Show ContentsDunnstar History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Dunnstar surname lived among the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. The name comes from when they lived in the parish of Dunster in the county of Somerset. The place-name is derived from the Old English word Dunntorr, which refers to a rocky peak.

Early Origins of the Dunnstar family

The surname Dunnstar was first found in Somerset at Dunster, home of Dunster Castle, a former motte and bailey castle, now a country house owned by the National Trust, which operates it as a tourist attraction. The location has been fortified since the late Anglo-Saxon period and the by the 11th century, William de Mohun had constructed a timber castle on the site.

After the siege of Dunster Castle at the end of the English Civil War, much of the castle was destroyed but was later remodeled to fit Victorian tastes. One of the first records of the name was William de Mohun of Dunster (c.1090-c.1155) who was a favourite of Empress Matilda, daughter of King Henry I, and a loyal supporter of her in the war against King Stephen.

He earned the epithet the "Scourge of the West"and after the war, Empress Matilda granted him the title Earl of Somerset, in 1141. His father, William was Sheriff of Somerset in 1084.

Early History of the Dunnstar family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dunnstar research. Another 57 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1609, 1659, 1640, 1618, 1684, 1660, 1679, 1675, 1754, 1675, 1687 and 1678 are included under the topic Early Dunnstar History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dunnstar Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Dunnstar include Dunster, Dunstar, Dunstarr, Dunsterr and others.

Early Notables of the Dunnstar family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Henry Dunster (1609-1659), born in Lancashire, England, he emigrated to America in 1640 and became the first president of Harvard University. He was the son of Henry Dunster of Balehoult, Bury, Lancashire. [1] Another Henry Dunster (1618-1684), was an English merchant...
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dunnstar Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Dunnstar family

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants: Robert Dunstarr who settled in Barbados in 1635; Catherine Dunstar settled in Annapolis Maryland in 1726; Henry Dunster settled in Cambridge Massachusetts in 1648.

  1. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print on Facebook