2nd January 1905 – June 1934



Town Sergeant/Sergeant at Mace is one of the oldest job titles of the Town of Ipswich. Dating back to the time of Town Bailiffs, following the first Royal Charter of 1200. The Sergeant was employed to carry out the duties and enforcement of the laws and wishes of the governance of the Town. As Sergeant they were to carry the insignia of the town and to carry the royal mace (1665). Held ahead of the first citizen in parades and precessions. The sergeant at mace is responsible for civic and ceremonial role of the first citizen. Over the past 800 years the Sergeant would be responsible for the smooth running of the halls and the running of meetings of the Town, acting as toastmaster and attendant of the court. (Session Court and Council). Carrying the Sword of Justice for the Session Court and Royal Mace for Council meetings, calling order for the start and finish of the meetings.

Since 1836 Mayors had replaced Bailiffs in the town, with the Sergeants duties being transferred to serve the Mayors, acting as mayor’s attendants. For Civic parades Two Town Sergeants carrying maces (the Borough/Town have two Royal Maces) The sword of Justice carried by the Town Crier who would lead the procession with Mayor and civic party behind. The Sergeants were present at every significant event of the town, from Royal visits, Proclamations, unveilings, openings, Council meetings in the Borough and escort for the Mayor for Town and County events.

Born: 3rd August 1867, Stoke Street, Ipswich.


Father: James Dennish, born 1835, South Weald, Essex, baptised 8th November 1835, St. Thomas of Canterbury Church, Brentwood. On the 9th April 1855, James, a bricklayer, enlisted into the Army, at Westminster, Middlesex. He was 19 years and 10 months, 5ft 7 inches in height, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. James, a Sergeant, serial number 295, of the 70th Foot was discharged through ill health and pensioned on the 24th December 1861, age 26. He had served 6 years and 2 days, including a year in India and 7 months in New Zealand. He was never Court Martialled and never entered in the Regimental Defaulters’ Book. James Dennish died 1878, Ipswich.


Mother: Ellen Dennish (nee Holmes), born 1839, Eye, Suffolk. Ellen Dennish died 1892, Ipswich.



Joseph George Dennish, born 1865, Ipswich. On Christmas Day, 1884, at St. Chad Church, Haggerston, Joseph, a boot laster, married Catherine Thompson, a dressmaker, born 1865, Sunderland, Durham – daughter of Malcolm Thompson, a mariner onboard ‘Porcupine’ a government survey boat and Laurina Thompson (nee Smith), of North Hill Road, Ipswich (formerly of Sunderland and the Shetland Isles). James was a witness at his brother’s wedding. Catherine and Joseph had 4 children – 2 daughters survived childhood. Joseph Dennish died 5th January 1893, London. Laid to rest 13th January 1893, at Newham Cemetery, London. After Joseph’s death, Catherine and her daughters moved to West Ham, Essex, where she returned to dressmaking and became a forewoman and designer for silk underskirts. On the 30th August 1929, 63 year old, Catherine Dennish, a designer of underskirts sailed aboard the S.S. ‘Montrose’ of the Canadian Pacific Railway to Montrose, Canada. Catherine joined her two daughters – Catherine Laurina Victoria Dennish, a designer of underskirts, who had immigrated to Ontario, Canada in 1914 and Ida Isabella Copestake (nee Dennish), who had immigrated with her husband Frank Henry Copestake, a chemical merchant’s manager, and two daughters in August 1922. Catherine Dennish died 1949, Scarborough, Ontario. Laid to rest at Pine Hills Cemetery, Scarborough, Ontario. Ida died in 1957, and Catherine in 1973, both laid to rest with their mother.


Malcolm Thompson was born in Sandwick, Shetland Isles. He was a mariner, first at Shetland before moving for work at Sunderland and later moving to Ipswich, where for many years he was boatswain for the Government survey boat the ‘Porcupine,’ which had laid at Ipswich Docks. Malcolm then worked for the Great Eastern Company’s steamers and was employed on board the ‘Harwich,’ sailing from Harwich to Rotterdam. On Wednesday, 29th December 1886, Malcolm had made the voyage to Rotterdam from Harwich, the dock labourers having discharged the ‘Harwich’ cargo left to clear another of the Company’s vessels which were lying in the port. With the labourers gone Malcolm went with a mate to the galley to get his tea, and stayed there for a few minutes and cooked two herrings. While on his way back to his berth, talking to his comrade, and carrying a plate with one hand and his tin cup of tea in the other, he stumbled over the “fore-and-aft” plank, and the fere-hatches being off, pitched head-foremost into the hold. It was a terrible fall, and when picked up Malcolm was found to be so severely injured that he was removed to the Hospital at Rotterdam. He had injured his spine and was unconscious. Malcolm died the same night having never regained consciousness, he was 56 and left a widow and three children.

