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My research started as a result of my step-
The Dummer families would appear to have originated independently in England and
Germany. The following text deals mainly with the Dummers of English origin, which
have been well researched. For information on Dummers in the USA ( who could be
of either German or English origin) the reader is referred to David Andrew Dummer
of Washington who co-
The Dummers of Dummer
The Dummers of Dummer and Pendomer form the oldest of the English groups. Dummer
is a very small (but nowadays desirable) village in the northern part of Hampshire.
As was the custom of the day, the principal landowner and Lord of the Manor took
his name from the that of the village. The name of the village is said to be derived
from Dun (meaning hill -
The Pyldren Dummers
Although the mainstream of the Dummers died out with the death of William in 1593, it is highly likely that branches of the family continued to exist. The ‘Pyldren’ Dummers may be one of them.
The ‘Pyldren’ Dummers can be traced back to 1523 when Richard Pyldren alias Dummer appears at Owslebury married to Maude or Matilda Dummer. Maude was probably the daughter and heiress of John Dummer, a freeholder and representative of the King at Overton, near Dummer village. The Dummer name was obviously considered important enough for Richard Pyldren’s descendants to drop the Pyldren name in favour of Dummer. The ‘Pyldren’ Dummers were to prosper in numbers and wealth over the succeeding centuries, and their descendants live today in Great Britain, Australia and the United States.
Charles was in many ways a remarkable man. In 1857, in his early twenties, he married
Julie Isaline Susanna Marie Martin from Belmont-
The move to Portsmouth
Times must have been hard for Charles and Julie.
He had taken up the trade of millwright, responsible for the maintenance and repair of mill machinery. There could not have been a great prospect of work, and Charles needed to support his future family. Not too many miles away at Portsmouth, however, the Navy was in the process of great expansion of the Royal Dockyard to support the new steam battleships then being built. There must have been a shortage of men who were experienced in dealing with machinery. A few months after the death of his firstborn, Charles moved to Central Street, Landport, Portsmouth, taking with him his wife, his father James and his mother.Old James died almost immediately, at the age of 65,just a few weeks before the birth of Charles' second daughter Susanna Marie. Ten months later Charles' mother died. It had been a traumatic 2 years.
Susanne Marie, John Saggers, Arctic Expeditions & the Royal Yacht
Young Susanne Marie eventually married to John Langston Saggers. John had been in the Navy since he was 16, and at.the time of the wedding he was having his second spell of duty on the Royal Yacht HMS Osborne. Three years before he married Susanne he had experienced a dramatic and traumatic voyage on HMS Discovery, a wooden stores ship, when it escorted HMS Alert on Captain Nares’ Arctic expedition, attempting to trace the coast of Ellesmere Island and Greenland, and trying to assess the chances of reaching the North Pole over the ice of the polar sea. The men suffered horribly from scurvy and the ice.
However, he and Susanne were able to produce 8 children, two of them bearing the names Charles Dummer Saggers and Benjamin Dummer Saggers.
In later years he is recorded in the 1901 Census as a shopkeeper at 61 Wingfield Street, Landport, Portsmouth. He died in 1921.
After Susanna Marie was born Charles and Julie were to have 3 more children, Lydie, Ebenezer, and Benjamin, Charles took over from his father James the interest in family history. He also wrote poetry, though not of a particularly high standard. His verses in honour of his wife are, however, particularly touching, especially the latter ones apparently added after her death (see Miscellanea). He would cycle for miles on his old bicycle, one of his interests being the recording of religious verse from gravestones. Later in life Charles and Julie travelled to Switzerland and visited the former home of Julie It was an emotional visit, but sadly Julie’s parents were no longer alive to greet them, her old father having died but three years earlier.
Julie died in 1897. Two years later Charles married Emma Betinson. In old age Charles conducted a correspondence on family history with Joseph Dummer, Secretary of the Sons of Dummer Academy in Massachusetts; Mike Dummer holds his letters.
Charles' son Ebenezer followed his father into the Dockyard at Portsmouth, possibly working in the same gang as his father, a common practice in those days. Ebenezer was to live to the ripe old age of 82. Muke Dummer remembers him as a passive old man with a grey walrus moustache in a chair in the corner at the house in Gladstone Street, which by that time had been the family home for about 40 years. By his wife Emma Suter he had produced 5 children, the fourth of which was Mike’s father Charles(3060).
Ebenezer’s eldest child was Lydie, born 1880. Lydie married Harry West, a railway
policeman from Battersea. Sadly, Harry was one of the many millions to die in that
senseless holocaust, the Great War of 1914-
He served in the Royal Engineers as a Sapper and his details are recorded with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
WEST, HARRY JAMES
Rank: Sapper Regiment: Royal Engineers Unit Text: 509th Field Coy.
