The ARDEN Family has long held a place of distinction in Dorchester. Most families would be proud of an ancestor who had managed to attain the prestigious position of Mayor of a large town like Dorchester. The Arden Family however can claim that distinction no less than sixteen times over a period stretching from 1691 to 1852. The first to become Mayor of the town was Daniel ARDEN in 1691 and the Municipal records of Dorchester show that he was Governor of the Company of Freemen of the city as early as 1670 and again in 1686. He also signed the Oath of Loyalty to Charles II on 31st Aug 1681. It seems likely that it was his daughter Mary who married James RICHARDS a merchant from london that purchased the manor of West Knighton with the farm attached in 1690(1).
There were several generations however with that name as a Daniel ARDEN was also elected Mayor of Dorchester in the years 1706; 1718; 1724; 1735 and 1744. Daniel ARDEN's also served 11 times as Bailiff of Dorchester between the years 1689 and 1745 and the parish registers for St Peters show burials with that name in 1671, 1723 (two), 1730 and 1755. The Will for the last of these has survived at the National Archives and I have transcribed a copy for this site. His son George ARDEN was elected Mayor in 1750, 1751 and 1760 before his grandson Christopher ARDEN was Mayor in 1794 and his great grandson Christopher ARDEN junior served 5 times as mayor between 1816 and 1852. The family therefore have held influential positions in the Corporation over a long period of time and I have attempted to establish some family relationships below. I have not currently got access to early parish registers for St Peters which would probably add to our knowledge of the family structure during the 17th century. I have however been able to construct the following:-
His son George ARDEN (bur. 1768) married Frances CROWE (bur. 1779) in St Peters Church Dorchester on 3rd Oct 1743. They remained in the parish where George traded as a silversmith and had the following 7 children baptised there. He was admitted to the Company of Freemen on 9th January 1748 and elected Mayor in the years 1750, 1751 and 1760. He was also Bailiff in the years 1748; 1752; 1758 & 1761. When one of the existing Alderman John Channing died George was elected on 2nd Oct 1758 to replace him. George died and was buried in St Peters on 1st July 1768. His widow Frances followed on the 5th Jan 1779.
2. Frances ARDEN (1745-?), baptised 30 July 1745
3. Diana ARDEN (1746/7-1748), baptised 4 Feb 1746/47; buried 20 Jun 1748
4. Mary ARDEN (1749-?)baptised 8 Jan 1749; married Thomas STEELE Captain of 85th Regiment Holy Trinity Church Dorchester 12th Dec 1785.
5. Christopher ARDEN (1751-1811), bap 23 Oct 1751 bur 15 Nov 1811 aged 60 [See below]
6. George ARDEN (1754-?), baptised 22 Oct 1754
7. John ARDEN (1754-1759), baptised 21 May 1754; buried 25 Apr 1759
2. Christopher ARDEN (1788-1861), bap 10 Apr 1788 buried at dorchester Civic Cemetery 12 Apr 1861 [See below]
3. George ARDEN (1789-1868), Bap 15 Oct 1789; member Co Freemen 5th Oct 1812. He married Maryanne WESTON from Weymouth under a marriage settlement circa 1820, and they lived at 8 St Mary's St, in Melcombe Regis for many years. He was an Attorney at law and raised 6 children there (3), the 3rd of which was Charles Frederick ARDEN who was baptised at Weymouth on 13th Oct 1829 and also became an attorney and was executor of his sister Ann's Will. George ARDEN died at Weymouth on 30th Oct 1868 and his Will was proved on 6th July with Marianne as executrix.
