Richard Dumbrell Ninth Great Back to Page Map
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Richard Dumbrell is presumed to be fourth child of John and Elizabeth, and was at any rate the youngest son at the time that he inherited his father's property. He was not christened in Wivelsfield, and no record has yet been found of his birth. It is possible that he was baptised in Cuckfield as his father also had connections there, and if this is the case, we may never know the date of his baptism as the Cuckfield registers before 1598 are lost. Richard married Mary, daughter of John and Jone Ridge, possibly around 1596, but again we cannot be sure of the date as this has not been found in parish records. Mary Ridge was probably born in 1568, the fourth child of this well-to-do family from Iford, about two miles south of Lewes. When John Ridge died in 1612, his son-in-law Richard Dumbrell was an assessor of his property which was valued at more than £655, no small sum in those days.

More details on the Ridge family here.

Mary and Richard had the following children:

Mary christened 19 Mar 1598
John c. 1599
Richard 9 Nov 1600; buried 22 Nov 1600
Elizabeth 6 Dec 1601
Francis c. 1602
Richard 8 Mar 1604
Susan 7 Dec 1606; buried 24 Mar 1608
Anne 4 Jun 1609

Exact dates -Wivelsfield parish records.

Richard must have been a pillar of the Wivelsfield community, a churchwarden in 1609, and a juror on the manorial courts of Houndean (1609-1642), Keymer (1605-1617) and Portslade (1627-1641). He even presided over the Court of Houndean for one meeting in 1609, and was a reeve of that manor at the time of the enclosure of Chailey common, when each copyholder agreed to pay a fine of 6d for each acre held. Sometime before this, he had appeared at the Cuckfield manor court, as a juror in 1597 and on September 30th 1601, and continued to attend infrequently in this capacity until at least 1612. This regular attendance at local Manor Courts certainly appears to give the lie to the assumption that people of the time did not move far from their home village. Certainly roads were not good, especially in the winter, but this did not mean that people did not travel at all. To attend Court at Portslade, for example, Richard Dumbrell would have travelled more than twelve miles, negotiating the South Downs on the way.

Back at home as the churchwarden at Wivelsfield, Richard was in trouble with the church council for failing to repair the churchyard fence in October 1609, and the churchyard itself was in a poor state at this time, by Richard's own admission. 'Our churchyarde is in default', he said at one meeting, 'but who is to repaye it we cannot sureley tell'. The other churchwarden at the time was Edmund Attree, owner of Great Otehall and Lord of the Manor. In 1612, Richard was granted the right to cart away from his land three loads of straw, for which he paid 12 pence, presumably towards the upkeep of the parish roads.

Richard's wife Mary died in Wivelsfield at the beginning of August 1636, and he remarried just a year later. His new wife, whom he wed in Keymer church, on August 31st 1637, was Margaret Blunden, a widow of the parish. Born Margaret Virgo, of a family very prolific in this part of mid-Sussex, she had married George Blunden at Keymer in February 1628. By now, Richard could have been around sixty-five. His new wife may also have been past child-bearing years and there were no children from the marriage. A further example of Richard's respectability in the community is that he asked John Godley, a local landholder and tailor in the City of London, to stand surety at his wedding to Margaret Blunden. The following year, when John Godley himself was married, Richard Dumbrell reciprocated the favour.

Richard was buried at Wivelsfield on June 29th 1648.

Extracts courtesy of Graham Johnson, see link on summary page.

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