Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dering, Heneage

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DERING, HENEAGE, LL.D. (1665–1750), antiquary and divine, was the eldest son of Christopher Dering of Wickins in Charing parish, Kent, who was born on 8 Aug. 1625, died in his son's chambers in the Inner Temple 18 Dec. 1693, and was buried on 23 Dec. in Charing church, in the chapel of the Brents, from whom the estate of Wickins had come to the Derings by marriage. Christopher Dering, who was secretary to Heneage Finch, chancellor of England and earl of Nottingham, married, on 11 June 1663, Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Thomas Spackman of Wiltshire, by Joan, daughter and heiress of Francis Kennerley of Lincolnshire, who died at Albury, Surrey, on 19 April 1724, aged 89, and was buried by her husband in Brent's chapel, Charing, on 27 April. Their eldest son was born in St. Bride's parish, London, on 7 Feb. 1664–5, and was called Heneage in honour of his father's friend and patron, who condescended to be his godfather. John Sharp, afterwards archbishop of York, was Finch's chaplain, and the friend of Finch's secretary, a circumstance which many years later insured Heneage Dering's advancement in the church. Heneage was sent to a school at St. Albans in 1674, and after remaining there for four years was entered of the Inner Temple on 31 May 1678. Two years later (31 March 1680) he was admitted as pensioner at Clare College, Cambridge, but returned home on 2 Oct. 1682 without having taken any degree. From his ‘Autobiographical Memoranda’ we learn that his father bought him a set of chambers in Figtree Court for 140l. in February 1682–3, and after passing through the usual course he was called to the bar in Michaelmas term 1690. A year later he became secretary to his father's old friend Sharp, on his promotion to the archbishopric of York, and in May 1692 took up his residence with the archbishop at Bishopthorpe. In this position he remained for some years, and was rewarded for his services with the appointment, under the archbishop's patent, of high steward of the manors of Wistow, Cawood, and Otley, a position which he held from 28 Sept. 1699 to 14 Feb. 1701. Early in the last-mentioned year he resolved upon taking orders in the English church, and with this object in view he was created LL.D. of Clare College, Cambridge, ‘per literas regias,’ in January 1701. On 9 Feb. 1701 he was ordained deacon in Bishopthorpe chapel, and appointed Archbishop Sharp's chaplain, and on 20 July following he was admitted to priest's orders. Preferment after preferment now fell to his lot. The archdeaconry of the East Riding of York he held from 7 March 1702 until his death, he was prebendary of Grindall in York Cathedral from 9 Feb. 1705 until 1708, and from 1 May 1708 until his death he kept the prebendal stall of Fridaythorpe. He was instituted to the rich rectory of Scrayingham on the presentation of Queen Anne on 24 March 1704, and to the deanery of Ripon on 3 March 1711, and in the following June he was appointed to the mastership of the hospitals of St. Mary Magdalene and St. John Baptist near Ripon. As he had inherited on the death of his father the manor of Wickins, and lands in Westwell, Kent, the family estate of this branch of the Derings, he may be considered to have been one of the wealthiest clergymen in England. He lived to an extreme old age, and even in 1739, many years before his death, he himself tells us that he was the eldest member of the church of York, and the eldest dean and archdeacon in the northern province. He died on 8 April 1750, and was buried at the east end of the north aisle of the choir in Ripon Minster, where a marble monument was placed in his memory. He married at Bishopthorpe chapel, 9 Jan. 1712, Anne, eldest daughter of Archbishop Sharp. She was baptised at Chelsea 25 Nov. 1691. Their issue was two sons and five daughters. John, the elder son, became sub-dean of Ripon, and died in 1774; particulars of Heneage, the younger son, a prebendary of Canterbury, and the rector of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, are in Lipscomb's ‘Buckinghamshire,’ iv. 246–7, Hasted's ‘Kent,’ iii. 180, iv. 617. The dean published a poem in Latin hexameters, entitled ‘Reliquiæ Eboracenses. Per H. D. Ripensem. Eboraci, 1743.’ His original intention was to have represented the principal events in the history of Yorkshire under Roman, Saxon, and Danish rule, but he desisted from his undertaking when he had completed three books in ninety-five pages of print. This poem is somewhat scarce, but not so scarce as Thomas Gent's English translation in the heroic stanzas, which was begun by Gent for his private amusement at the close of his career, and near the seventieth year of his age. Gent proposed to issue his translation in eight or ten weekly numbers, priced at threepence each, but sufficient subscribers did not offer their names to justify him in carrying out his project, and though at a later date he desired to publish his poem in a volume costing eighteenpence, it is doubtful whether it was published even in that form. A few copies printed in 104 pages, on the coarsest paper and in the rudest type, and without title-page or introduction, but with three copperplates, and over fifty very rude woodcuts, are still in existence. The general title in the copy of Gent's translation belonging to the British Museum is an addition of a later date; the running title at the head of each page is ‘Historical Delights, or Ancient Glories of Yorkshire.’ Dering's other published work is a Latin poem called ‘De Senectute. Per H. D. Ripensem. Eboraci, 1746.’ Two oaks grew side by side in Studley Park, and were felled at the same time. This poem is the lament of one of them to its fellow on their approaching doom. Full materials for Dering's life are contained in his ‘Autobiographical Memoranda,’ begun 7 Feb. 1735 and brought down to 1739, which are printed in ‘Yorkshire Diaries’ (Surtees Soc. lxv. 1877), pp. 333–50, and in further memoranda from his private account-book preserved in Ripon Minster Library, and published in the same volume, pp. 464–71.

[Berry's Kent Genealogies, p. 402; Archæol. Cant. x. 334–42; Faulkner's Chelsea, p. 115; Memorials of Church of SS. Peter and Wilfrid, Ripon, ii. (Surtees Soc. 1886), 271–3, 285–6; Hasted's Kent, iii. 214; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy), iii.; Davies's York Press, pp. 245–6, 219–20; Notes and Queries, 7th ser. vol. i. passim.]

W. P. C.