The suburb of Denham Court is shared with the Campbelltown LGA. The suburb has been known as Denham Court since the homestead of the same name, owned by Judge Advocate Sir Richard Atkins, was built in 1814. Atkins named his property after his family home in Denham, England. In 1844 Denham Court became a parish after a successful petition. In November 1970, the NSW Geographical Names Board proposed naming part of the area within Liverpool territory as ‘Edmondson Park’, while the remainder would simply be ‘Denham’. It was gazetted as a locality called Denham on 7 April 1972. Later, Campbelltown Council insisted on adding ‘Court’ with the full title ‘Denham Court’ being approved in 1976 (‘Denham Court’ as a name was proposed in a Government Gazette dated 19 December 1975).
Colonial Land Grants
The suburb of Denham Court is named for the 810 hectare grant given to Sir Richard Atkins in 1810. The Judge Advocate for New South Wales, he named his property Denham Court after his ancestral home in Buckinghamshire. Sir Richard owed a substantial debt to Captain Richard Brooks, so he gave the property to Brooks in payment of the debt soon after he received the grant. Brooks brought his wife Christiana and family to Australia in 1814, however did not immediately live at Denham Court, residing in Sydney Town until 1825.
Denham Court residence, 42 Chatterton St, Denham Court, 9 August 1978
Brooks family played a leading role in the district; they established a small school just outside their gate for local children and Samuel Marsden preached regularly in their bar until St Luke’s Church was built. Christiana was a perceptive social observer who kept a diary for several years and wrote many letters. She ranged widely over many topics, from the health of her many children and grandchildren to arguments for the compensation of Aboriginal people who had lost their hunting grounds.
The Brooks family entertained regularly and on a large scale. Here Christiana describes a dinner, a picnic, a light supper and a dance.
“A party of sixteen from Sydney were joined here by our Country neighbours, and we sat down to dinner forty in number, besides our fifteen servants in the kitchen. An on Thursday we had a picnic on Mount B.......; from which place we returned to a Rural Syllabub on the lawn and notwithstanding all previous fatigue a quadrille of sixteen was supported with great glee until midnight.”
Richard Brooks died in 1833 after being gored by a bull. Christiana died in 1835, and as part of her estate, she left instructions for a chapel to be built. St Mary the Virgin church was built as a private chapel by the Brooks family, over the vault containing the bodies of Richard and Christiana. Her daughter, also named Christiana, inherited Denham Court and came to live there. She and her husband, Thomas Blomfield, had 12 children plus three nieces and nephews who were added to their family in 1839 after her sister Honoria died.
The chapel is within the Liverpool Council area and is believed to be the oldest private place of worship in Australia which is still used by local people. The house of Denham Court also still stands, in the Campbelltown Council section of the former Denham Court estate.
Denham Court Post Office
Opened on 1 May 1862 and closed in 1882.
St Mary the Virgin Anglican Church
St Mary the Virgin Church, Denham Court
The Church of St. Mary the Virgin was built originally as a private Memorial Chapel to the memory of Richard Brooks (1765-1833) of Denham Court. The chapel was completed in 1838 and is one of the few church buildings in New South Wales built in the early Regency Gothic style, a design appropriate and suitable for the rustic setting, which remains to this day. The architect John Verge, in his day, was probably second only in importance to Francis Greenway. The church is listed as Classified by the National Trust and Registered in the National /Estate Listings and is also a Place of Heritage Significance under Liverpool City's Environmental Plan.
St Mary's Church is situated in Church Road, Denham Court and is one of the earliest private chapel buildings extant in Australia and is the oldest former private chapel still in use for regular services. The first interments at St Mary the Virgin were Richard and then Christiana Brooks before any graveyard existed. The chapel was erected over their graves in a vault under the sanctuary.
Wilson, Hardy. (1916). Denham Court, Ingleburn, New South Wales, 1916 Retrieved March 21, 2022, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-134447803
Searle, E. W. (1900). Aerial view of Denham Court, New South Wales, ca. 1945 Retrieved March 21, 2022, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-141971634
Shaw, E. (1924). Item 16: ''Macquarie Fields House', 'Denham Court', 'Casula', 1924 / Photographer E.G. Shaw. Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.
Macdonald, G. (1970). Historic Denham Court, Campbelltown Road, Ingleburn, N.S.W. / contents compiled by the owner, G.F. Macdonald. Ingleburn, N.S.W.: S.n.
Liddiard, A. (1995). The story of St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, Denham Court, N.S.W.. N.S.W.
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