There are three purposes for which dene-holes may have been originally excavated: (a) as hiding-places or dwellings, (b) draw-wells for the extraction of chalk for agricultural uses, and (c) storehouses for grain. For several reasons it is unlikely that they were used as habitations, although they may have been used occasionally as hiding-places. Other evidence has shown that it is equally improbable that they were used for the extraction of chalk. The chief reasons against this theory are that chalk could have been obtained outcropping close by, and that every trace of loose chalk has been removed from the vicinity of the holes, while known examples of chalk draw-wells do not descend to so great a depth. The discovery of a shallow dene-hole, about 14 ft. below the surface, at Stone negatives this theory still further. The last of the three possible uses for which these prehistoric excavations were designed is usually accepted as the most probable. Silos, or underground storehouses, are well known in the south of Europe and Morocco. It is supposed that the grain was stored in the ear and carefully protected from damp by straw. A curious smoothness of the roof of one of the chambers of the Gravesend twin-chamber dene-hole has been put forward as additional evidence in support of this theory. One other theory has been advanced, viz. that the excavations were made in order to get flints for implements, but this is quite impossible, as a careful examination of a few examples will show.
Further reference may be made to Essex Dene-holes by T. V. Holmes and W. Cole; to The Archaeological Journal (1882); the Transactions of the Essex Field Club; Archaeologia Cantiana, &c.; Dene-holes by F. W. Reader, in Old Essex, ed. A. C. Kelway (1908).
- (A. J. P.)
DENGUE (pronounced deng-ga), an infectious fever occurring in warm climates. The symptoms are a sudden attack of fever, accompanied by rheumatic pains in the joints and muscles with severe headache and erythema. After a few days a crisis is reached and an interval of two or three days is followed by a slighter return of fever and pain and an eruption resembling measles, the most marked characteristic of the disease. The disease is rarely fatal, death occurring only in cases of extreme weakness caused by old age, infancy or other illness. Little is known of the aetiology of “dengue.” The virus is probably similar to that of other exanthematous fevers and communicated by an intermediary culex. The disease is nearly always epidemic, though at intervals it appears to be pandemic and in certain districts almost endemic. The area over which the disease ranges may be stated generally to be between 32° 47′ N. and 23° 23′ S. Throughout this area “dengue” is constantly epidemic. The earliest epidemic of which anything is known occurred in 1779-1780 in Egypt and the East Indies. The chief epidemics have been those of 1824-1826 in India, and in the West Indies and the southern states of North America, of 1870-1875, extending practically over the whole of the tropical portions of the East and reaching as far as China. In 1888 and 1889 a great outbreak spread along the shores of the Aegean and over nearly the whole of Asia Minor. Perhaps “dengue” is most nearly endemic in equatorial East Africa and in the West Indies. The word has usually been identified with the Spanish dengue, meaning stiff or prim behaviour, and adopted in the West Indies as a name suitable to the curious cramped movements of a sufferer from the disease, similar to the name “dandy-fever” which was given to it by the negroes. According to the New English Dictionary (quoting Dr Christie in The Glasgow Medical Journal, September 1881), both “dengue” and “dandy” are corruptions of the Swahili word dinga or denga, meaning a sudden attack of cramp, the Swahili name for the disease being ka-dinga pepo.
See Sir Patrick Manson, Tropical Diseases; a Manual of Diseases of Warm Climates (1903).
DENHAM, DIXON (1786-1828), English traveller in West Central Africa, was born in London on the 1st of January 1786. He was educated at Merchant Taylors’ School, and was articled to a solicitor, but joined the army in 1811. First in the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and afterwards in the 54th foot, he served in the campaigns in Portugal, Spain, France and Belgium, and received the Waterloo medal. In 1821 he volunteered to join Dr Oudney and Hugh Clapperton (q.v.), who had been sent by the British government via Tripoli to the central Sudan. He joined the expedition at Murzuk in Fezzan. Finding the promised escort not forthcoming, Denham, whose energy was boundless, started for England to complain of the “duplicity” of the pasha of Tripoli. The pasha, alarmed, sent messengers after him with promises to meet his demands. Denham, who had reached Marseilles, consented to return, the escort was forthcoming, and Murzuk was regained in November 1822. Thence the expedition made its way across the Sahara to Bornu, reached in February 1823. Here Denham, against the wish of Oudney and Clapperton, accompanied a slave-raiding expedition into the Mandara highlands south of Bornu. The raiders were defeated, and Denham barely escaped with his life. When Oudney and Clapperton set out, December 1823, for the Hausa states, Denham remained behind. He explored the western, south and south-eastern shores of Lake Chad, and the lower courses of the rivers Waube, Logone and Shari. In August 1824, Clapperton having returned and Oudney being dead, Bornu was left on the return journey to Tripoli and England. In December 1826 Denham, promoted lieutenant-colonel, sailed for Sierra Leone as superintendent of liberated Africans. In 1828 he was appointed governor of Sierra Leone, but after administering the colony for five weeks died of fever at Freetown on the 8th of May 1828.
See Narrative of Travels and Discoveries in Northern and Central Africa in the years 1822-1824 (London, 1826), the greater part of which is written by Denham; The Story of Africa, vol. i. chap. xiii. (London, 1892), by Dr Robert Brown.
DENHAM, SIR JOHN (1615-1669), English poet, only son of Sir John Denham (1559-1639), lord chief baron of the exchequer in Ireland, was born in Dublin in 1615. In 1617 his father became baron of the exchequer in England, and removed to London with his family. In Michaelmas term 1631 the future poet was entered as a gentleman commoner at Trinity College, Oxford. He removed in 1634 to Lincoln’s Inn, where he was, says John Aubrey, a good student, but not suspected of being a wit. The reputation he had gained at Oxford of being the “dreamingest young fellow” gave way to a scandalous reputation for gambling. In 1634 he married Ann Cotton, and seems to have lived with his father at Egham, Surrey. In 1636 he wrote his paraphrase of the second book of the Aeneid (published in 1656 as The Destruction of Troy, with an excellent verse essay on the art of translation). About the same time he wrote a prose tract against gambling, The Anatomy of Play (printed 1651), designed to assure his father of his repentance, but as soon as he came into his fortune he squandered it at play. It was a surprise to everyone when in 1642 he suddenly, as Edmund Waller said, “broke out like the Irish rebellion, three score thousand strong, when no one was aware, nor in the least expected it,” by publishing The Sophy, a tragedy in five acts, the subject of which was drawn from Sir Thomas Herbert’s travels. At the beginning of the Civil War Denham was high sheriff for Surrey, and was appointed governor of Farnham Castle. He showed no military ability, and speedily surrendered the castle to the parliament. He was sent as a prisoner to London, but was soon permitted to join the king at Oxford.
In 1642 appeared Cooper’s Hill, a poem describing the Thames scenery round his home at Egham. The first edition was anonymous: subsequent editions show numerous alterations, and the poem did not assume its final form until 1655. This famous piece, which was Pope’s model for his Windsor Forest, was not new in theme or manner, but the praise which it received was well merited by its ease and grace. Moreover Denham expressed his commonplaces with great dignity and skill. He followed the taste of the time in his frequent use of antithesis and metaphor, but these devices seem to arise out of the matter, and are not of the nature of mere external ornament. At Oxford he wrote many squibs against the roundheads. One of the few serious pieces belonging to this period is the short poem “On the Earl of Strafford’s Trial and Death.”
From this time Denham was much in Charles I.’s confidence. He was entrusted with the charge of forwarding letters to and from the king when he was in the custody of the parliament, a