Ever since starting my family history with my Heneker family, as my first foray over 30 years ago, I have come across numerous references to a Sir John Henniker, and other dignitaries, e.g a Major Henniker, and all with various spellings. Some of the names have appeared when I do my ancestry.com.au searches (as I have a membership with ancestry.com.au), but also in the usual Google searches, and in printed books.
Whilst I have not as yet come across any connection with my Henniker/Heneker family who emigrated to South Australia in 1839, I do wonder is there some connection? The fact that Sir John Henniker and other’s have had long connections with the Kent area for many generations seems to point at some connection, however distant. For instance, whilst some have said Henniker is a Germanic name, I have been told, and also found from my own DNA, that there could be a connection in the Scandanavian countries, perhaps even Viking!! Of course everyone wants a Viking connection, however with the surname ending in “Ker” (Kerr), this appears to give some weight to the Scandanavian argument.
“The ancestors of Lord Henniker were a mercantile family from Germany, who settled in London early in the XVIII. century. Of the origin of the name I know nothing, but it is suspiciously like the German Henkar, a hangman or executioner. That the executioner’s employ, like occupations, occasionally became a surname, is shown in the following anecdote: [Patronymica Britannica, written: 1838-1860 by Mark Antony Lower]
(English) Dweller at the Hen-Field [Old English henn + cecer] But the ancestors of Lord Henniker are said to have come from Germany in the 18th century. [ Surnames of the United Kingdom (1912) by Henry Harrison]
Early Origins of the Henniker family
“The surname Henniker was first found in Essex where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor at Newton Hall. The Saxon influence of English history diminished after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The language of the courts was French for the next three centuries and the Norman ambience prevailed. But Saxon surnames survived and the family name was first referenced in the year 1474 when John Henacre held estates in that county.” [www.houseofnames.com/henniker-family-crest]
Interestingly, the above spelling of HENACRE is a surprise, as my 4th great grandfather Edward (b abt 1756) is entered on his Marriage Banns as Edward HENECAR. (Marriage 1782 to Ann Russel). At the time that I received the copy of his Marriage Banns from the Kent Family History Society, I assumed as was very common, it was just written down as the person filling out the Banns heard it. When Edward’s son Thomas arrived in South Australia with his family in 1839 the name was spelled HENNIKER. After a very short time, or even immediately, further records produced in South Australia were recorded as HENEKER. Which is the main spelling of the name at least for the South Australian families. I have noted also that in Victoria, Australia, there are a number of HENNIKER’s and also some here in South Australia. Obviously the name changed or was written incorrectly, back when most people signed certificates, (such as marriage certificates) with an “X”. But after reading the information that a John Henacre held estates in 1474, when the name was first referenced, the spelling Henecar does roll off the tongue sounding almost the same.!!
Looking at further sites regarding surnames, I don’t seem to find anything to actually prove or give hints that the surname of Henniker is derived from Vikings. Further in depth research needs to be carried out, and of course, it could probably never be proven.
My DNA results carried out by Ancestry show up 45% DNA from Great Britain and 25% from Western Europe, which included countries such as France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and various other smaller countries.
The following text is taken from a free Google book named “The Baronetage of England, or The History of the English Baronets, and such Baronets of Scotland, that are of English Families” by William Betham.
Extract from the above Book, The Baronetage of England ……” I decided to add this to my blog, mainly as informative reading both for myself and anyone interested. I don’t presume that it means I (myself) or others may or may not be from this line of Henniker’s. However I will make an assumption and state that perhaps somewhere along this rather large lineage there were children born, either in or out of wedlock, that may have been related. As I try to go further back from my 4th great grandfather Edward Henniker, it seems to became more difficult, as even in Edward’s time the repetition of names is quite large. e.g. James, Thomas, Edward, Henry etc. not to mention the women’s first names as well. Trying to sort out who was who, with so many families all having children called the same name, and with dates so close to together, and very little written information, it would be an impossible task. Who knows, one day something might pop up on a search that can open things up, but I personally am doubtful. (but hopeful)!!
