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James Dumville (1856-1920)

photograph: Yew Tree House

Yew Tree House, Meadow Lane, Snape
photograph: James Dumville (1856-1920)

James Dumville

Anthony Dumville has written to us about his great-grandfather James. James and his brother Henry were brought up by their grandfather Thomas Dumville (1807-1893) in Fearby, north Yorkshire. James probably attended Kell Bank school nearby. Before his marriage to Elizabeth Haw in 1877 he was a labourer, but later became a gardener, possibly head gardener. He worked at Thorp Perrow, a large country house and estate, which later became an arboretum. James's son James Henry Dumville (1885-1942) worked with his father for a few years as a gardener's labourer before moving to York where he became a butcher.

James senior lived at Yew Tree House, Meadow Lane, Snape. He had a large greenhouse which was heated by a combustion stove in winter. He once won a prize for the best kept garden in the village. Anthony Dumville recounts:

'James used to visit my father and his family at Greenbank Road, Darlington, on his motorbike, bringing them plants that he had grown.' A lady Anthony met in 1997 in Snape remembered James cutting hedges around the village.

Yew Tree House is three doors from the fourteenth-century pub (the 'Buck', later renamed the 'Milbank Arms', finally the 'Castle Arms '). The house was rented from Thorp Perrow; rent paid twice a year. Snape is a small village centred around a long narrow village green with a small beck running through it. The prominent castle at the western end of Snape was for 13 years the home of Catherine Parr, when married to Lord Latimer (Sir John Neville), and before she became the sixth wife of Henry VIII (whom she outlived). Attached to the castle is a chapel, now used for Church of England services. A plaque commemorates the role of three Dumvilles in the Great War of 1914-1918: James Henry Dumville (1885-1942) , George Dumville (1888-1949), and, in the section for the fallen, Fred Dumville (1898-1919).

James and Elizabeth had ten children at Snape. He was a Wesleyan - Snape used to have a Wesleyan chapel. Two of their children were married at the Wesleyan chapel at Bedale. Their son James Henry (Anthony's grandfather) was a Wesleyan Sunday School teacher at Snape and won several books as prizes. The nearest church to Snape is St Michael's at Well, where James and Elizabeth were married, and where James was later buried with his son Fred (who had died in the 1914-1918 war, and is named on a memorial in the church). James's daughter Edith May, who died aged 15, may also be buried there.

Anthony Dumville writes about his own father James William's (born 1911) memories of James:

'My father visited my great-grandfather's house at Snape twice. On the first occasion he climbed up a hayrick and was stranded when his uncle Fred removed the ladder. The second occasion was my great grandfather's funeral. My father got the train to Bedale and a horse and trap to Snape. After the funeral he remembers carving his name on a tree. My father's aunts and uncles tried to remove the house contents but my grandfather, being the eldest son, was adamant that they would have to go to the auction and make bids there. My grandfather bid for a small ornamental table but was disappointed when it was smashed to pieces during transit.'

James died in Snape on 27 November 1920, of myocardial disease and syncope - disease of the heart muscle and fainting due to low blood pressure. On his death certificate the informant was Peter Brown, husband of his daughter Mary Ann (Dumville). His widow Elizabeth went to live in York with another daughter Annie Elizabeth, wife of William Potter. When Elizabeth died, in 1928, she was brought back to Well to be buried with her husband.

The photograph of Yew Tree House was provided by Sheila Hume (nee Dumville). The photograph of James Dumville was provided by Anthony Dumville.

See also:

Mary Ann Dumville (1833-1911), mother of James Dumville

James Henry Dumville (1885-1942), son of James Dumville

Family Tree

Photographs of James Dumville (1856-1920) and his descendants