The name of Dennett signifies a "narrow valley". The name was spelled with one "t" by all early Dennett's, and is also spelled by some of the later generations. Just when the other "t" was added is unknown.
From time to time attempts have been made to trace the connection between the Dennett family of this country and those of the same name in England, but without success.
Mr. Charles Dennett, a native of Lyman, Maine, whose business along in the 70's called him to England, made a careful search for the missing link between the two ends of the family chain.
According to his investigation, the family is of Norman origin.
Hugh d'Anet had come over with William the Conqueror as an officer in
his army, and had large estates conferred upon him.
Peter d'Anet, Abbot of Constance, was appointed Preceptor to Louis IX. He was an author of some consideration, whose works are still extant, and some of his descendents are still found in that neighbirhood. One of the royal residences in Normandy does, or did a few years since, retain the family name of d'Anet.
There are branches of the Dennett family at Newport, Isle of Wight, and in Sussex County. Their occupation is farming. Mr. John Leighton Dennett of Hurst Pierpoint, Sussex, is Lord of the Manor; owns six hundred acres of land, and holds title deeds of the estate to the Dennetts of 600 years.
Mr. Charles Dennett also visited another gentleman by the name of William Hugh Dennett of Worthens and Stonington, Sussex County, gentleman, soliciter and found him a cordial and agreeable person.
The name of a Dennet of Denne-at is a name of great antiquity in the Parish of Woodmincote, Sussex.
Agnes de la Dene occurs in 1598; and Thomas at Dene was a Parishoner at the time of Nona Return, 1341; Thomas Denet oas Prebenary of Herefield in 1478.
It is not probable that the pioneer Dennetts gave any thought or attention to Coat of Arms, or such ornamental frills of society; their descendents, however, have looked the matter up as a thing of historical and genealogical interest.
There are several different Coats of Arms to the name Dennett in the books on heraldry. The one held to be bestowed on the probable ancestral family of the American Dennetts is a shield with a sable field and sprinkled with drops of rain. The center is ermine and the crest is a boar's head, white, erased proper.
Cuildam's History of Heraldry says of the Dennett Coat of Arms, that the bearings are both ancient and honorable, as becometh a Christian Soldier.
The story is that the Denets were officers under the Emporer Marcus Aurelius, in whose army were some of the primitive Christians. As they were about to come to battle with a much larger army of infidels, the Romans were much distressed from want of water. Immediately before joining in battle, the Romans dropped on their knees and implored the God of Battle for success.
While in the act of prayer, as tremendous storm of thunder and rain began, that dismayed the infidels and refreshed the famishing Romans; the infidels, believing the thunder to be the results of the prayers. In the confusion, the Romans fell upon them and were victorious. The Twelfth Legion were henceforth styled the "Fulman Atrix" or the Thundering Legion.
The Coat of Arms is supposed to be designed in the allusion to this incident; the falling of rain on the shield representing the providentail shower that came in the answer to prayer, and the motto "Per Dei Providentiam" in memory of God's providence is supplying them with the timely shower whereby the infidel foe was discomfitedf.
(Gens. 1 and 2, Gen. Dict. Maine and New Hampshire.)