Robert Dennis was born in 1754 at Oxbank Farm near Nether Silton, Leake, Yorkshire as the second child of Robert Dennis and Ann Cuthbert.
Robert was baptized on 07 Sep 1754 at St Mary’s parish church in Leake.
When he was 19, he married Mary Swales, daughter of William Swailes and Mary, on 25 Nov 1773 in Osmotherley, Yorkshire, England. (Osmotherley is 7kms from Leake).
Mary Swales/Swailes was born in March 1749, her mother Mary dying in childbirth. Her father William remarried Ann Kay in 1754 and had a daughter Dorothy Swailes born and died 1758 Osmotherley. William died in 1793 and is buried in Osmotherley.
Mary had an older brother Snowdon Swailes who was born in 1748. Snowdon appears in the 1841 census for Osmotherley as a linen weaver. He married Elizabeth Newham in 1772 and had three children Mary b 1777, and twins John and William born in 1780. He died on 15 February 1842 aged 93 and is buried at Osmotherley.
Robert Dennis and Mary Swales both of this parish were married in this church by Banns 25th Day of November 1773 by me Wm Robinson,. This marriage was solemnized between us in the presence of Ch Wrighton, Ch Kilrington. (extract from Osmotherley Parish Register)
Mary’s brother Snowden Swales/Swailes was listed as a 90 year old linen weaver in Osmotherley (1841 census). Perhaps Mary’s father was a linen weaver too. The linen industry dominated village life in the 19th century in Osmotherley, with quarrying, jet mining and agriculture also providing local employment. The linen was often used for ships sail cloths.
Robert was a farmer living in Landmoth Wood, near Leake, Yorkshire, England in 1779 (residence given at son’s baptism).
Robert Dennis and Mary Swales had three children:
- Robert Dennis was born in 1779 in Nether Silton, Yorkshire. He died on 01 Apr 1845 in Nether Silton, Yorkshire. He married Sarah Pollitt on 18 Feb 1817 in Osmotherley.
- William Dennis was born in 1781 in Yorkshire, England. He died in 1844 in Silton, Yorkshire. He married Tamar Brown on 19 Jun 1817 in Ingleby Arncliffe,York,England.
- Thomas Dennis was born in 1785 in Nether Silton, Yorkshire. He died on 11 Oct 1848 in Osmotherley, Yorkshire. He married Esther Mitchell on 12 Jul 1802 in Knayton, Leake. He secondly married Mary Lee on 27 Jun 1829 in Osmotherley.
By 1819 Robert he was living in Osmotherley, Yorkshire, England as evidenced by a document dated 06 Apr 1819 found in the North Yorkshire archives. It was a “Bill of indictment for riot and assault” naming Robert Dennis the younger, and seven other men of Osmotherley. Apparently they broke into the house of Oswald Thompson, assautled him, and broke his dinner plates, spinning wheel, and bed. Despite the evidence of witnesses, a verdict of ‘no bill’ (no case to answer) was pronounced.
By 1823 Robert appeared in the local trade directory (Baines) –
Farmer – Robert Denniss – Professions and trades in 1823 in Osmotherley, Yorkshire, England.
He was employed as a farm labourer at “Clack Farm” which was advertised for sale in the Gazette 31 July, and 7 Aug and 21 Aug 1824 in 1824 in Osmotherley, North Yorkshire, England.
Mary Dennis nee Swailes died in December 1826 and was buried at Osmotherley on 28 Dec 1826. She was aged 77 years.
He died in 1835 at the home of his son Robert (1779-1845) and Sarah Pollitt (1786-1872) in Sowerby and was buried on 07 Jul 1835 in Osmotherley, Yorkshire, England (Osmotherley parish register). Sowerby is 20km south of Osmotherley.