The Mulvey family of Cunsey, Lancaster and Liverpool


A coal miner’s hut in  the Lake District. Michaell Mulvey worked In Cunsey (Mountain Bothies Association)

The connection

Will is descended from the Mulveys via his maternal grandfather George Laurence Unwin (1891-1975), whose mother was Rebecca Hannah Mulvey (1866-1954).

The name

Take your pick: one source says it originates from the gaelic O' Maoilmhiadhaigh, "the male descendant of the follower of St. Miadhach [St Michael]"; a second says it means "honourable chief" while a third says it is from the Norman for Reginald or Regenwald and means "brave councillor".


Liverpool shipyards in the mid 1700s. Three generations of Mulveys worked here after the family came south from Lancaster; there may be a link with the shipbuilding Mulveys of Chester.


Robert Wood Mulvey 1858-1939 was the son of Robert Mulvey b 1832 and the brother of Rebecca Hannah, who was Will's great grandmother. He ran the barbers on various Cunard liners and eventually settled in the US. The boy in the picture, taken in 1938, is believed to be his son.


The actress Lillie Langtry was billed as the most beautiful woman in the world. Robert Mulvey b1832 is said to have been a friend thanks to his theatre connections.

Odds and ends

• We believe the Liverpool Mulveys were connected with the Mulvey shipbuilding family of Chester.

• John Mulvey b1778 was a ropemaker in Liverpool; his son William b1803 was a shipwright and grandson Robert b1832 was apprenticed as a shipwright.

• Robert’s parents married in 1838, six years after he was born. Apart from his mother being a widow, we can only guess at the reasons.


• The farthest we can get back is "Michaell Mulvey, an Irishman", who married Margaret Roach on October 31 1737 at St Michael and All Saints, Hawkshead. Both lived in Cunsey, which overlooks Windermere. Today the Lake District is a Unesco world heritage site. It was just as pretty in 1737 – nearly 70 years before the poet Wordsworth's "heart with pleasure filled" and danced with 10,000 daffodils – but the landscape was industrial, too, and a harsh place for much of the year. No doubt Michaell had left Ireland to seek his fortune. It is probable he was a coal miner – the bondsman for his marriage was John Sanders, a collier – although he might have worked at Cunsey Bloom Forge.

• Robert Mulvey b1832 lived in Liverpool. He is Michaell’s gt gt grandson. He had a tobacconist's and stationer's shop in Toxteth, ran the Sefton Theatre for the Entertainment of the Poor and was a Conservative party supporter who sat on a board of guardians (for orphaned or abandoned children). He knew the stage stars of the day, including Lillie Langtry, because of his theatre connections.

• The Mulveys’ twigs include the Woods and Ramseys of Whitehaven, and the Bonds, Popes and Boultons of Formby. See our detailed documents for more information.

Read the detail

Want to know more about the Mulveys and associated families? We’ve put together these files on Mulvey, Wood (Bond and Boulton), and Ramsey, as well as a short history of tugs on the Mersey.

Mersey tugs

Mary Wood nee Ramsey b 1790 was Robert Mulvey’s mother-in-law. She is thought to have had this portrait painted by a door-to-door artist


Robert Mulvey’s daughter Rebecca, above, married George Alfred Unwin. ‘Rebecca’ as a first name runs up and down the female line


Robert’s obituary in the Liverpool Courier gave us an idea of where to search for more information

Quick reference: Bramhill

BramhillUnwinProssorWilliamsMulveyRoberts, BakerLloyd

Quick reference: Hudson