“…..two daughters for life, and to their issue, which are at present enjoyed by her Grace the Duchess of Chandos, and the Hon. John-Henniker Major. Sir John Major was buried in the same vault with his deceased wife, and an handsome monument is erected over them in the chancel of Worlingworth Church. Another has also been erected to their memory in the parish church of East Grinstead, in the county of Sussex, by their grandson, the Hon. John-Henniker Major. Upon the decease of Sir John Major, the dignity of Baronet devolved, by the original patent, upon his son-in-law, II. Sir JOHN HENNIKER, Bart. It appears, from sundry deeds and evidence, that the family of Henniker, He- neker, or De Hanekin, has been of long continuance in Kent. Peter de Hanekin, was lieutenant-governor of Dover Castle in ISIS’. John de Mari and Peter Hanekin, of Dover (supposed to be the same mentioned by Philipot), were sent to Great Yarmouth, to regulate the fair, 6 Edw. II. 1313 t- Alanus de Henekin possessed the manor of Nash-Court, in the parish of Westwell, in Kent, temp. Rich. II. 1359 % ; they afterwards, about the reign of Edward IV. wrote themselves Heneker, and resided in different parishes in the said county, where their estates lay, particularly Dover, Goodneston, Nonnington, Hythe, the Isle of Thanet, Charing, Lenham, and several others. 1, John Henneker, born in 1571, died at Lenham 1616, and buried under a monument in that church-yard, was ancestor of Charles Henniker, of Chatham, in the county of Kent ; his second son, 2, John, was admitted to his freedom of Rochester by patrimony, Sept. 7, 1695, and was possessed of freehold lands in the Isle of Thanet, at Monkton, and in Rochester, of a leasehold estate, renewable for ever from the dean and chapter, and the brethren of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital (i ; he died there, and lies buried in Chatham church-yard, where is his monument. His second son, 3, John Henniker, was baptized in Chatham, June 30, 1691, was admitted to the freedom of Rochester, Aug. 30, 1712, a Russia merchant, and the greatest importer in England of masts from Norway, Riga, and Petersburgh, for his Ma jesty’s navy. He married Hannah, daughter of John Swanson, of London, descend ed from the family of that name in Yorkshire, who died in 1745: he died atStrat- ford-Housc, April 6, 1749? and was buried, with his deceased wife under a monu ment in West Ham church-yard, Essex. Sir JOHN HENNIKER, Bart. before-mentioned, his second son, of Strat- * Philipot, Vill. Cantia, p. 13. f For the maritime towns within this (the Cinque Ports) government are mentioned here, Othoma, &c. &c. ” Gariononum, for Yarmouth, lying upon the Saxon shore, in Norfolk. And do not the barons of the ports enjoy a privilege upon the said coast, sending yearly two of their said barons, as their bailiffs, to join with them of Yarmouth, since they were incorporated in the administration of public justice during the free fishing fair, which thing they have been used to do before the town of Yarmouth was built. The fortress where the garrison appointed for the defence of this part of the Saxon shore was resident, is now called Burrough Castell, adjoining to theriverof Yare (in Suffolk), as Mr. Camden has observed in the description of that place.”— Philipot, p. 9. % Rot. Esch. ejus Ann. M. 94. § All these estates are now in the possession of Lord Henniker.
