Charles Allen Du Val

His life and works

John Wall Du Val

John Wall Du Val
Julius Wall born 1694
Ann Andrews
Elizabeth Wall 1731-1731
Edward Wall born 1732-1735
William Wall 1736-1739
Urcilla Agnes Wall born 1739
Dinny Wall 1741-1747
Maynard Wall 1742-1743
Barry Wall 1743-1743
Allen Wall born 1744
Ann Atkinson married 1764
John William Wall Du Val 1765-1765
Sarah Ann Wall Du Val born 1766
Julius Caesar Wall Du Val 1768-1772
Charles Allen Andrews Wall Du Val born 1770
John Arthur Wall Du Val born 1773
William Augustus Wall Du Val born 1775
Juliana Wall Du Val born 1777
Octavius Caesar Wall Du Val born 1779
Julius Caesar Wall Du Val 1781-1782
Elizabeth Mary Wall Du Val born 1784
Edward J C Wall Du Val born 1787

John Wall Du Val was born John Wall, the son of Julius Wall and his wife Ann Andrews. He married Ann Atkinson of Liverpool on 20 August 1764.

He followed at first a military career, and was a Captain in the Army. However by the end of the eighteenth century he had a wife and a large family to support, and Captain Julius Wall found that he could not live on army pay. So he bought himself out, and the family moved to London where he set up as a dancing master.

He added Du Val (the ancient name of the family) to his surname, perhaps thinking that it gave an added note of distinction in his new profession. The business was established in an old house in Hatton Garden (1) in London leased from Lord Hatton. The rent was low because the place was believed to be haunted, and there were consequently no other takers.

His granddaughter Henrietta Padmore (1) wrote in a letter many years later that John Wall Du Val “ --- had a Black servant and they both stopt a night in to wach for the Gosts, having pistols they were prepared for them [.] they had a warm reception and soon retreted [.] I suppose they were robbers” (2).

Having been thus ghostbusted, the dancing academy prospered.

Apart from these premises in London, there was a Norfolk branch of the business in King’s Lynn, where John Wall Du Val taught both dancing and fencing in the Town Hall. On 30 April 1774 a local newspaper carried an advertisement “Schools attended within a 20 mile radius. Minuet and Cotillon privately taught”.

On 3 September 1774 he advertised his pupil ball: ‘Town Hall Lynn … his pupils to have 3 tickets each for themselves and Friends. The Ball to open at 6 o’clock with Minuets. The Young Ladies and Gentlemen … to conclude at 9 o’clock and spectators to begin at that time and continue dancing the remainder of the evening.”

In 1777 John Wall Du Val left his branch at King’s Lynn in the hands of an assistant named François Veron or Vernon. In the local newspaper advertisements he is called Veron in the Gazette and Vernon in the Mercury, and was probably an Englishman who had adopted a French-sounding name following the example of his employer (4).

He returned to his London headquarters in Hatton Garden, which had been managed in the meantime by another assistant. In 1784 the following advertisement appeared:

"DANCING, FENCING, and MUSIC Taught on the most reasonable Terms, at Hatton House ... where ladies and Gentlemen, every day, and at any hour they chuse to appoint will be punctually attended, and privately instructed, in the Minuet, Minuet de la Cour, Cotillons, &c. A School, for Ladies only, open at Hatton House, every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon, from four till eight, English Country Dances perfected in three evenings, with Liberty of practising twice a week during three months, for only 21.2 s at Hatton House. A Publc Assembly will likewise be opened every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Subscription for four tickets, each admitting a Lady and Gentleman, 10s 6d. - Ticket only 3s. - Ladies and Gentlemen attended at their own apartments, by J. WALL Du VAL & Co. (5)

The children of John Wall Du Val and his wife nee Ann Atkinson (6) were:

John William Wall Du Val. He was born on 26 June 1765, and died in the same year aged five months and two days.
Sarah Ann Wall Du Val. She was born on 26 July 1766. She was married, but had no issue.
Julius Caesar Wall Du Val. He was born on 12 October 1768, and died on 4 May 1772 aged three.
Charles Allen Andrews Wall Du Val. He was born on 22 December 1770.
John Arthur Wall Du Val. He was born on 21 October 1773, and was a bachelor with no issue.
William Augustus Wall Du Val. He was born on 22 April 1775. A soldier, he was a bachelor with no issue.
Juliana Wall Du Val. She was born on 22 February 1777, and was unmarried.
Octavius Caesar Wall Du Val. He was born on 22 February 1779.
Julius Caesar Wall Du Val. He was born on 15 May 1781, and died aged one year.
Elizabeth Mary Wall Du Val. She was born on 20 May 1784, and was unmarried.
Edward J C Wall Du Val. He was born in 1787,and died in childhood.

(1) Henrietta Padmore was the daughter of John Wall Du Val's son Edward Octavius Caesar Wall Du Val. She had married Edward Padmore of Manchester.

(2) Vivien Allen Du Val Tonight! The Story of a Showman (1990) page 2. She says "He rented Lord Hatton's house in Covent Garden for his dancing academy", but it was actually in Hatton Garden, which was owned by Lord Hatton. Covent Garden was part of the estate of the Duke of Bedford.

(3) "Ladies and Gentlemen attended at their own apartments, by J. WALL Du VAL and Co." Malcolm Day Voices from the World of Jane Austen (2007) page 187.

(4) The reference to John Wall Du Val’s dancing academy in King’s Lynn is from the publication of the Norwich Early Dance Group.

(5) The Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser January 1784, quoted in M. Day Voices from the World of Jane Austen (2007) pages 177-178.

(6) "Copied from a bible printed in 1638, the property of John Wall Du Vall (sic) of Hatton House, Hatton Garden, London, by me, Charles Allen Wall du Val of Green Hill, Green Heys, Manchester, 1853" in the Du Val Family Scroll.