Dunstable, Massachusetts

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Dunstable (pronounced /ˈdʌnstəbəl/ DUN-stə-bəl) is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 2,826 at the 2000 census.



Dunstable was named after its sister town Dunstable, UK.

  • Legend tells that the lawlessness of the time was personified in a thief called Dun. Wishing to capture Dun, the King stapled his ring to a post daring the robber to steal it. It was, and was subsequently traced to the house of the widow Dun. Her son, the robber, was taken and hanged to the final satisfaction that the new community bore his name.[1]
  • It comes from the Anglo-Saxon for "the boundary post of Duna".[1][2]
  • Derived from Dunum, or Dun, a hill, and Staple, a marketplace.[3]


Dunstable was first settled in 1656 and was officially incorporated in 1673. It is likely named after the town of Dunstable in Bedfordshire, England, United Kingdom, home of Edward Tyng, the town's first settler. The original township of Dunstable, granted in 1661, consisted of two hundred square miles, including the towns of Dunstable, Tyngsborough, Massachusetts, Pepperell, Massachusetts, Townsend, Massachusetts, Hudson, New Hampshire, Nashua, New Hampshire, Hollis, New Hampshire, and parts of other towns as well. Increases in population leading to subsections becoming independent towns and the solidification of the Northern boundary of Massachusetts in 1740 shrunk the town down to what remains today.

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