Cranbrook in a house next to St Dunstan's Church. In 1573 he made a memorable will of some 40 pages - "I will, give and bequeath unto the School-house, of my building, in the Church-yard, all my tenements and lands … " so that all the poor children of Cranbrook parish should receive their education free of any charge. This bequest after Alexander's death on 22nd January 1574 ran into difficulties and disputes with his executor Alexander Weller and his family which was not resolved untill an arbitration award in 1605. The school survived for the next three hundred years under various names - Dence's Free School, the English Free School and the English Writing School - and more than fulfilled the ambition that Alexander had in 1568.

Alexander Dence is buried in St Dunstan's Church and the school house - now called Church House - has a plaque in his memory


See also Historical Account of Dence's School and Schoolmasters from 1568 to 1865 by William Tarbutt published in 1866 and School Inquiry Commision by Mr. Elton published 1868.
Date Type Information Source
 
c 1520BornDence's School
Estimated date
 
c 1560Married.....Estimated date
 
1568HistoryAt Dence Free School in the Parish of Cranbrook, KentDence's School
 It is to be remembered, that the new house in the Church-yard, was built by Alexander Dence, for the commodity of the parish of Cranbrook, for children to be taught in it, and is builded by the assent of the parish upon the parish ground, and the Schoolmaster shall pay to the parish for the acknowledging of the same house, 4d.
 
28th May 1573MarriedMargaret Cheynie at St Dunstan's Church in the Parish of Cranbrook, KentIGI - Family Search
 
14th Sep 1573WillDence's School
 
22nd Jan 1574DiedIn the Parish of Cranbrook, KentDence's School
 
after 22nd Jan 1574BuriedAt St Dunstan's Church in the Parish of Cranbrook, KentDence's School
 
Ancestor's report
No descendent's report
Dence individual records
  
The ancestral pedigree of Alexander Dence, of Dence's Free School
 
  
 Richard Dencem: c 1520Mrs 
 b: c 1500
d: 1561
  b: c 1500
  
      
 Alexander Gervase Joan Elizabeth Alice 
 b: c 1520
d: 22nd Jan 1574 Cranbrook, Kent
bur: after 22nd Jan 1574 St Dunstan's Church, Cranbrook, Kent
 b: c 1520
d: 1543 Cranbrook, Kent
 b: c 1520 b: c 1520 b: c 1520 
                
Parental record
   
   
 
   
1st marriage Alexander Dence
of Dence's Free School
m: c 1560Mrs 
 b: c 1520
d: 22nd Jan 1574 Cranbrook, Kent
bur: after 22nd Jan 1574 St Dunstan's Church, Cranbrook, Kent
 b: c 1535
Family record
 
   
2nd marriage Alexander Dence
of Dence's Free School
m: 28th May 1573 St Dunstan's Church, Cranbrook, KentMargaret Cheynie 
 b: c 1520
d: 22nd Jan 1574 Cranbrook, Kent
bur: after 22nd Jan 1574 St Dunstan's Church, Cranbrook, Kent
 b: c 1535
 
 

The Weald is at  Database version 10.8 which has ongoing updates to the 372,868 people; 9,000 places; 613 maps; 3,136 pictures, engravings and photographs; and 240 books loaded in the previous version

Fasthosts web site  
ODNB  
British Libarary  
High Weald  
Sussex Family History Group  
Sussex Record Society  
Sussex Archaeological Society  
Kent Archaeological Society  
Mid Kent Marriages  
Ancestry  
Genes Reunited  
International Genealogical Index  
National Archives  

Top
of the
page