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Dene, William (DNB00)


DENE, WILLIAM (fl. 1350), chronicler, was probably author of a work preserved in the Cotton Library in the British Museum (Faustina, B 5), and containing a record of the history of Rochester, ‘Annales Roffenses,’ from 1314 to 1358, but unfortunately mutilated so that it extends no further than 1350. These annals, which are printed with some omissions in Wharton's ‘Anglia Sacra,’ i. 356–77, were plainly written by a clerk in immediate dependence on Bishop Haymo, who occupied the see of Rochester for nearly the whole of the time covered by them. The author also gives us to understand that he was the bishop's notary public, a description which might equally point to William of Dene and Gilbert of Segeford; but that Dene is actually the notary in question is expressly stated by John Joscelin (appendix to Robert of Avesbury, p. 291, ed. Hearne, 1720). A William Dene who is mentioned as archdeacon of Rochester at various dates between 1323 and 1338 (Le Neve, Fasti, ii. 580, ed. Hardy) is no doubt to be distinguished from the chronicler, though probably related to him.

An earlier William Dean, as the name is spelt, appears in the Royal MS. 5 E ix. in the British Museum, as the author of a letter to Alexander III, ‘Literæ petentes vindictam mortis Thomæ Cantuariensis’ (Casley, Cat. of the Manuscripts of the King's Library, p. 83, 1734).

[Wharton's Anglia Sacra, i. introd. p. xxxiii, 1691.]

R. L. P.