Corys in Devon

In 1343 John Moueron, warden of the silver mine in Cornwall & Devon was ordered to pay back wages owed to John Cory and to pay him his future wages. What became of him after that?  This tantalising record shows his existence in the county but with the lack of any other records we can only move forward to Holsworthy in 1575. The Cory families were well documented in Devon in various parish records dating from as early as the 16th century.

You can read more about the spread of Corys in Devon and Cornwall in Chapter 4 of The English Corys by Michael & Vernon Cory.

It was in 1772, that Andrew Cory was born at Blatchborough in Bradworthy.  His family moved to Greaden Farm in the same village when he was very young. At about 10 years old he was sent to school at Hartland where he obtained what was then considered to be a good education.  When he was 22, he married Mary Tremeer. She was born at Eastcott in the parish of Moorwinstow in the eastern part of Cornwall. They went to live at Holloborough where twelve years later, in the spring of 1816, a Society of Bible Christians was formed and Andrew with his son, Andrew, became early converts. Andrew’s name appeared as a local preacher  in the Kilkhampton Circuit in 1819.  Mary and Andrew had ten children of whom eight survived childhood and the two eldest became itinerant preachers or ‘ministers’.  Bible Christian worship continued with many descendants serving as local preachers, Sunday school teachers, society stewards and chapel trustees.  The Bible Christians eventually amalgamated with the United Methodist Church in 1907.

The excellent Bible Christians records of the Kilkhampton Circuit have allowed us to discover that Abel and Grace Cory had two daughters; Elizabeth and Grace and a son Samuel who left for America in 1848.   Elizabeth married John Heard at Clawton in 1806 and three of their children became pioneer farmers in Victoria, Australia. (See Pyworthy below)

A more detailed article was published on the Bible Christian Connexions in August 2000. (Newsletter No 22) This contains material from the Bible Christian magazines which is not available in the usual genealogical sources. It is worth considering that Cornwall also had its share of Bible Christian ministers too and some left from both counties to work in other counties and overseas.

Devon places and trees are West Putford (D1-D5); Poundstock (E1-E2); Stratton (F1-F7)Crowan/Camborne (G1-3); Holsworthy (H1-12); Pyworthy (K1-K5).

Front View of Langdon CourtLangdon Court, Wembury, Devon was built in 1577 by the Calmady family of Plymouth near the site of the Domesday Manor of “Langedone” and was the home of a Cory family for 50 years. Richard Cory, who was a London industrialist, descended from the Stratton Corys, sold his London house and purchased the 2,000 acre (800ha,) estate in 1867. Today the house is an hotel in beautiful surroundings. Note: there are no attic windows in the front aspect as the attic space was reserved for servants bedrooms.

Langdon Court

The picture on the left is of a shooting party at Langdon Court c1891: L to r: General Way; 2nd from left, Richard Cory; Admiral B Clarke; Lord Monson; 5th from left, Bessie Frances Cory next to Edward VII; between (and behind) Bessie Cory and the Duke is Col Gore who married Bessie after Richard Cory’s death; Admiral Buller and Mr Craik.

According to the census of 1891 for Langdon Court, Richard and his wife Bessie Francis had ten domestic servants, two more in the laundry, a coachman and three grooms, a game keeper, a gardener, not to mention the tenants of three farms and a farm cottage and their respective families. It was here that Richard entertained the Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Alfred). We believe the picture above was taken sometime around 1891. Richard also had a town house in Plymouth, and was on friendly terms with Prince Alfred, Queen Victoria’s second son, who was Commander in Chief at the naval base at Devonport.

Richard made his fortune by working in the coal shipping business founded by his father, William Cory, which was based in London. Richard and his family were, as far as we know, surprisingly unconnected to the Cardiff Corys who were also into shipping.

By the time that it passed out of the Cory hands in 1927 it had seven principal bedrooms, two dressing rooms, two bath rooms and east facing morning rooms on the first floor. The attic was reserved for the servants’ bedrooms. The accommodation was arranged around a central courtyard and covered with a new glazed roof. The courtyard was entered through an external doorway which had the date 1877 and Richard Cory’s initials inscribed on it. From here one entered an entrance hall which was paved with patterned tiles. Another Victorian addition was a monumental black marble chimney piece which was removed in 1960 to the present dining room in the east wing,

Richard Cory had a new service entry built on the north corner and this entrance, photographed in 1885, with the 11 indoor staff standing in front of it most of whom were women but including three men an be found on the Langdon Court website. Perhaps the most striking addition that Richard Cory made was to build a tower and belfry furnished with battlements on the north side of the house.

