The Dennis family descends in the male line from the Swifts of Herefordshire, kinsfolk of both Jonathan Swift and John Dryden. In the late 18th century, a prudent marriage to the sole heiress of the Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer brought the extensive Dennis estates in Kerry, Cork and Dublin to the family. A similarly lucrative marriage settlement in 1810 introduced Thomas Dennis to West Wicklow when he succeeded to the Pendred estate at Fortgranite outside Baltinglass. Further marriages to the Bakers of Tipperary, the Crosbies of Kerry and the Handcocks of Westmeath further increased their social network. Amongst the dramatis personae of relatives were the Shakespearian scholar Edgar Flower, the artist Kathleen Marescaux, the Crimean War veteran Major John FitzThomas Dennis and the Indian tea magnate Maurice FitzGerald Sandes. In the early 20th century, the inventive Colonel Meade Dennis pioneered the concepts of radio-transmission and submarine detection at his office in Fortgranite. His son and heir, General Meade Dennis, served as principal artillery commander in Montgomery’s successful campaign against Rommel’s army in North Africa.
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