Manuscripts and Special Collections

Biography of John Denison, formerly Wilkinson (c.1759-1820)

John Wilkinson was the second son of John Wilkinson of Potterton, Yorkshire, and Lothbury, City of London, and his wife Ann Denison of Leeds.

He inherited the estates of his uncles William Denison (1714-1782) and Robert Denison (1720-1785), and consequently assumed the surname Denison by Royal Licence in 1795. He also, together with his brother Edward Wilkinson (d 1836), took on the Leeds-based wool merchant business (William Denison and Company) of his elder uncle.

John moved to Ossington Hall, Nottinghamshire, when he came into his inheritance, and engaged the architect Sir John Soane (1753-1837) to draw up plans for its improvement, which were never realised. He then employed William Lindley (c.1739-1818) to undertake work on the Hall and other estate properties from the late 1780s onwards.

He was M.P. for Minehead from 1807-1812.

His estates were inherited by his eldest surviving son, John Evelyn Denison, later Viscount Ossington.


He married 1stly, in 1787, Maria Charlotte, daughter of J. Horlock of Ashwick, Gloucestershire, and had:

  • 2 sons, died young
  • Lucy Maria Charlotte Denison (1791-1815), m in 1811 Charles Manners-Sutton, later Speaker of the House of Commons and 1st Viscount Canterbury (1780-1845), and had:
    • Charles J. Manners-Sutton, 2nd Viscount Canterbury (1812-1869)
    • John H.T. Manners-Sutton, 3rd Viscount Canterbury (1814-1877)
    • Charlotte M. Manners-Sutton (1815-1898), m Richard Sanderson
  • Anna Matilda Denison (1792-), m in 1833 Thomas Smith esquire

He married 2ndly, in 1797, Charlotte (d 1859), daughter of Samuel Estwick, and had:

  • Julia Grace Denison (1798-1872), m in 1839 Rev. C. Des Voeux (1786-1857)
  • John Evelyn Denison (1800-1873), later Viscount Ossington
  • Edward Denison (1801-1854), Bishop of Salisbury
  • Louisa Charlotte Denison (1802-1805)
  • William Thomas Denison (1804-1871), colonial governor
  • George Anthony Denison (1805-1896), Archdeacon of Taunton
  • Frederick Richard Denison (1807-1808)
  • Henrietta Sophia Denison (1808-1860), m in 1840 John Henry Jacob (d 1862) of The Close, Salisbury, and had:
    • Mary F. Jacob (1840-), m -Richards
    • Henry (b and d 1842)
    • Lucy E. Jacob (1843-1918), m in 1868 Rev. Sidney Meade
    • Cecilia (1845-1862)
    • John H. Jacob (1847-)
    • Katharine Jacob (1849-)
    • Edith Jacob (1850-), m in 1877 Albert Bulteel Fisher
    • Eleanor Jacob (1850-)
    • Edward Jacob (1856-)
  • Henry Denison (1810-1858), barrister
  • Stephen Charles Denison (1811-1871), barrister and Deputy Judge Advocate, m in 1845 Susan Anne Frances Fellowes (d 1878), and had:
    • Henry Denison (1847-1938), Brigadier-General, inherited the Babworth Hall estate, Nottinghamshire, m in 1877 Edith Kate Taylor (d 1928), and had:
      • Edward Bridgeman Denison (1880-1966), of Babworth, Lieutenant-Colonel
      • Harry Denison (1882-1917), Major
      • Stephen Charles Denison (1883-1954), m in 1927 Helen Rosemary Rodgers
      • George Lyon Denison (1885-)
      • Wilfred Valentine Denison (1889-1964), m in 1922 Audrey J. Fellowes (1888-)
      • Harold Anthony Denison (1891-) m in 1922 Audrey Ansley
    • Charlotte J. Denison (1849-)
    • Stephen Denison
  • Frank Denison (1813-1843), Lieutenant, Royal Navy
  • Charlotte Anne Denison (1813-1892), m in 1844 Robert Joseph Phillimore (1810-1885), judge, cr. 1st Baronet 1881, and had:
    • Walter G.F. Phillimore (1845-1929), 1st Baron Phillimore
    • Catherine Mary Phillimore (-1929)
    • Lucy Phillimore (-1931)
    • Alice G. Phillimore (-1906)
  • Robert Alfred Denison, known as Alfred Robert (1816-1887), Private Secretary to his brother John Evelyn Denison
  • Charles Albert Denison (1819-1877), Lieutenant Colonel, 52nd Regiment, later Chief Commissioner of the Civil Service in Madras

Archive Collections

  • Title deeds, settlements, estate and legal papers relating to John Denison's ownership of his estates are part of the Denison collection held in Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham



Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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