An enquiry into the circumstances of Malcolm’s death was held by the British Consul, at Rotterdam. The funeral was held in Rotterdam, on Saturday, 1st January 1887. Malcolm’s brother and two of his sons travelled to the South of Holland to attend the funeral. East Anglian Daily Times – Saturday, 1st January 1887

Daniel Ford Goddard

On Thursday, 27th January 1887, Mr. George Hines presided over a large audience that had gathered to hear Mr. Daniel Ford Goddard deliver a lecture in the large room at the Co-operative Hall on a “Holiday Visit to Italy.” The lecture and the beautiful dissolving views with which it was illustrated were thoroughly appreciated. Mr. F. Snelling also performed some excellent selections on the piano. The proceeds of the lecture were given to the widows and orphans of Malcolm Thompson and Lancelot Bell, and it was hoped they will derive some substantial benefit. Evening Star – Friday, 28th January 1887

Lancelot Edward Bell, a Trinity Pilot, of 44, Wykes Bishops Street, Ipswich had drowned in the River Orwell during a gale on the 8th December 1886, aged 43. His body was found lying on the mud off Pond Hall Farm. Lancelot was married with seven children, the youngest was six years old. The Ipswich Journal – Friday, 10th December 1886




1871   18, Priory Street, St. Nicholas, Ipswich.

James was 3 years old and living with his parents and brother.

James, 35, a Bricklayer.

Ellen, 30.

Joseph, 6.


1881   12, Cardinal Street, St. Nicholas, Ipswich.

James was 13 years old, a Grocer’s Errand Boy. He was living with his widowed mother and brother.

Ellen, 40, a Monthly Nurse.

Joseph, 16, a Shoe Rivetter.

Ellen was nursing baby – Margaret Newby, 8 months, born Ipswich.


1891   (2 rooms) 94, St. Nichols Square, Haggerston, London.

James was 23 years old, a Boot Laster. He was married and head of the household.

Emily, 22.

James, 4.

Ellen, 2.


1901   18, Dorkin Street, St. Clement’s, Ipswich.

James was 33, a Bootmaker. He was married and head of the household.

Emily, 32.

James, 14, an Iron Turner.

Ellen, 12.

Edmund, 9.

Esther, 6.

Emily, 4.

Alice, 1.


1911   6, St. Stephen’s Lane, Ipswich.

James was 43 years old, a Sergeant at Mace – Ipswich Corporation. He was married and head of the household.

Emily, 42.

Emily, 13, a Nurse Maid.

Alice, 11.

Joseph, 8.

Katie, 5.

Ida, 3.

Arthur, 10 months.


In 1886, at Ipswich, James married Emily Alice Moore, born 11th February 1869, Ipswich, baptised 30th May 1869, at St. Helen’s Church, Ipswich – daughter of Edmund and Esther Moore, of Ipswich.


Father: Edmund Moore, born 1840, Wetheringsett-cum-Brockford, Suffolk, an Iron Foundry Labourer. Edmund Moore died 24th December 1908, of 6, Dorkin Street, Ipswich.


Mother: Esther Jane Moore (nee Cummell), Ipswich, born 1846, Ipswich, baptised 7th March 1847, at St. Helen’s Church, Ipswich. As a Pensioner Esther resided at 42, Tooley and Smarts Almshouses, Foundation Street, Ipswich. Esther Moore died 1917, Ipswich.


Emily and James had 11 children:


James Dennish, 6th March 1887, Ipswich. In 1911, James married Fanny Maria Green, born 10th January 1888, Ipswich – daughter of William John Harris Green, a carpenter – thrashing machine dept., engineering works and Mary Maria Green (nee Herring), of 141, Back Hamlet, Ipswich. James was an Engineer Fitter, first at the Royal Navy Dockyard at Sheerness, Kent, and then at the large Royal Navy Dockyard at Rosyth, Fife, Scotland. Before moving on to H.M. Dockyard Chatham, Kent where he worked on the manufacture of propeller shafts for naval vessels. Fanny and James had five children. On the 1939 register, the family were residing at their family home – 17, Burnt Oak Terrace, Gillingham, Kent. Fanny Dennish died 26th September 1951, of 17, Burnt Oak Terrace, Gillingham. James Dennish died 5th June 1967, of 17, Burnt Oak Terrace, Gillingham.

Fanny’s brother, Stanley Green was Killed in Action on the 1st November 1916, Somme.


Ellen Dennish, born 24th March 1889, Ipswich. On the 27th January 1912, at St. Lawrence Church, Ipswich, Ellen, of St. Stephen’s Lane, Ipswich married Frederick William Hayward, born 22nd June 1887, Ipswich. Frederick was employed as a foundry labourer – moulding shop. Ellen and Frederick had three children. On the 1939 register, the family were residing at their home – 28, Cecil Road, Ipswich. Ellen Hayward died 1959, Ipswich.


