In the early 18th century, the Verry's were living in the Haywood Liberties, a non-parochial area just outside Hereford City and probably working as farm labourers, or perhaps in the coppice woods - the record is silent. As the Haywood was without church or chapel they used the churches at Callow, Dewsall and St Martin's. By the mid 18th century one of the family made a move to Monmouth Town, worked as a sawyer and had descendants of which few survived infancy. One who did was Joseph VERRY (1761-1813) who became a butcher there and had children.

Others (my line) moved to Aconbury. John VERRY (1756-1825) was a gamekeeper to Guy's Hospital (London) Aconbury estate (they owned most of the parish). He was replaced by his son John in 1808 who also rented the Cross-in-Hand farm from Guy's. His epitaph, 1842, in Aconbury churchyard reads - "John VERRY, Much Birch County. He was a woodreve in the Confidential Trust of the Governors' of Guy's Hospital for forty-five years". Ah yes, salt of the earth indeed! Documents survive appointing John and his father as gamekepers. Were they the stereotyped ones, gun in hand, dog by side, hunting poachers and seeing them off to the prison hulks and Australia? I sense not. More often they turned their cheek I think, unless perhaps the intruders were "foreigners" from another village. For how could it be otherwise in this little community where so many were related to the others?

This is the document appointing John VERRY senior, gamekeeper to Guys Hospital Estate. (Courtesy of Guys Hospital Archivist, London, which include details of rental agreements). The wording is similar to other "gamekeeper" contracts in that period. Guys records have since been transferred to Hereford Record Office.

KNOW ALL MEN by these presents that the President and Governors of the Hospital founded at the sole cost and charges of Thomas Guy Esquire Lords of the Manors of Callow and Twyford in the County of Hereford Do hereby nominate, constitute and appoint John Very of the Parish of Aconbury in the said country of Hereford yeoman to be their gamekeeper within the said Manor and the Royalties thereto belonging to preserve the game thereof for their use and benefit and to take and seize all  such Dogs, nets, guns and other engines within the said Manors which shall be kept or used for the destruction of game by persons unqualified and to take and kill game for their use only. IN WITNESS whereof the said President and Governors have to these presents caused their common seal to be affixed this eighteenth day of October in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred eighty.

BY order of the Court of Committees

(signed) John Harrison (ss)



All that remains of a nunnery founded by the de Lacy family in the 12th century and dissolved at the Reformation 1538. 

John had married Alice PREECE and their son Thomas (born 1814) is the ancestor of Verry's still living in Herefordshire and elsewhere. Another of their sons, James born 1819 (my gg grandfather) married Mary PRICE of Cwmyoy, Monmouthshire, daughter of John PRICE, a weaver. They were living at Forest, Llantillio Pertholey. This was probably Forest Coal Pit and James was possibly making boots for the miners. By all accounts Mary  spoke Welsh well, English just a little. They settled at Drybrook in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. James, a bootmaker, became a lay reader, Primitive Methodist Church, one of a considerable number of Forest people to abandon the Established church. Or, did the church abandon them? Opinions differ. Methodism was well entrenched in the Forest by the early 19th century. A contemporary petition - "It was first introduced among us by a local preacher whom God in his providence sent to reside in this neighbourhood. Many were brought out of Hellish night and led to seek redemption in the Blood of Christ. Our state was once that of lawless heathens, .... instead of drunkards' songs we now join in hymns of Praise". Life in Drybrook was divided between work and prayer. The late Albert Verry (1902-1988) a grandson of James Verry, recorded how he walked miles each Sunday, to a Baptist meeting, then the Methodist Chapel, calling for prayer meetings along the way at Mrs Evans and back to the Methodist Chapel in the evenings.

at Drybrook drawn from memory by his grandson, Albert Verry of Cinderford

I had the privilege to correspond with Albert for some 20 years. He once penned a short autobiography. The following extracted from it concerns a youngster's life in Drybrook in the Forest of Dean in the early 20th century.

"My job as a boy while living with Gran was to firstly chop the wood for the next day's fire, then fetch water from the lane up the Spout Lane. Every day I went to Aunt Eliza CLIFFORD's to fetch their water from the well down the lane running by Spite Cottage called Well Lane.

Returning to religion, on returning from the Methodists Chapel we mostly called into Mrs Evans' house for a prayer meeting. I was always scared and frightened that the world was coming to an end. One never forgets what I call the Hell-fire and Brimstone Days. Religion was the first thing here then.

When Aunt Eliza lived at the farm everyone helped getting the hay into the barns. I recall how my grandfather died. He had been making hay. It must have been a hot day at the end of June. On returning home up the Hollow he plunged his arms into a horse trough and caught a chill from which he died three weeks'  later, 1914.

I know that my grandfather and his brother John were local preachers and therefore must have been able to read and write their sermons. I had my grandmother's writing books and used to try and copy the writing. She had a private tutor.

