Dunstable Curiosities

I’ve been looking again at Dunstable, a small town about 35 miles north of London, because I’m curious why Howell (1887), Burke, Whittemore (1897), and Mather (1913) among others, had the idea that Ralph and other American Daytons originated there. The period of interest in the search for Ralph’s parents is somewhere between 1560 to 1610, assuming that Ralph was born around 1588.

British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/beds/vol3/pp349-368 seems like a good place to start. More precisely, British History Online>Victoria County History>Bedfordshire>A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 3 Parishes: Dunstable. The registers previous to 1812 are in four books: (1) 1558 to 1749; (2) 1749 to 1812, marriages ending in 1754; (3) marriages 1754 to 1802; and (4) marriages 1802 to 1812.

Many Daytons are listed in Bedfordshire records for the time period of our search. Referring to Bedfordshire Parish Registers Volume XLII, Dunstable: 1558-1812 (1951) at https://archive.org/stream/bedfordshirepari42bedf/bedfordshirepari42bedf_djvu.txt , some baptisms include Christian Dyton in 1583, Eliz Dighton in 1588, Marian Dyton in 1589, Emery Dyton in 1593, Helen Dytonne baptized 1595 and most intriguing, a Ralph Dytonne baptized at Dunstable in 1580. There are also others listed under variants of “Dayton” so I imagine a more thorough search may uncover other interesting characters.

Some burials include an Alice Dyton in 1594, Emery Diton in 1601, Ralph Dighton in 1618, Alice Dyton (wife of Emery Dyton) in 1619, and also between 1591 and 1601 we find Rob Ditton and Alice Dytton in Cardington and Eliz Dyton, Alice Dyton and Jn Diton in Dunstable.

I should also mention that in a brief search, a place called “Dytonne” was discovered in Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, in the section called Recusant Roll for West Derby Hundred, 1641 on page 242 of the online copy. No attempt has yet been made to locate Dytonne.

Another resource Kent Online Parish Clerks; Dutch Refugees in Maidstone, 1585 (2013), claims that a Peter Daton and his wife were listed with Dutch refugees, described as “[a] stranger dwelling in Maidstone 1585.” Doesn’t that pique your interest?

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