Edmund Aca Dennish, born 17th July 1891, Bethnal Green, London, baptised 29th November 1895, at St. John’s Church, Bethnal Green, with his sister Esther Dennish. On the 1st March 1915, at the Registrar’s Office, Edmonton, Edmund married Ethel May Picking, born 8th July 1883, 79, Glenwood Road, Tottenham. Ethel and Edmund had two children. Edmund was a barman at ‘The Windmill’ when he enlisted on the 14th August 1914. He served in France before returning home and was discharged with a Silver War Badge through ill health – cardiac valvular disease, on the 20th December 1916. Edmund Dennish died 31st December 1916, at his home – 61, Woodlands Park Road, Haringey, London. He had served 2 years and 33 days as a Gunner, 79935, of the Royal Field Artillery, 5 ‘C’ Reserve Brigade. Edmund was commemorated on the war memorial at Christchurch Park, Ipswich. On the 1939 register, Ethel, a barmaid, and her family were living at their home – 18, Chesterfield Gardens, Tottenham. Ethel Dennish died 1983, Greater London.


Esther Dennish, born 27th September 1894, Bethnal Green, London, baptised 29th November 1895, at St. John’s Church, Bethnal Green, with her brother Edmund Aca Dennish. In 1916, Brentford, Middlesex, Esther married Henry Sedney Combly, born 9th October 1887, Mile End, London. Esther and Henry had two children. By 1938, Esther and Henry had separated. Henry Combly died 26th June 1958, at The West Middlesex Hospital, Isleworth, of 133, High Street, Brentford. Esther Combly died 1975, Hounslow, London.


Emily Dennish, born 23rd June 1897, Bethnal Green, baptised 7th July 1897, at St. John’s Church, Bethnal Green. In 1922, Ipswich, Emily married Walter Joseph Branford Lawrence, born 2nd April 1897, Higham, Suffolk. Walter was a motor driver for a surgeon. On the 1939 register, the Lawrence family were residing at their home – 59, Park View Road, Ipswich. Emily Lawrence died 1950, Ipswich. Walter Lawrence died 3rd February 1972, of 25, Westholme Road, Ipswich.


Alice Dennish, born 6th February 1900, Ipswich. In 1923, Ipswich, Alice married Herbert Thomas Game, born 20th February 1898, Chattisham, Suffolk. Alice and Herbert had five children. Herbert was a journeyman plasterer. On the 1939 register, the Game family were residing at 95, Ascot Drive, Ipswich. Herbert Game died 1965, Suffolk. Alice Game died 1985, Ipswich.

Herbert’s brother, Albert Daniel Game was Killed in Action on the 18th August 1916, Somme.


Joseph Charles Dennish, born 19th October 1902, Ipswich. In 1929, at Ipswich, Joseph married Gladys Bessie Ball, born 15th November 1903, Ipswich – daughter of Arthur William Ball, an engine painter at Ransomes and Eliza Lottie Ball (nee Lee), of Ipswich. Gladys and Joseph had two children. Joseph was a Brewer’s Architect and Surveyor. On the 1939 register, the Dennish family were residing at their home – 1, Vermont Crescent, Ipswich. Joseph Dennish died 30th December 1983, of 1, Wilmington Court, Chyngton Road, Seaford, East Sussex. Gladys Dennish died 6th August 1986, of Ashbury House, Marlborough Road, Swindon, Wiltshire.


Katie Dennish, born 25th August 1905, Ipswich. Kate was a Woman Police Constable in Ipswich. Katie Dennish died 13th July 1950, of 75, Christchurch Street, Ipswich.


Ida Dennish, born 13th October 1907, Ipswich. In 1929, at Ipswich, Ida married Harry Robert Josselyn, born 25th October 1904, Ipswich. Ida and Harry had one son. Harry was a hospital porter. On the 1939 register, the Josselyn family were residing at their home – 166, Brunswick Road, Ipswich. During the Second World War Harry was an A.R.P. Warden. Harry Josselyn died 11th March 1984, of 2, Bromeswell Road, Ipswich. Ida Josselyn died 1988, Ipswich.


Arthur George Dennish, born 20th May 1910, Ipswich. In 1936, at Ipswich, Arthur married Queenie Edith Pawsey, born 13th July 1910, Ipswich – daughter of William Frederick Henry Pawsey, a stationery packer and Grace Louisa Pawsey (nee Button), of Ipswich. Queenie and Arthur had one son. Arthur was a manager of the tithe department. On the 1939 register, the Dennish family were residing at their home – 85, Lattice Avenue, Ipswich. Arthur George Dennish died 14th April 1983, of 85, Lattice Avenue, Ipswich. Queenie Dennish died in 2005, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk.


