Research has established that the buildings that form what is known as Fengate Farm in Weeting, Norfolk, was at one time a gentleman's residence. Attempting to establish a date for the construction is difficult although it might be possible to fix an approximate date as the bricks used were probably made at Weeting in a kiln in an area known as Botany Bay. A map of Weeting dated 1801, shows a single building with a driveway from Fengate Drove to the front and a road to the rear. Also fields close to the mansion are shown as owned and rented by a Denton.

The Farmhouse that can be seen today is in fact all that remains of a double fronted mansion. The chance discovery of a drawing and estimate prepared by the builder who carried out the alterations give a clear picture of the redefinition of the establishment from a gentleman's residence to a farm. The question is, why the change. The accepted story is that the owners went broke and part of the mansion was demolished and the materials re-used to erect farm buildings. Examination of the builders drawing and estimate challenge this story. A more likely explanation is that the family who owned, or rented it, moved out, either because of a family situation or because the economic state of the countryside at that time, made it almost impossible to sell or lease country estates. Having stood empty for some time perhaps the house was the victim of a disaster, like a fire or lightning strike and as a result the mansion was partly demolished and the estate converted into a farm.

Checking the directories show that Fengate has been given various names over the years so only help to cloud the issue.

Whites Directory

  • 1836 Fengate, Richard Pepworth.
  • 1845 Fen-Dike, Richard Pepworth - Farmer.
  • 1854 Fen-Dike, Henry Towler and T Stead - Farmers
  • 1864 Fengate Hall, Thomas King - Farmer
  • 1883 Fengate farm, Edward Clark, Bailiff to Mr William Muscrant.

Kelly's Directory

  • 1896 Hall Farm, Richard Harrison Parrott - Farmer and Gamekeeper.
  • Frederick William Parrott - Farmer.
  • 1925 Fengate Farm, Aubury Oswell Rolf - Farmer.
  • 1931 Fengate Farm, R F Parrott - Farmer.
  • 1933 Fengate Farm, Charles R F Parrott.
  • 1937 Fengate Farm, Charles R F Parrott.

It has not been possible to establish who owned or leased the original mansion, but having researched the local wealthy families, the most likely candidates are the Denton's. The family have a long association with the area. On the 6th September 1552, an inventory was taken of the goods in St Nicholas church Feltwell, in the presence of William Day, Edmond Grymston, Thomas Barteram, Robert Matthew and Osbert Denton. In the Lady Chapel of the Church of St Mary Weeting, there is a memorial tablet in the floor in memory of Osbert Denton and his descendants,

In Memory of (1) Mr Osbert Denton Who died the 13th April 1772 aged 60 years. And also of Margaret his wife, Who died the 8th March 1770 aged 55 years. Also of (2) John Denton of Stow Langtoft, in the county of Suffolk, who died the 10th October 1776 Aged 42 years. And the following descendants of the above Osbert and Margaret Denton, (3) Osbert Denton, merchant of Lynn in this county, Who died the 3rd of April 1797 Aged 53 years. (4) Margaret, Relict (widow) of the said John Denton of Stow Langtoft, who died the 26th January 1806 Aged 66 years. (5) Sarah, Relict (widow) of the Rev Philip Toosey, Rector of Stonham Pava in the county of Suffolk, Who died the 14th of May 1808 Aged 66 Years. And lastly (6) James Denton merchant of Brandon and Feltwell Lodge in this county Who Died the 18th February 1817 Aged 69 years. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, for they rest from their labours And their works do follow them.

Notes on the Denton family:

  1. 1. Osbert Denton (b.1712) was probably the owner or leaseholder of Fengate
  2. House.
  3. 2. John Denton married (1) Osbert Denton's daughter Margaret on the 26th
  4. December 1759, at St Mary's church, Weeting. Having the same surname,
  5. they were probably cousins.
  6. 3. Osbert Denton, son of Osbert (1).
  7. 4. Margaret,eldest daughter of Osbert (1), not baptised at Weeting.
  8. 5. Sarah,daughter of Osbert (1). Sarah married Rev Philip Toosey and they had a
  9. daughter, Margaret Denton Toosey. A schedule of estates purchased by John
  10. Julius Angerstein in Norfolk and held at the Norfolk Record Office, includes
  11. 72 acres bought in 1818 from a James Bramall Toosey (son of Rev Philip
  12. Toosey) for £3,300, the land is described as being in Weeting and Brandon.
  13. It was only a tiny fraction of the estate of John Julius Angerstein, but a very
  14. expensive one. John Bramall Toosey was married to Elizabeth Denton and
  15. they had a son James Denton Toosey born at Kings Lynn in 1801.
  16. 6. James Denton, son of Osbert (1).

Osbert Denton and his sons, were merchants with business in the port of Kings Lynn, Brandon and Feltwell, so having a house at Fengate, near the river Ouse was both practical and convenient. Also their wills show that they had a close association with Weeting, Osbert Denton senior, left a shilling a day, for the rest of his life, to his faithful servant John Youngs of Weeting. At the time of George IV, Denton Lodge was owned by a Captain Denton of the Merchant Service was said to be involved with the smuggling of brandy. The junction of the Feltwell Road with Methwold Road is still known as Denton corner, so the name lives on.

The Denton name features prominently in the Archdeacon's Transcripts of the Weeting with Broomhill Baptism, Marriage and Burial Registers. Margaret Denton, the eldest child was not baptised in Weeting St Mary, but the other three were, Sarah in 1741, Osbert in 1743 and James in 1749. The infant mortality rate was high in those days and as the Baptism Register shows wealthy merchants like the Denton's also suffered the tragic loss of children.

  • Baptism Register Burial Register
  • William Denton (no date) 1741 (listed as a child)
  • William Denton 1745 1764 (aged 19)
  • John Denton 1751 1757 (aged 6)
  • Mary Denton 1754 1761 (aged 7)
  • Mary Denton 1761 1761 (died at birth?)

There are two Robert Denton's listed for 1772 in the Burial Register but no age given for them.

Gerry Moore 2004


Fengate Farm is a working farm with no public access. The exterior of the main buidling may be seen at a distance from the byway known as "Fengate Drove".