Age: 37 Date of Death: 21/03/1918 Service No: 519658
Son of James Gibbons West and Mary Ann West; husband of Lydie Annette Louise West, of 102, Gladstone St., Mile End, Portsmouth.
Reference: Bay 1
Cemetery: ARRAS MEMORIAL
As the only daughter, Lydie eventually came to look after the aged Ebenezer and Emma (and for a short while
too, the 5 year old Michael Dummer and his brother). In 1941, in a later World War, Lydie and the widowed
Ebenezer were blitzed out of the family home in Gladstone Street and moved to a tiny ancient cottage in Portfield, Chichester. Nearly twenty years later, before she died in that same cottage, she passed on to the author (Michael Dummer) the family history papers of her grandfather and great grandfather which were the foundations upon which this work is built. Author: Michael Dummer
Interestingly, at the time that Lydie and old Ebenezer were blitzed out of Portsmouth
Michael and his brother were living with them, their father being in the army and
mother ill in hospital. On the night the house was blitzed all of them, as ’refugees’,
had to go to a local cinema (The Savoy) and then on to a school where they were fed.
The next day Auntie Lydie took them to Chichester, where they spent the next 24
hours staying with a Mrs Ethel Cole and family. Then Dad came and fetched us boys
and took us back to Portsmouth to be looked after by our maternal grand-
Susanne Marie DUMMER married John Langston SAGGERS. As he was in the Royal Navy they lived in Portsmouth, where their daughter Ethel Lydia Maud was born.
She married Edward John COLE – they lived in Sussex.They had 3 children -
His life and Family
The Sussex Dummers
The Sussex Dummers can be traced back to the end of the 17th century in the Midhurst
area. Although Midhurst is close to Hampshire and only 23 miles from Dummer village
it is not possible to prove that they sprang from the Hampshire Dummers -
On 14 April 1691 John and Mary Dummer took their baby girl Elizabeth to be baptised at Heyshott parish church, near Midhurst in Sussex, about 18 miles from the South Coast and just 8 miles from the Hampshire border
As far as we can tell, young Elizabeth Dummer was the second child of John and Mary. It is likely that she had a big brother called William, although where and when he was born we cannot say. If she had any older siblings none of them have as yet been identified. Elizabeth’s baptism is the earliest event that has been traced for what became an extensive family centred around Midhurst.
Where her mother, and more importantly, her father, came from we are unable to say. The earlier parish registers of Midhurst and the local villages record nobody of the name of Dummer.
Elizabeth’s father John fathered seven more children before he died in 1711. His son William had by then turned twenty, and it was probably he that supported the widowed Mary and her still young family until she married again eighteen months later to John Browne of the same village. William, by now described as a ’sivemaker' (sieve maker), stood as surety for his mother.
William himself married 20 months later, to Mary Oliver at Rogate, and started his own family. Their daughter Mary(3011) died very young, but their son Richard(3010) lived to a grand age. This was in spite of what must have been a hard life, for he was 'buried poor' in 1793.
Probably Richard worked on the Cowdray estate, because by this time the family was Catholic, the baptisms and confirmations of their eight children being recorded in the registers of the Cowdray chapel. Catholics had problems at that time, and gaps in the registers are a direct result.
The fourth and last son of Richard was John, baptised at Easebourne where he was also confirmed in 1761 (indicating that the Catholic Mission was still operating there at that time). John survived until 1811, by which time his wife Hannah had given him five offspring.
John had three other sons, William(3036), John, and James. William died without issue, but was active with his brother James in trying to claim the Cranbury Estate from the Chamberlaynes (see Michael Dummer’s History “Miscellanea”). It was William who dug up the lawn at Cranbury Park in an attempt to get arrested and obtain the desired publicity for the claim. Later he cut down a tree at North Stoneham Park for which he was arrested but much to his frustration the magistrate discharged
James was born in 1793 and at the age of 23 James married Sarah Court, three years his junior, at Bramshott. He was variously a miller at, Louden Mill Haslemere, North Mill Midhurst, Bex Mill Heyshott, and finally, at Stedham Mill.
It seems likely that James was the first of
the Sussex Dummers to become interested in his
ancestors, and attempted to seek out a link with
the 'Pyldren' Dummers
His input to the family history is worthy of note.
(Michael Dummer has a letter to him from Stephen
of Horton Heath, ancestor of the Australian branch of the
Pyldren Dummers, dated 1847
His detailed and lengthy paper on the rights of the
Dummer family reveal him to be an intelligent and
educated person, unexpected in a miller
James’ youngest child was Charles, born 1835 and baptised at Midhurst. At the time of the 1841 census six year old Charles was living with his eldest brother and the latter’s new wife at Cocking, but no mention is made of the parents. Could it be that they were living away from their children in Heyshott or Stedham Mill, or perhaps it was only for a night or two.