May Dennish, born 12th May 1912, Ipswich. In 1932, Ipswich, May married Frank Line Marsh, born 8th May 1902, Langley, Worcestershire. Frank was an Insurance Inspector. On the 1939 register, the Marsh family are residing at 12, Westbury Avenue, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. Frank Marsh died 7th November 1981, 12, Westbury Avenue, Bury St. Edmunds. May Marsh died 14th July 1991, of 12, Westbury Avenue, Bury St. Edmunds.



Thomas Scott

At a special meeting of the Ipswich Town Council, held on Wednesday, 21st December 1904 at the Town Hall, the Mayor of Ipswich, John Henry Grimwade presided.


The Estate Committee reported with much regret to the meeting that after thirty-five years’ faithful service, Mr. Thomas Scott, Sergeant-at-Mace, had intimated that age and increasing infirmities now prevented the efficient discharge of all his duties of his office. Henceforth Mr. Thomas Scott would be paid the sum of 12s. 6d. per week, instead of £1 10s.

The Estate Committee had issued advertisements inviting applications and had received 62 replies. After considering the testimonials, and interviewing certain applicants, the Committee recommended that 37 year old, Mr. James Charles Dennish, a boot laster by trade, and for the past four years had held the post of Verger at St. Lawrence Church, Ipswich should be appointed. It was expected that James Dennish should commence his duties on the 2nd January 1905, with wages of £1 10s. per week, with livery – including an overcoat and full dress suit every other year, and a plain livery suit and boots yearly.

The appointment could be terminated by either party at one month’s notice from any date. East Anglian Daily Times – Thursday, 22nd December 1904


On the morning of Monday, 5th July 1909, James Dennish, one of the Ipswich Town Sergeants, had a nasty accident. As he was leaving The Corn Exchange Buildings, James caught his foot on the steps leading into King Street and fell sustaining a fracture of the ankle. His colleague, Mr. James George Witter and two Police-constables Woollard and Diaper promptly came to help and rendered first aid whilst waiting for the arrival of the horse ambulance from the St. John Ambulance Station. James was conveyed to the Ipswich and East Suffolk Hospital in the horse ambulance, in charge of Mr. J. Scarlett. E.A.D.T. – Tuesday, 6th July 1909

James in a Suffolk Regiment uniform, likely to be WW1. Possibly 3rd Battalion (home) or home guard.

SUFFOLK CHRONICLE AND MERCURY, Friday, November 15th, 1918.

The scenes in Ipswich were unprecedented. Shortly after the news was received practically all business ceased and crowds ever increasing, thronged the streets, singing, waving flags, discharging fireworks, and generally letting their long pent-up feelings loose. At noon the Cornhill was packed from end to end when the Mayor (Mr. Edwin Colby Ransome.), in full state, accompanied by members of the Corporation and other public bodies in the town, appeared to officially announce the joyful news. The scene and the magnificent sound of the National Anthem, which followed will be remembered for a long time by those who were present.


Towards dusk, the relaxing of the lighting restrictions was taken advantage of as fully as possible, and the street scenes became even more boisterous. But whilst these scenes were being enacted in the streets, in many churches and chapels large congregations assembled to return their thanks for the many blessings which had been vouchsafed during the terrible time now happily past. At Mary-le-Tower Church the Mayor attended with members of the Corporation, and the Bishop of the Diocese delivered an earnest and appropriate address. Arrangements had been made for a joint parade of the Volunteer units in the town, but at the last minute this was vetoed, and the crowd had to be content with listening to the strains of the Volunteer Band, bravely trying to make itself heard above the continuous cheering and discharge of fireworks. On a minor scale, the rejoicings were continued on Tuesday, but the crowds were by no means so large.

An artist’s impression of the Town Hall steps with the Mayor and council members. James is seen with his mace (right-hand side); it would have been his responsibility to call order for the Mayor to speak. 


James held the position of Sergeant-at-Mace until he suffered a stroke, at the age of 66 years, in 1934, he died two weeks later on the 5th July 1934, at 6, St. Stephen’s Lane, Ipswich – of Heart Failure, Hypostatic Pneumonia and Cerebral Haemorrhage. His son Joseph Charles Dennish, of 1, Vermont Close, Ipswich was present.



Emily Dennish, a widow, and daughter Katie Dennish, a Woman Police Constable, were living at the family home – 6, St. Stephen’s Lane, Ipswich.


After James’s death, his widow Emily moved with their unmarried daughter, Katie (believed to be the first woman police officer appointed to the Borough Police Force), to Christchurch Street, Ipswich.


Emily Dennish died 1958, Ipswich.



Images of James Charles Dennish and Edmund Aca Dennish courtesy of Mr. Geoffrey Dennish.

Images of Ipswich Mayors courtesy of Mr. A. Gilbert – Ipswich Borough Council.

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