Dunnster is a name of ancient Anglo-Saxon
origin and comes from the family once having 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 Dunnster family
The surname Dunnster 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
Early History of the Dunnster family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dunnster research.Another 113 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1609, 1659, 1640, 1618, 1684, 1660 and 1679 are included under the topic Early Dunnster History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Dunnster Spelling Variations
Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations
were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Dunnster family name include Dunster, Dunstar, Dunstarr, Dunsterr and others.
Early Notables of the Dunnster family (pre 1700)
Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dunnster Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Dunnster family to the New World and Oceana
For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland
, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Dunnster surname or a spelling variation of the name include: Robert Dunstarr who settled in Barbados in 1635; Catherine Dunstar settled in Annapolis Maryland in 1726; Henry Dunster settled in Cambridge Massachusetts in 1648.