Cory family page
Cory's butcher's shop in St Helier's Central Market in about 1900. Clearly this business thrived, because by the time John Cory wrote his will on 13 June 1912, he bequeathed to Mary Freemant his property in Roseville Street, St Helier, his business of pork butcher at 33 Queen Street and 2 New Bath Street, stating that the last two named properties were never to be used for the sale of liqor but could be used as a druggist or chemist. We are still not entirely certain who owned the business when, or whether there was more than one business. One member of the family changed his trade from tailor to butcher when he followed his sister to Jersey from Cornwall. This was John Cory, brother of James, who was also a master butcher. We have yet to establish how the W Cory, whose name appeared above the market shop in 1900, was related to the two brothers. The family was heavily involved in the Bible Christian Church, a West Country branch of the Methodist Church, and the article below shows that John Cory is considered the founder of the magnificent Chapel which was once the centrepiece of Royal Crescent in St Helier
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Origins of surname
Scottish in origin, this is a locational surname from any of the places in Arran, Dumfriess and other areas named 'Corried'. The name derives from the Gaelic word coire, meaning 'cauldron', and is used in the sense of a circular hanging valley on a mountain.
The first Corys appear to have come to Jersey from Cornwall in the mid-19th century. The first baptismal records are in St Helier in 1866 and 1869 for Martha Elizabeth and Walter John, children of John and Hannah Ivey. However, the family tree below suggests that there were earlier Cory births which may not have been registered.
- John Cory and the Royal Crescent Methodist Church, tailor turned butcher and Methodist Church pioneer
Great War service
- Geoffrey Robinson Cory (1898- ) (St H ) son of George Herbert and Elizabeth Martha, Sergeant, Wiltshire Regiment
- Harold James Cory (1880- ) (St H) OV, Sapper RE
- Percy R Cory (1879- ) (St H) Sergeant, Labour Corps
Every now and again a photograph turns up which invites some detective work which provides a lighthearted distraction from the normally much more serious work of tracing family histories, while still drawing on the full range of family history documents available in Jerripedia and elsewhere.
This photograph was offered for sale on a public auction site in March 2018. On the back was a letter written by Lizzie, wife of Martin, to her unnamed sister, carrying Easter greetings and family news. Lizzie's address was shown as 21 Aquila Road, and it did not take too much research in almanacs and census returns to identify her as Elizabeth Cory, wife of Martin, and to date the picture at approximately 1931. We could establish this because Lizzie's message to her sister expresses the wish that she will like her new portrait - 'not bad for 60, eh dear?'. The 1911 census return for Lizzie and Martin at 21 Aquila Road gives both of their ages as 39.
Martin, who appears in an existing Jerripedia family tree was baptised James Martin and worked as a joiner in 1911. Almanac entries show that the couple had lived at 21 Aquila Road from at least 1905. But 1940 and 1950 almanacs record the occupant as Mrs M E H Cory, and a check in our listings of Occupation Identity cards reveals that she was Martha Elizabeth Harrington Cory, nee Newnham, born on 17 April 1872. There was no card issued for her husband, and further research shows that he died in 1932, not long after the photograph of his wife was taken.
We were unable to find a record of Martin and Lizzie's marriage in Jersey. It was not surprising that it is not among Anglican church records because the Cory family are known to have been Methodist 'Bible Christians'. There are few records of Cory family events in Anglican churches - a notable exception being the baptism of five children of Martin's brother Frederick John Cory and his wife Grace Spencer. There is also no record of Martin and Elizabeth's marriage in any of the parish indexes of non-Anglican marriages, but the census return shows that Lizzie was born in Chelsea, London and that her father came from Battersea. Further research in the London marriage records revealed that the couple married at St Stephen, Battersea, on 31 July 1900.
Martin's family were from Cornwall, but he was born in Jersey. His will, preserved at Jersey Archive, reveals that he bought 21 Aquila Road from Frederick Davis and his wife, Harriet Vivian, nee Morley. The contract was passed by the Royal Court on 7 April 1900, nearly four months before the couple married. He made his will in 1911 and it was approved by the Dean in February 1932, which gives an approximation for the time of his death. Lizzie made her will on 18 May 1940
One final piece of the jigsaw: Lizzie's will reveals that the recipient of the card was her almost certainly her younger sister Louisa Hannah, widow of Albert Smith. Other records suggest that it was a pure coincidence, but the portrait on the card was taken by Albert Smith's Jersey photographic business, which closed in 1931. Louisa Hannah and Martha Elizabeth Harrington Newnham were daughters of Benjamin John Newnham, of Chelsea, and his wife Louisa Harrington.
The picture we have been able to build up of Lizzie and Martin using a variety of Jersey and English records, to supplement what was written on the back of her card, is an excellent illustration of what is available to researchers. But no official records contain the little gems that the messages themselves do: Lizzie informed her sister that her leg was much improved - 'what a treat to be able to get about; we both are well for old folk'. How many people today would describe themselves as old folk at 60? Perhaps her husband was not as well as she suggested, because months after the card was written, he died.
Cory's Master Cleaners was established in 1874 by Robert Cory at 30 La Motte Street and 38 Bath Street under the name R Cory's Yorkshire Steam Dyeworks. In the Victorian era clothes were made from a wide variety of fragile natural materials - silks, satins, muslins, crepes, etc - which needed far more care in laundering and dyeing than today's synthetic fabrics. Robert Cory spent five years learning his trade as an apprentice before going into business on his own. His business prospered and by 1897 he was advertising in the British Press and Times 'the largest and best equipped cleaning and dyeing works in the Channel Islands'. His advertisement continued: 'Cleaning is a speciality', and he offered to undertake dyeing in 'all art shades', adding 'Our black is unsurpassed'.
Although the business did not operate in Guernsey, it offered to receive customers' orders at 22 Smith Street in St Peter Port. Cory's was among the most successful cleaners in Jersey and its delivery boys became a familiar sight on their bicycles throughout St Helier. Robert Cory was determined to stay ahead of his competitors and introduced French cleaning - or dry cleaning, as it became known - to Jersey.
He continued to supervise his business right up to his death at the age of 80 in 1931. The business continued to prosper as Cory's Master Cleaners after his death and the following year a Ford 8 commercial van, the first to come to the island, was bought to replace the bicycle deliveries. As with most island businesses, the German Occupation in the 1940s brought Cory's to a virtual standstill, but it recovered quickly after the war and expanded with a new workshop at the rear of 30 La Motte Street to handle new man-made fibres. The 1970s saw a merger between Cory's and Angora Cleaners, with the establishment of a new joint factory in Kensington Place.
- Richard Cory was a butcher at 31 Queen Street in the 1850s
- Pork butcher John Cory was at 34 Queen Street in the 1870s
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