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Denys Horton [h.]

Denys Horton was the second child of Denys Horton & Gertrude Wall born April 4th, 1918 at 74 Dagger Lane, West Bromwich, Staffs.

Denys’ childhood was spent at 74 Dagger Lane. He attended West Bromwich Grammar School where his father was senior master. He was awarded the William Poulton medal for excellence in science on November 7th, 1934 & again on October 30th, 1935. He was a keen sportsman & excelled at football & was always a keen supporter of West Bromwich Albion.

Denys studied medicine at the University of Birmingham & qualified in 1940 with an M.B., Ch.B. It was during this time that he met Stella, his future wife, at a dance, another of his hobbies! This meeting came about because Denys was visiting his father in Tamworth where his father’s school had been evacuated during WW2.  Stella was a domestic science teacher at Tamworth Girls High School which was hosting the evacuated pupils.

At the age of 23 Denys married Stella Kathleen Fry on May 3rd, 1941 at the Parish church of St Edmund, Roundhay, Leeds. Denys was a medical practitioner & Stella was a teacher. Witnesses at the wedding were Albert E Fry (Stella’s father), Anthony Fry (her younger brother) & Gertrude Horton (Denys’ mother). Stella was the first child of Albert Edward Fry & Rose Marion Barnett, born January 6th, 1914 at 10 Bentcliffe Lane, Leeds.

Denys c1941

In the war Denys (known as Peter) served as a surgeon lieutenant in the Royal Naval Voluntary Reserve & was mainly involved with working with convoys in the North Sea. He served on destroyers, e.g. HMS Vanquisher, & with the Royal Marines. During the war years Peter & Stella lived for a while at 33 The Drive, Tynemouth with their first son Peter David, born September 1942. Whilst on leave in 1942 Peter went rabbit shooting which almost cost him his life – he was running down hill when he fell & ruptured his intestine.

In 1945, second son John Denys was born in Leeds where they were living at 3 The View, Roundhay. After Peter was demobbed, they moved in 1946 to Billinghay, Lincolnshire where Peter joined Dr Constance Hill in general practice. The family lived initially at Jasmine Cottage, Billinghay, then in 1948 at Sunny Ridge, Billinghay, where Richard Jeremy was born in 1949. In 1950 they moved to Gordon House, Billinghay where they lived for almost 30 years. Their home was attached to the surgery which meant that Peter (& Stella!) was always on hand for patients.

Left: John, Richard, Denys & David at Gordon House. Right: Denys & Stella at John's graduation 1966

Family life was of utmost importance to Peter & Stella. Family holidays centred around caravanning in both the UK & Europe, including trips to France, Norway & Yugoslavia. Gordon house had a large & beautiful garden & Stella won prizes for flowers and vegetables at local shows. They enjoyed travel – eg to Game Parks in Africa, to USA, Tobago, Southern Europe, UK, as well as walking, trout & salmon fishing & swimming. Another of their hobbies was studying wildlife, particularly birds – Stella built a hide to enable her to study & film kingfishers at Tattershall. As well as being a skilled fly fisherman Peter was an excellent shot & loved to go rough shooting with his dogs in the Lincolnshire Fenns. Political life was not ignored, with service on the local medical committee & chairmanship of Lincoln Medical Society.

At Gordon House after good day's shooting & at Banchory on River Dee with salmon

In 1977 they retired to ‘Copperfield’ in Canwick, Lincoln where they continued to be keen gardeners growing their own fruit & vegetables for many years. Peter & Stella celebrated their diamond wedding in 2001.

Left: presentation on Denys' retirement from Billinghay 1977 - Dr & Mrs Bill Kerr with Denys & Stella. Right: relaxing at Copperfield with grandchildren Robin & Kate, 1981

Stella died on January 10th, 2003 aged 89 at Canwick. Peter died on March 26th, 2003 aged 84 at Lincoln County Hospital, & both funeral services were at the Lincoln Crematorium.

The children of Denys Horton & Stella Kathleen Fry were:

h. Peter David Horton born at Horsforth, Leeds
h. John Denys Horton born at Headingley, Leeds
h. Richard Jeremy Horton born at Billinghay, Lincoln


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