logo: mole

The Dumvilles of Hunton
and other Dumville, Dunville and Domville families

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to read the News
at the foot of this page
Joseph Dumville (1862-1959) and family
Joseph Dumville (1862-1959)
(centre) and family


Welcome to our website! Are you a Dumville yourself? Or do you have some other connection or special interest? If so, we'd love to hear from you. Please do e-mail, and/or write in our Guest Book.

It's been great fun researching the Tree, and planning the website. We've already found out a lot, but there's masses more to add and discover. Not least, of course, the origins of the Grand Old Molecatcher himself, Robert Dumville. We know he spent most of his life in Hunton, north Yorkshire, where he died in 1857 aged anything from 90 to 105, depending on your source! He married twice, and had at least 12 children, whose births span some 41 years, from 1789 to 1830.

Many of Robert's sons and grandsons were molecatchers too. Finding so many molecatchers on the Family Tree was a welcome change from the usual 'ag lab' (agricultural labourer). Hence, as you'll have guessed, our choice of website logo and our interest in the little velvet gentlemen.

Now for the mystery. Try as we (and very many others) may, we can't discover who Robert's parents were or where he came from. In the 1851 census he said he was born in Masham, north Yorkshire, but there's no trace of him in the records there or in adjoining parishes. All we know for sure about his father is what appears in an 1891 biography of his son Joseph: he 'was a farmer and lifelong resident of England. He married, and reared a family of industrious sons and daughters, who settled in different parts of their native land'.

The www.familysearch.org website gives Robert's place of birth as Lurgan, Ireland, and his father as Robert Dumvill (c1735-1819). Other sources give his father as William Dumvill (c1740-1793), brother of Robert Dumvill (c1735-1819). This is all unverified speculation. (See note.) However the chances are high that he is linked to the well-documented Cheshire line of Dumvilles/Domvilles, which descends from Hugh of Avranches (near Donville, Normandy) and Oxton, who came over to England with William the Conqueror in 1066.

But when did he come to north Yorkshire, and why? And what is his connection with other similarly-named people we have found in villages near Masham and Hunton? Especially, for instance, John Dumell (c1696-1790), who lived at Morton Flatts, just across the fields from Bramper Farm. The farm was tenanted by Thomas Smothwaite, whose daughter Margery married Robert. Can you help solve the mystery of Robert's origins?

Thank you to everyone who has helped with the research. Special thankyous to Roma (Dumville) Cresswell, to Clifford Dumville of Ottawa, Canada, to his sister Elaine, and to the late Harry Dumville of Stowe, Vermont, USA. Thank you too to the Grand Old Molecatcher himself, Robert Dumville, without whom none of us would be here!

We hope you enjoy the website.

Jill Holroyd (research and text) and Miles (website)

Note: We apologise for any errors or inaccuracies. Please let us know so that we can correct them. You may be interested to know that publishing the personal data of living family members on the internet is exempt from the provisions of the 1998 Data Protection Act, section 36, 'domestic purposes' exemption. However, we realise that some people may prefer some or full anonymity. We have therefore included only limited information on living people (birth and marriage dates and places, and spouse's names), and included more information only if we have permission. If we have inadvertently included something you would prefer excluded, please tell us at once so that we can put matters right.


An essay about William Gustavus Dunville (1900-1956), of the Dunville family of Northern Ireland, has been added to the website.

John Spencer Dunville VC (1896-1917) was commemorated in 2017, one hundred years after his actions in the First World War during which he was fatally wounded, and for which he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. He was taking part in a raid on enemy lines near Épehy in northern France on 25th June 1917 and died from his wounds the next day, 26th June 1917. See John Spencer Dunville VC (1896-1917) and photographs of the commemoration ceremony held on 27th April 2017.

A recently received photograph of Tommy Thompson, the gamekeeper of Redburn House, has been added to Gordon Thompson's Stories of the Dunville Family and Redburn House.

Can you solve the puzzle? Is Robert Dumville (c1767-1857) related to John Dumell (c1696-1790)? The pages are normally reached by clicking 'The People', 'Generation 23' and 'The People', 'Generation 21'.