Photographs of the Cory family, some of their guests and their staff, were taken in the 1880s and early 1890s and can be seen on Wembury History Society website at In 1891, the coachman lived with his wife and two children in Langdon Lodge. An ordinance survey map showing Langdon Court, park and gardens can be viewed in Newsletter No 69, page 5. Newsletters can be viewed here.

The details above are based on an articles in Newsletters 16; 64; 69 one of which includes the family tree of William Cory (1783-1862).  William’s earlier life and that of his family in London can be found on the London and Cambridge page.

Pyworthy: Tree K1

Pyworthy is a parish hamlet just west of Holsworthy in Devon. Further west is Bridgerule and Launcells, to the south Clawton and Boyton and to the north Milton Damerell and Bradworthy. All these were villages but some could scarcely be called hamlets these days. Some are, or were, in Cornwall, the River Tamar being the border and running north to south in our area.

The Founder of the Pyworthy line was Samuel Cory (born about 1680) who married Mary Allen from Shebbear in Pyworthy 1710/11 and had John, Mary and Samuel.  John’s eldest son – Samuel Cory of Ridon (1749-1819) was a yeoman farmer and his son carried on farming. His descendants went on to become schoolteachers and farmers. Samuel’s younger brother was Abel Cory Snr (1756 –1833) and many of his 9 children emigrated. 

John Cory,  The Carpenter (1796 – 1865) remained in Devon. He had a carpentry business at Clawton where he lived for most of his life. He had mostly daughters but one son, John Rundle Cory (1829-1911), made up for this. John Rundle Cory and his wife Mary Sleeman (Hayman) had 8 children of which 5 were boys and 3 were girls. John farmed considerable acreages in various locations, the children helping out and employing labourers. Some of the boys began to trade as meat wholesalers and butchers, sending meat to Smithfield market and attracting some notoriety. (See Newsletter 28 Aug 02). John Rundle was the first in the family to be baptised as a Bible Christian in a new chapel at Clawton. In later generations the family became Methodists.

John Rundle’s eldest was William Rundle Edith M Cory and her daughter 2007Hayman Cory [1853-1933] who fathered a dynasty himself of 12 children, 6 of whom were boys. William was known as ‘Hayman Cory.’ Hayman and his father were described as a ‘healthy and respected family …maintaining a good position in the world’. Hayman was a farmer and butcher. He also owned ‘Cory’s Temperance Hotel’ which was a prominent building on The Square at Bradworthy. His boys mostly became farmers and butchers and the girls married into the local trading families. However the eldest son, Will Cory, became a well-known auctioneer, conducting his last auction at the age of 95. Another son, Charles Wreford Cory, married Blanch Elizabeth Sanders and had a son, Herbert Charles (1901-1981) and also a daughter, Elsie Mary, (1903-2000). Herbert’s wife, Edith Mary (née Blake) is pictured on the left with her daughter, Jean, celebrating her 100th birthday in 2007. She died in 2010, just 6 days short of her 103rd birthday.

Abel Cory Junior (1779-1846) started out as a carpenter and later farmed and died at Boyton, as did his son Samuel after him. However, the elder son, William H Cory (1812-1876) immigrated with his family to the USA. Their journey was rough, travelling from the River St. Lawrence via the Great Lakes and finally the River Mississippi, until their wagons settled in Iowa. The family thrived and became farmers, scholars, teachers, sportsmen and Methodist Ministers. Samuel The Pioneer (1798-1863), who was the youngest brother to Abel Junior, also took a young family to America.

Elizabeth Cory of Clawton (1784-1842) an older sister of Samuel the Pioneer married John Heard and 3 of their 8 children immigrated to Australia aboard the ‘Lord William Bentinck’ in 1844. The Cory Society Archive has a disk with about a thousand descendants from these three as they each had very large families on arrival in their new country.