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Generation 6 Cheveley James Dennis  

Cheveley James Dennis   was born 12 January 1913 and followed his father's example and continued the tradition of building. He moved to Layer-de-la-Haye. He married Marianna Heyen from Germany on 2 March 1948. At the time Marianna was still a schoolgirl in Bremen, Germany. She met Cheveley in 1946 when he was in the British Army of Occupation. He was demobilized in June, but it took nearly two years of beauracracy and red tape before Marianna was given permission to enter the UK in January 1948. She says that “things were made difficult for war-brides at that time.”


Marianna wrote: “I met with no hostility from the Dennis family – especially not from father-in-law James. His wife Ada was rather more disgruntled and not just with me because I was German, also Fay from Luton. She really resented the fact that both her sons got married within a month of each other without places of their own. Understandable, I too would have been extremely put out had two mature sons billeted their brides on me. Accommodation (just after the war) was very hard to find at the time, so much having been destroyed by the Blitz."


In order to have some separate lives, Pat and Fay were given the breakfast room at Heath House, moved in a cooker, but still had to use the kitchen for washing dishes etc, and had, of course, one of the four bedrooms.


Family tradition said that when Cheveley returned from World War Two with Marianna his father was livid, and when Cheveley voted Labour at the elections after the War, James was so enraged he threw his son Cheveley out of the house and they had to live in the shed at the bottom of the garden at Seaview, that had previously been built to house Alfred Archer Dixon's pony and trap. This is all fanciful mis-information and I am grateful for Marianna putting the record straight. She points out that the election was in 1945, Cheveley was still in the Army , hadn’t yet met Marianna. “James was a fair and kindly man and would not have done anything so petty. Moving to the orchard was our own idea. Cheveley and I did indeed live in the beach huts at Heath House – not in the pony and trap stable at Sea View. Several dismantled beach huts were stored in the yard, they had to be removed from Mersea to make way for sea-defences at the start of the War. When Cheveley came out of the Army, he erected one of them in the orchard and made it into a den. He replaced one wooden gable end with a stone and stable brick wall, chimney and fireplace. Along one wall were shelves for books, radio,  and ornaments. It was carpeted and had a couch, armchairs, round table and was quite cosy. After we were married he put another hut against it to form an L-shape, cut a doorway through, connected mains water.  In it we had a cooker, sink, table, two chairs  and cupboards. We slept in one of the bedrooms in the house and had use of the bathroom."


Mariann also tole me that ,,,"We found a house of our own fairly quickly, an old game-keepers cottage in Charity Wood, Layer-de-la-Haye. It was derelict – the Dennis firm had been instructed to pull it down and clear the site. We asked the owner – Colonel J Round of Birch Hall Estate, to buy it instead. After some hesitation (he didn’t really want outsiders in his wood), he agreed to sell it for £200. That was for one acre of land – the cottage was free. It sold for £140,000 in 1988. It took us over a year of hard weekend work to make it habitable. Early 1950 we moved in – though it still had no bathroom and only an outside loo – urgent jobs to be done! Later we added two bedrooms after Steven was born on 28 April 1951."


Cheveley died October 31st 1989 after suffering with an illness for some time.









Cheveley and and Marianna had two children,


Generation 7.1  Stephen Gerhardt Dennis

Stephen is the eldest son of Cheveley Dennis and Marianna Heyen. He was born on the 28 April, 1951. He married Jane Berry on the 14 July 1973 but the marriage didn't last. He later married a second time to Moira Lavender, a pharmacist. Stephen is one of the world's leading cardiologists and is (?) presently working in South Africa. Stephen and Moira have two children.

Nichola Dennis born 7 November 1983

Kimberley Dennis born 13 December 1985.

No photographs and no contact have yet been made with Stephen.


Generation 7.2 Andrea Geraldine Dennis  17 July 1959 to 26 Jan 1962.


On October 31, peacefully in St Helena Hospice. Cheveley James, aged 76 years.

Beloved husband, father and grandfather.

Funeral service at St John the Baptist Church, Layer de la Haye, on Wednesday, November 8, at 2.15pm. Followed by cremation at Colchester.

Family flowers only, but donations if desired for St Helena Hospice may be sent

to W.H. Shephard Funeral Directors, 93/94 High Street, Colchester

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