4. Frances ARDEN (1792-1878) , Bap 28 Jun 1792; she remained a spinster and in the 1841 census is living with her sister Ann in South street Dorchester when they were both shown to be of independent means. She is at 4 Shirehall place as a lodger in 1861 aged 69 and described as a fundholder. She died on 11th Sep 1878 and like her sister Ann appointed her nephews John Rawdon OLDFIELD and Charles Frederick ARDEN as executors of an estate under £4,000 (4)
5. Ann ARDEN (1793-1872) Bap in 1793 she also remained a spinster. Initially she lived with her sister Frances but when her brother's wife Jane died in 1849 she moved into 8 High West St with him and his son Henry (also a qualified surgeon) to help run their business. They had a housemaid, cook and footman also living with them. When her brother became ill in 1861 they had to vacate the premises which were taken over by George PANTON another surgeon before 8th April that year. Christopher was buried on the 12th of that month at which time Ann was still at number 8 High West Street employing 2 servants. Her two nephews John Rawdon OLDFIELD of Oldfield Lawn and of Ticehurst both in the county of Sussex a Colonel in the Army and Charles Frederick ARDEN of Weymouth both came to the funeral and stayed with her. When she died on 26th Jan 1872 she left an estate of under £3,000 and named these nephews as her executors.(5)
Memorial Plaque in St Peters Church Dorchester
© Michael Russell FIPD
2. Rev George ARDEN (1818-1890) bap 22 Sep 1818 educated at Wadham college oxford matriculated 3rd Mar 1836 aged 17 BA 1840; MA 1842; He married in 1847 to Eliza Hannah TRENOW who was born in Bristol but was then resident at Langton Herring under a marriage settlement which is held at the DHC (Ref DD\SB/24/4). This marriage settlement refers to him as being of Winterborne Came so he may have been vicar or served his curacy there. He was appointed Vicar of Dunsford Devon where he served from 1866-1888 (8) A stained glass window was erected in St Mary's church Dunsford in 1880 to E.H.Arden his son, and a lancet window was erected in honour of George himself by WH Kelland Esq after he died in 1890.
3. Rev Henry Alban ARDEN (1820-1888) bap 12 Dec 1820 he initially trained as a surgeon, was awarded his licentiate and at the age of 22 was admitted to the Apothecaries Hall Dorchester on 26th May 1842. In 1851 he was still living with the family in Dorchester; he became a Dominican friar at Woodchester Priory Gloucestershire and in 1881 was at the St Dominics Priory at Southampton as a Roman Catholic priest - He is also said to be grandson of the late Rev Abon GWYNE MA Rector of Benworth Hampshire. He died in 1888
(1). Link to comments about Mary daughter of Daniel Arden of Dorchester
(2). 'Kitt' was used in the 18th century as an abbreviation for the name 'Christopher' in the same way as we now use 'Chris'
(3). Their 6 children were all baptised at Weymouth:- Mary Weston Arden bap 8th Jan 1821; Fanny Churchill Arden bap 14th Nov 1822; Eliza Churchill Arden bap 2nd Dec 1825; Charles Frederick Arden bap 13th Oct 1829; Georgina Bankes Floye Arden bap 30th dec 1830 died a spinster 28 Oct 1908 left £8,968. 15s 7d to sister Caroline; and Caroline Rose Arden 18 apr 1834 died 15 Aug 1915 at 5 Westerhall Weymouth left £10,886. 3s 4d to public trustees.
(4). National Probate Calander index entry Frances ARDEN died 11 Sep 1878 Probate 23 Oct 1878 - transcription of index entry available under Dorchester Wills Index 1801-1900. These Wills can be ordered by post £6 charge at Sep 2011 form downloadable on line
(5). National Probate Calander index entry Ann ARDEN died 26 Jan 1872 Probate 30 Mar 1872 - transcription of index entry available under Dorchester Wills Index 1801-1900
(6). National Probate Calander index entry Christopher ARDEN died 06 Apr 1861 Probate 30 Apr 1861 available under Dorchester Wills Index 1801-1900
(7). National Probate Calander index entry John Rawdon OLDFIELD died 22 Nov 1883 Probate 08 Mar 1884 - transcription of index entry available under Dorchester Wills Index 1801-1900
(8). Oxford University Alumni, 1500-1886
(9). National Probate Calander index entry for Jane OLDFIELD states Letters of Administration of the Personal estate and effects of jane oldfield late of oldfield lawn in the parish of Westbourne Sussex spinster deceased who died 8th may 1856 at oldfield Lawn aforesaid were granted at the Principal Registry to John Rawdon Oldfield of oldfield lawn aforesiad a Colonel in Her majesty's Army one of the executors of the Will of John Oldfield the father and next of kin of the said deceased he the said John Rawdon Oldfield having been first sworn. effects under £600