ford -House and Newton- Hall, both in the county of Essex, Great Bealing Hall, in the county of Suffolk, and of St. Peter’s, in the Isle of Thanet, in the county of Kent, was born June 15, 1724. He married, Feb. 24, 1747, Ann, eldest daughter and coheiress of Sir John Major aforesaid, who died July 18, 1792, by whom he had three sons and one daughter. He was high-sheriff for Essex in 1758; representative in parliament for the borough of Sudbury, in the county of Suffolk, in the first parliament of his present Majesty’s reign, and of the town and port of Dover, in Kent, in two parliaments ; he was made lieutenant and deputy warden of his Majesty’s . forest of Waltham in 1760, one of the deputy- lieutenants and magistrate for the county jof Essex, and F. R. S. He erected a battery, and mounted guns upon it, at Broad Stairs, Kent, in the beginning of the late war, and supplied watch clothing and a stand of arms for the defence of that part of the coast. In 1781, he succeeded his father-in- law in the dignity of Baronet ; and, in 1 800, he was created Lord Henniker, of Stratford-upon-Slaney, in the county of Wicklow, in the kingdom of Ireland. John, his eldest son, born April 19, 1752, was bred at Eton school, admitted of St. John’s College, Cambridge, in 1767, made master of arts by royal mandate in 1771, and a year or two after (adeundem), to the same rank in the University of Ox ford ; he was called to the bar by the Hon. Society of Lincoln’s Inn, 1777, chosen representative in parliament for the cinque port of New Romney, in the county of Kent, in 1785; he stood for the town and port of Dover, a cinque port in the same county, in 1790 ; took the surname and arms of Major, in compliance with the will of his maternal grandfather, Sir John Major, Bart, by royal sign-manual, Aug. 10, 1792 ; he was chosen for the borough of Steyning, in the county of Sussex, in 1793 ; rechosen, 1796 ; stood for Maidstone, in the county of Kent, in 1802. From June, 1798, till the 30th of April, 1802, he commanded a body of infantry, ninety in number, raised for the defence of the parish of Working- worth (of which, jointly with the Duchess of Chandos, he is patron and lord of the manor) and of the eight adjoining parishes, Southolt, Athelington, Horham, Wilby, Brandish, Tannington, Saxtead, and Bedfield. On the return of the peace, he presented his officers and men with a silver medal, with the represen tation of Worlingworth church and hall, and, on the reverse, one heart surround ed by nine hands, expressive of the number of the parishes, united in a Gordian knot, with appropriate embellishments*. The colours were presented by the Honourable Mrs. Henniker Major, to the corps, in 1798, and are now placed in the parish church of Worlingworth. He is a magistrate in the counties of Essex, Suffolk, and Hants, deputy-lieutenant of the two former, and was several years one of the chairmen of the quarter-sessions of the first-mentioned, which situation he quitted from want of health. He is a fellow of the Royal Society, the Society of Antiquaries, and Society of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, a Proprietor of the Royal Institution, a vice-president of the Mary-le-bone Dispensary, and a governor of several hospitals in the metropolis. He was one of the original sub scribers to the Association of the St. Alban’s Tavern, to promote and secure inter nal quiet, and one of the first to set onof Antiquaries. He married Emily, daughter of Robert Jones, of DufFryn, in Gla morganshire, Esq. whose grandfather served the office of high-sheriff” for that county. 2, Major, of London, merchant, born May 9, 1755, who married Mary, daugh ter of John Phoenix, of Rochester, in Kent, Esq. he died Feb. 2, 1789, leaving five children ; 1, John-Minet, born Nov. 20, 1777, of St. John’s College, Cam bridge, one of his Majesty’s deputy-lieutenants for the county of Essex, and magistrate for the same : he married Mary, daughter of the Rev. William Chafy, canon of Canterbury, by whom he has issue, Anne- Elizabeth, born Nov. 4, 1799, John, born Feb. 3, 1801, and Mary, born June 7, 1802; 2, Major-Jacob, born Aug. 19» 1780, a captain in the royal navy ; 3, Mary-Anne, born Nov. 13, 1778, wife, Nov. 10, 1798, of Francis-William Sykes, Esq. son and heir-apparent to Sir Francis Sykes, of Baseldon, in the county of Berks, Bart. by whom she has issue, Francis, born Aug. 8, 1799, William, born Sept. 25, 1800, and Catharine, born Oct. 17, 1801; 4, Elizabeth-Dale, died an infant; 5, Elizabeth-Dale, born Nov. 4, 1783, wife. Dec. 7, 1800, of John-Simon Harcourt, of Ankerwyke-House, in the county of Bucks, Esq. representative in the last parliament for the borough of Westbury, in the county of Wilts; 6, Brydges- Jackson, died an infant. 