Coming back to James' sons, they were all Methodists. The chapel where they went is very small. I used to go to this chapel at evenings with grandma. But for afternoons children's classes I went to the Baptist Chapel on Ruardean Hill. The Methodist Chapel at the Morse is now known as Sandybank Chapel. My father and mother were the caretakers back in 1922/3.

I see James Verry's death certificate (1886) was signed by Dr Searanke. He was my grandmother's doctor as well. I can recall him arriving to her regularly. He would have a cup of tea there, leave his cycle or horse and dray, then do his rounds on foot. The road up the Hollow is very steep. Many times I would fetch Gran's medicine from his surgery at Mitcheldean, three and a half miles from Ruardean Hill. The Hollow is the road to Ruardean Hill. My grandfather was under contact to Wintles Brewery to supply an extra horse to pull the dray up the Hollow."

Descendants of James and Mary (PRICE) VERRY still live in the Forest area, at Cinderford. Another of their children, John Price VERRY moved to Southampton. He was a hardware merchant. His grandson became a Benedictine Monk, Quarr Abbey, Isle of Wight. Brother Francis was the Abbey's Procurator and now lives in semi-retirement there. It has been my pleasure to correspond with him over many years and to facilitate by way of this research, putting "lost branches" in touch with each other.

The youngest son of James and Mary Verry was Richard, born 1853 at Drybrook. After a stint at railway signalling near Kettering, Northants, he set up a high class leather goods shop at Ripley, Derbyshire selling sports goods as well as boots and shoes. He married Ada MANGER of Isham, Northants who, if the record is correct (and I believe it probably is), was descended from a foundling left in a manger at Great Claybrooke near Lutterworth, Leicestershire, 1743. (See MANGER).

Richard began his leather merchant business by travelling in a pony and trap, selling leather to shoemakers. By 1883 he had set up a shop in Crown Yard, Oxford Street, Ripley with accommodation above and behind. The shop was divided into two sections - one for leather goods such as footballs and wallets and the other for shoes. A contemporary advertisement reads "Leather and Grindery Merchant, Sports Outfitter. Boots made to order. Repairs a speciality. Don't forget the old shop, 16 Oxford Street, Ripley". In 1908 he opened a sports goods shop at Kings Llyn, Norfolk. His house at Kings Llyn was named "Ruardean".

Richard and Ada had 12 children one of whom, Arthur VERRY, my grandfather, emigrated to New Zealand in 1905 on the "Ruapehu". He was a carpenter and joiner and after building a house at Hastings, sent for his fiancee Frances Helena MOORE. She arrived on the "Athenic" in 1907. Frances was a daughter of Henry MOORE, a potter at Denby Pottery near Ripley, Derbyshire and Elizabeth BEECROFT. Henry was from a Barton-under-Needwood family, the BEECROFT's were originally from Sutton-in-Ashfield and Tithby in Nottinghamshire. Both these families have been researched.

           JAMES VERRY                                                         MARY VERRY (NEE PRICE)
                (1819-1886)                                                                             (1815-1898)

                                                                RICHARD AND ADA (MANGER) VERRY



            ARTHUR VERRY                                                                HASTINGS, NEW ZEALAND 1905

The youngest son of Arthur and Frances was my father Cyril Henry VERRY (1914-1983). He was a nurseryman and butcher and was in the 22nd Battalion in Italy and in Trieste, in those trying times when a dash was made to prevent Tito and his Yugoslavs holding the city. He married Audrey Mary INNES, of the family described elsewhere on this site.


                                                            HENRY MOORE (FATHER OF
                                                                                                                                                        FRANCES HELENA MOORE)

                                                                                                                                                         (Details of MOORE Family
                                                                                                                                                          under development)


Thomas VERRY born 1814 Aconbury was an older brother of my gggrandfather James VERRY. Thomas was a woodsman for Guy's Hospital Estate, Aconbury. He married Mary MORRIS at Aconbury in 1843. They rented Wood-house from Guy's but later moved to Thorne Cottage.
  1. Alice born 1844, married John Eade DERRY, whitesmith of Aconbury.

  2. John born circa 1846, married Sarah Jane MORGAN of Much Birch and had: William John 1877 (killed WW1), Edith Jane 1880, married William ANDREWS, carpenter of Little Birch and Alice Mary 1889.

  3. William born 1848 died 1905. Soldier and mason of Aconbury, married Harriet PREECE. Lived Upper House, Aconbury.

  4. James born 1851 married Elizabeth FRANKLIN. He was a gamekeeper, Mynde Park Estate, Much Dewchurch. Children: Mary Elizabeth 1872 (living 1891 Hampton Bishop unmarried), Thomas 1874, James 1876 (no further information.

The marriage of William VERRY and Harriet PREECE gave rise to numerous descendants in Herefordshire and beyond, especially through a younger son Albert William VERRY who married Frances ROSE and resided at Mill Cottage, Kingsthorn, Much Birch.

Richard VERRY, younger brother of Thomas and James, lived in Much Dewchurch and died there unmarried.