Manuscripts and Special Collections

Biography of William Evelyn Denison (1843-1916)

William was the eldest son of Sir William T. Denison (1804-1971), colonial governor. In 1846 he moved to Van Diemen's Land [Tasmania], where his father had been appointed Lieutenant-Governor. In 1854 Sir William was promoted to Governor of New South Wales, and the family moved to Sydney. William was educated at Eton College and then joined the Royal Artillery, gaining the rank of Captain. He retired from the Royal Artillery in 1878.

In 1873 he inherited the Ossington Hall estate from his uncle John Evelyn Denison, Viscount Ossington. The following year he was elected as Conservative M.P. for Nottingham. He stood for election in the North Nottinghamshire constituency in 1880 but was defeated.

He was a county magistrate, chairman of the bench of magistrates at Newark, Alderman of Nottinghamshire County Council, and served as Deputy Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire in 1875 and High Sheriff in 1895.

His great interest was cricket. He was a member of the Nottinghamshire County Club and the Marylebone Cricket Club, serving as President of the respective clubs in 1891 and 1892. He was also President of the Cricketer's Fund Friendly Society,

His estates were inherited by his only son William F.E. Denison, who himself died only two years later. W.E. Denison's widow Lady Elinor Denison then inherited the Ossington Hall estate as tenant for life. She conveyed her life interest in the whole of the estate apart from the Hall itself to the heir in expectation, her nephew William M.E. Denison, in 1933.


He married in 1877 Lady Elinor Amherst (1850-1939), daughter of William Pitt, Earl Amherst, and had:

Archive Collections

Two collections held in Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham relate particularly to William E. Denison and his family:

  • (De Wm) Papers of Sir William T. Denison and his family: Includes substantial correspondence sent to W.E. Denison by his parents and siblings, mostly in the period 1855-58 (De Wm C 63-262)
  • (DL) Papers of Lee and Pemberton, Solicitors: Legal papers, accounts and correspondence concerning trust arrangements arising from the death of Viscount Ossington, and W.E. Denison's inheritance


Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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