3, Anne-Elizabeth, only daughter of Baron Henniker. was married, May 24, 1787, to Ed ward- Augustus, late Earl of Aldborough, of the kingdom of Ire land, who died Jan. 2, 1801, without issue. She married secondly, George Powell, of Cloveller, in the county of Limerick, in the kingdom of Ireland, Esq. second and only surviving son of Colonel Richard Powell, of the same place, and of New Garden, in the liberties of the city of Limerick; which Richard served the of fice of high-sheriff” for that county in the year 17.53, and commanded, as lieute nant-colonel, one of the regiments of militia embodied for the protection of Ireland in the rebellion of 1745. He was lineally descended from John Powell, a younger branch of the family of Judge Powell, who lies interred under a stately monu ment in the chancel of the cathedral of Gloucester; which John being sent into Ireland after the re-settlement of that kingdom by King James the First, was in vested with the important office of surveyor-general, and was a member of the council for Munster ; and having acquired, property, and formed alliances with the families of Coote, Massey, Eyre, and Trench (who have all been raised to the Peer age of Ireland), settled at the castle of Cloveller, and died after the restoration of King Charles II. at an advanced age, and lies interred in the chancel of the church of Ballynard. The countess departed this life at Aldborough-IIouse, Dublin, on the 1 5th of July, 1 802, without issue. 4, Major-Gen. Brydges-Trecothick, was born Nov. 10, 1767, first lieutenant- colonel of the 9th dragoons, fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, member of the Royal Irish Academy, and of the Dublin Society, and one of the vice-presidents of the Western Dispensary ; he offered to raise a regiment of Irish dragoons in the beginning of the late war, for general service, and commanded as a volunteer three detachments of cavalry which left Ireland for the continent, but were after wards ordered to join the army under Lord Moira at Southampton. He was mem ber for Kildare during the whole of the last parliament of Ireland ; and married, Sept. 5, 1791, Mary, daughter of William Press, Esq. by whom he has issue, Ann, Frederick, Augustus, Aldborough-Brydges, Emily, John, and Elizabeth. foot voluntary contributions in 1794. He s author of Letters on Norman Tiles, and other papers read before the Society
ARMS — Quarterly: 1st and 4th, azure, three pillars of the Corinthian order, fluted, or, the top of each surmounted with a ball, of the last, for Major. — Or, on a cheveron, gules, three estoils of six points, argent, between two crescents, in chief, and an escallop, in base, argent, for Henniker. CREST — A dexter arm embowed, habited, azure, charged on the arm with a plate, cuffed, argent, holding in the hand, proper, a baton, or, for Major — An escallop shell, or, charged with an estoil, of six points, gules, for Henniker. SEATS — At Worlingvvorth and Thornham-Hall, both in Suffolk. Seats of Lord Henniker. Stratford-House and Newton-Hall, in Essex ; Great Bealing Hall, in the county of Suffolk; St. Peter’s, in the Isle of Thanet, in Kent; and Stratford-upon-Sla- ncy, in the county of Wicklow, in Ireland. 1, WILLIAM MAJOR 2, John Major, l6ty)=j=J. Peirson TABLE. r Samuel T 1, JOHN HENNIKER, ISiP I . 2, John Hennikerj= Elizabeth 3, John, 1709yE.Ttnnant,1717 3, John Henniker=f S. Long I. Sir John, 1781=j=E. Dale, 1780 I I. Anne, 17fl2 J. Henniker Elizabeth Henry, Duke of Chandos, 1771 4, John, 1749yH. Swanson, 1745 I ‘ II. Sir John, now Lord Henniker Ann Major, 1 7*^2 John E. Jones Major, 1789 M. Phoenix 1 Ann-Elizibeth, 1302 — , Earl of Aldborough, 1801 Brydges-Trecothick. M. Press J. Minet Major- Mary-Ann Eliz.- Eliz.-Dale Brydges-Jackson M. Chafy Jacob F.W.Sykes Dale J.S.Har- court t T-Z? I t- Ann-Elizabeth John Mary Francis Win. Ann, Frederick, Augustus Catharine Aldborough- Brydges, Emily, John, Elizabeth” (pages 316 – 320).